An Interview with Eda Ozden: 2013 Site Young Leaders Co-chair

Eda Ozden pic.jpgEda Ozden is Business Development Manager for MEP DMC, a leading Destination Management Company in Istanbul, Turkey. She is serving as Co-chair of the 2013 Site Young Leaders Program along with Jake Megrikian from InterContinental Hotel, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Eda has been active with Site Young Leaders for the past two years. As Co-chair, her responsibilities vary from organizing Site Young Leader educational sessions to managing the social media outlets, with primary goals to engage the Young Leader community and broaden the reach. Here, Eda shares with Site why she works in the Travel and Hospitality industry, as well as the benefits of Site for Young Leaders.

Site Source: As a young professional with degrees in International Economics, Politics and Law why did you choose the Travel & Hospitality industry as a profession?

Eda Ozden: I majored in International Economics and Politics in college (proud George Washington alum) and mastered in Law and Development at SOAS in London. I had no intentions of joining MEP Destination Management growing up – for it’s a family business – so my return was as unexpected to me as it was to my family. I did grow up in this sector – jargons like a “fam trip” or “sales call” were some of the first English words I ever learned. So once I was ready to step into the professional world, I realized Travel and Hospitality is more adventurous, gratifying and mind broadening than anything I could possibly do! I think it’s when I came to realize that I could combine my passions for my country’s development and my career aspirations in the Travel & Hospitality industry – I was sold!

It took me a while to understand what being a “Business Development Manager” actually meant. A business developer doesn’t just introduce new products or increase sales; they actually keep the company up with the times. Especially in this day and age when the world is so fast-paced, having somebody focus on how to keep the business fresh and relevant is essential. I am in charge of Sales and Marketing activities; manage our social media outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest and prepare our newsletters, promotions and updates through our email marketing efforts. I am also the contact person for all CSR Activities - both done by MEP and ones that we offer to our clients. Finally I do a lot of travelling to promote Turkey and our services. I travel about 45 days out of the year for business to various trade shows, exhibitions and sales calls. Basically all CRM (Client Relationships Management) go through me.

At the end of year I like to look back and see that I’ve done – moreso with each year of course! But as I previously mentioned, giving back is what makes life worthwhile and I truly believe that no profit margin will be as satisfying as an investment into one’s community and country.

Site Source: What or who motivated you to join Site?

Eda Ozden: Having parents in the industry I grew up aware of Site and my father, Tomruk Ozden, was one of the founding members of Site Turkey. When my mother was joining the industry to establish our company’s DMC department, she always said how Site Conferences were the most educating events she had the privilege of participating at. She sent me to a Site YL Academy, Iceland 2009, while I was still a Master’s student and that trip not only persuaded me to join Site – but actually the industry itself!

Site Source: What do you feel are the most valuable benefits of being a member of Site, specifically Site Young Leaders?

Eda Ozden: Beyond a doubt learning never stops at any age and the value in networking is self-evident regardless of the point one is at in their career. However, for a newcomer to the industry, an organization like Site is especially imperative to be a part of. You not only get to listen to industry elders but also have the opportunity to engage with people you can relate to the most – industry peers closer to you in age, life and career experience. The experiences they’ve had, challenges they’ve faced and lessons they’ve learned are inevitably more relatable and easier to apply to your life. Site in general is like having your very own accessible Yoda’s!

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