To celebrate TPCL’s 20th anniversary, we’re catching up with colleagues around the world. In this blog, the first of two parts, we hear from TPCL Turkey and Romania.
Ten years ago, with the opening of offices in Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium, TPC Leadership was established in western Europe — yet its presence in the continent’s east remained muted. In 2013, that changed. New ventures in Turkey and Romania were a bold move for us, full of challenge and reward.
For Ozlem Rodoslu, managing partner in Turkey, joining TPCL marked a meaningful change in her life, an opportunity to help young professionals steer clear of the problems she had encountered years earlier.
“I started my career as a manager in the investment banking sector. It was a hierarchical structure and the leadership was terrible.” As a young woman in Turkey’s male-dominated finance space, there were a lot of challenges, Ozlem recalls — “a lot of glass ceilings to be smashed.”
In 2013, having risen through the corporate world, she resolved to help others emulate her success. “I was looking for a new purpose in life, and my motivation was to help the younger generation of women to not experience the difficulties I had to endure.”
Collaboration & autonomy
The company has given Ozlem space to flourish personally, as well. Where before she felt trapped by the strictures of corporate life, TPCL offers unparalleled autonomy.
“You don’t feel like an employee of the company, you can walk your own way. You can live your values, you can live your purpose and meaning. TPCL is always supporting my vision and sense of social responsibility.”
Christian Scholtes, managing partner in Romania, had a similar trajectory, starting his career with the country’s top-tier consultancies. ‘Corporate claustrophobia’ set in, however, so in 2007, he launched his own company. It was a freeing experience. For a decade he enjoyed success but he sensed he was missing something..
“There came a point,” says Christian, “when I felt the need to engage in more collaboration, in various platforms and projects with like-minded people from other places around the world.”
A cool championship
Around this time, Christian had a chance encounter with TPCL’s Italy lead Andrea Cardillo in Milano while visiting Italy with his wife. The two kept in touch, says Christian “and as they put it in Seinfeld ‘yada, yada, yada, one thing led to another.’” So the Romanian office was launched in 2017.
Working with the TPCL family has been hugely rewarding, Christian says, likening it to playing a game in a “cool championship” with some of the world’s smartest, most creative and passionate people, without feeling constrained by pushy targets or exceedingly strict operating procedures.
“It’s not a top-driven or constraint-driven mentality, it’s a potential- and actualization-driven mentality. With TPCL it feels like you have enough space to manifest yourself and use your local expertise to leverage local business.”
A Turkish flavour of TPCL
A testament to the autonomy TPCL’s regional offices enjoy, Ozlem has shaped her output to match Turkey’s unique need for speed.
“When we’re working on a new project, we tend to start quicker than the global team would. Because in Turkey, we like speed, we like to be quick.” A client proposal, for example, might be requested within two days — a far cry from the three to four weeks TPCL’s UK team would have to play with.
This intensity is a reflection of Turkey’s recent turbulence, Ozlem believes. An abortive coup d’etat and endemic security concerns have been a lot to handle, but she and her team have prevailed.
“I always have my heart of peace, but I don’t forget my heart of war. In TPCL Turkey, we do the same thing.”
“During the recent unrest, we showed resilience to our global community. We are still working with 50 companies from the Fortune 500. We are still alive, we are still motivated.”
Facing his own regional challenges, Christian has found the best medicine to be laughter.
“I come from a country which abounds in absurdity. In such a country, you have two big choices.”
“One of them is to feel helpless and depressed. The other one is to develop a keen sense of humor. The moment I choose to laugh about it, is the moment where whatever that absurdity might be does not define me.”
It’s also important to maintain trust in your own abilities, and those of the people around you, Christian says.
“It’s fundamental to understand that there is potential in each of us, and that, once we put ourselves in the same framework and we start collaborating, we have the capacity to create brilliant stuff.”
The TPCL family
TPCL’s emphasis on teamwork and collaboration has also been key for Ozlem. Some of her most rewarding moments have been visiting the London team and liaising with Andrea while setting up the Turkey office (though she recalls a slightly scary trip to Naples, when Andrea had to rescue her from a less than savoury part of town!).
Then, when tragedy struck and Ozlem lost her business partner in a traffic accident, the TPCL family were there to support her. “Team members from all over the world, when they heard the news, they came to Istanbul that very same day.”
“That humanity, it’s a really valuable thing.”
Wherever the TPCL operates, we hope humanity will always be at the heart of what we do. It is a shared value that has allowed regional offices, like Ozlem’s in Turkey and Christian’s in Romania, to flourish. To learn how we can help strengthen your team or organisation, please do reach out to us.