Aylin Arslantas Bumin, District Marketing Manager — West Europe at UPS
Tammy: Can you tell me why your career is such an important part of your life? How does it fit into your life’s purpose?
Aylin: Some little girls dream about having a large family with lots of children. I have always dreamed about being a successful business person, a woman who unlocks her potential, also a role model for many other women. I have also invested a lot in my career through my studies, learning languages, gaining experiences and relocating.
I’m passionate about women’s empowerment and diversity and inclusion. I envisage a world with gender equality, in which a lot more women unlock their potential, and in which we see many more female executives. I want to inspire those women to have the courage to pursue their dreams, and show them how they can achieve more. When I do public speaking, and network, and spread the message of my success, I want to help other women.
Tammy: What are some sacrifices that you make for your career?
Aylin: The past 7 years I’ve been living in the Netherlands with my son, while my husband is still living and working in Turkey, our home country. So we travel back and forth a lot.
It’s not ideal, but if you’re happy with what you’re achieving, it’s OK to make some sacrifices to do that. It’s important to have the right balance for yourself. You don’t need to feel guilty about it.
I don’t think of living abroad as a sacrifice. I see it as an opportunity, and I’m happy. Being far away from family and friends is sometimes hard, but there’s a lot to learn from a different country and culture, and new ways of doing business. It really expands your view of the world.
Tammy: What does your process look like for planning your career and personal development? How do you plan, and how often do you revisit and adjust your plans?
Aylin: I think planning is very important. In my role, I’m involved with business planning, and when this is done, I start my own business planning process. I like to do this in December, first to reflect on the past year, then to plan and set targets for the next year. I decide on the priority areas in my life, like career, family, learning, community, personal wellbeing and hobbies, then make specific goals. For instance, exercise twice a week; see an art show, ballet or opera three times; attend a certain number and type of training; networking to meet certain people, etc.
Short term vs. long term perspective is important. I also like to set 3-5 years goals too, although that gets harder the older you get, as there are more circumstances you can’t control. I’m now more realistic than I used to be about how much I can achieve.
It’s also important to write these plans down. Using some tools like mind mapping can be helpful. Having the goals written down enables you to check progress, reflect and if necessary, adjust your targets based on different situations and circumstances. I evaluate my progress on a quarterly basis.
Tammy: How do you celebrate your successes?
Aylin: It’s sharing, with people who support me throughout the way, like my family. I like to celebrate with friends, and my network and be out. I also like to enjoy a nice dinner. I encourage the women I mentor to do the same — to take time to celebrate.
Tammy: What role do you think our physical appearance has in our career success?
Aylin: I believe that the physical appearance is extremely important. Perfecting our appearance won’t solve everything, but I see it as the final piece in a puzzle, that’s completing the picture. In our careers we each have a brand, and your brand has an image. Like any brand, we need to manage our own brand’s perception and all of our brand attributes. It’s important how you show up to meetings, how you join a conference call, how you attend events. Physical appearance definitely impacts how people perceive us. It’s also important to adapt depending on the circumstances. For instance, at UPS, I work with different companies who are our customers. Depending on what our client expects, I dress accordingly. Never underestimate the power of your image.