THINGS I DO
Currently focused on these projects
An award-winning nonprofit organization that creates jobs and economic growth in crisis-affected economies by supporting local entrepreneurs.
I have been consulting with Building Markets since 2016 on planning and partnerships for a new program supporting Syrian refugee SMEs and CSOs in Turkey and the region, as well as on research, including as Lead Researcher/Author of "Another Side to the Story: A Market Assessment of Syrian SMEs in Turkey."
Sen de Gel
A Turkish NGO working to improve the lives of people in LDCs (currently Senegal and The Gambia) by fighting poverty and creating jobs and sustainable livelihoods.
I support the organization as International Partnerships Advisor, working closely with founder Ibrahim Betil, one of the leading social entrepreneurs of Turkey, on outreach to new funders and partners around the world.
Young Society Leaders
A program of The American Turkish Society to engage highly accomplished young leaders in global dialogue and action.
A proud member of the initiative that I designed and launched as Executive Director of The Society, I continue to actively participate in efforts to further U.S.-Turkish business, cultural and philanthropic ties and to identify and cultivate young leaders committed to this mission.
Entrepreneurship & Social Impact
Committed to supporting social entrepreneurs in Turkey and beyond
Learning and Leadership
Columbia Business School
As a graduate student at Columbia Business School, I was deeply involved in the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise as President of Net Impact; organizer of the Global Social Venture Competition; and a Summer Fellow at Endeavor Global. As an alumna, I have continued my volunteer engagement as a venture competition judge; workshop organizer and speaker; and advisor for a recent course, “Start-up Environment in Turkey,” among other engagements with students, faculty, and alumni.
Research and Writing
Research Initiative on Social Entrepreneurship
I was a student in the first social entrepreneurship class offered at Columbia Business School by Catherine Clark, later serving as her teaching assistant and supporting an applied research project on social venture capital. Upon graduation, I worked again with Professor Clark, as a researcher and co-author of the study "RISE For-Profit Entrepreneur Report: Balancing Markets and Value," in collaboration with Investors' Circle and Social Venture Network.
Starting with Ashoka’s early days in Turkey, I organized outreach events in New York, in collaboration with Columbia Business School, The American Turkish Society, and Turkish Philanthropy Funds, featuring Ashoka Fellows Mustafa Sari, Ercan Tutal, Ibrahim Betil, and Nasuh Mahruki, introducing them to potential diaspora and other supporters and promoting the critical role of social entrepreneurship in Turkey and the region.
Experienced in nonprofit management, philanthropy, and grant making
The American Turkish Society
I served for eight years as Executive Director of The American Turkish Society, the preeminent nonprofit organization seeking to enhance economic and cultural ties between Turkey and the United States. With a strategic and entrepreneurial approach, I significantly expanded our roster of members, sponsors, and partners, honing my fundraising and relationship management skills. My achievements included a high-profile annual gala dinner, in close partnership with business leaders and philanthropists, and such wide-ranging programs as educational grants, policy discussions, business conferences, and cultural events convening and mobilizing a diverse community of individual and institutional partners.
Turkish Philanthropy Funds
I was engaged by a Turkish-American philanthropist and entrepreneur to conduct the feasibility study and lead the start-up phase for Turkish Philanthropy Funds, a diaspora community foundation. My responsibilities included developing the organization’s founding board, raising seed funds, and advising on its grant making strategy. I continue to support the organization as an Advisory Board Member.
My philanthropy background includes a stint as Program Officer at Tiger Foundation, giving me insights into breaking the cycle of poverty through high-impact grant making in education, youth development, and social services.
Business Development Intern
As a Summer Fellow, I supported development efforts at Endeavor Global, a nonprofit venture catalyst that promotes entrepreneurship in emerging markets, and explored the organization's expansion into Turkey.
Associate Director/Research Fellow
Jerome Levy Forecasting Center
Early in my career in economics, I gained valued experience in quantitative and qualitative research, strategy, and product development at this boutique consulting firm and research organization.
Columbia Business School
Social Enterprise, Management, Entrepreneurship
Beta Gamma Sigma
Tashman Turkish Fellowship (awarded to students who have demonstrated past success in academic, professional, or personal endeavors and who show future promise of continued high achievement, a sincere desire to improve the lives of others, and leadership skills.)
Economics (with International Affairs focus)
Summa Cum Laude
International Merit Scholarship
Senior Thesis Award
Facilitator Training (2018)
Soliya is an innovative international nonprofit operating at the intersection of technology, peacebuilding, and global education to foster local awareness and global perspectives.
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