Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading
7 Questions with Asli bilgin
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Asli bilgin
Name: Asli bilgin
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: Nokta inc
Google Supply Side Program Manager for Google Cloud | Global Banks & Hedge Funds | Mensan | ex-employee: AMZN, MSFT, DELL, Morgan Stanley & US Senate / Board of General Elections volunteer. Female Founder.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Asking people for help with financing and favors.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I started Nokta back in 2002 as a way for me to collect revenue from book royalties and always held a full time job working in corporate for major technology companies as I wrote books and courseware on the side. In 2016, after running the global software as a service program for Amazon, I was exposed to the startup world. What I witnessed was nothing short of amazing. People with sheer willpower and perseverance were taking their innovative ideas and making them real. I decided to take a few weeks off from corporate to explore the startup world and rebranded my company in New York State. Before I could even sign the articles of incorporation, I had my first partnership with Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi. It was tough running a complex on my own and I enlisted the help of former colleagues and customers as 1099s. We were able to successfully deliver that project, enabling my former employers to be successful as vendors of that bank. From there, I used my savings to finance a few more years as a writer for Pearson education, writing courseware on Artificial Intelligence, which in turn got me hired by Google. I am eager to go back to the startup world again, running my own business and schedule, hoping to inspire women in technology and finance. I am in stealth mode for an artificial intelligence product for small business and will soon launch a career website, non for profit, called stairsnotstares.com to promote diversity and inclusion for those who have been underrepresented or disenfranchised in their career trajectories.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I created a template called 3 VIP that is broken out into quadrants that contain both technology related tasks and creative tasks. Exercising both sides of my brain keeps me balanced as I set a high bar for myself in terms of what I accomplish on a daily basis. I focus on the tasks that will be most impactful, even if the results won’t materialize for weeks or months. I believe a woman who is well organized has time to do anything, as long as they accomplish baby steps every day in the right direction.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Sadly, many leaders are very transactional and do not lead with empathy and compassion. Once the transaction is complete, they move on to the next person appearing to be compassionate and authentic. That is disheartening and still very difficult to accept. It’s important to be aware of which colleagues, customers or employers have a high emotional quotient so that you can build long term, years long relationships long after the transaction is complete.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
I once attended a senior executive event for women at Microsoft and had the distinct pleasure of meeting Melinda Gates. She recommended a book to me called Personal History by Katharine Graham, the former owner of the Washington Post (now owned by Jeff Bezos). That book has a profound influence on me. It showcased that humility, grit, and grace can get you through some horrific personal tragedies and make you stronger as a business woman.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
I keep a very tight network of trusted advisors. Advisor friends, like books, should be few and well chosen. These advisors are there for me thick and thin and provide unconditional love whether I fail or whether I succeed in my newest invention or role.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
I am a firm believer in authenticity. I don’t believe that people need to worry about “optics” at the workplace and appear to be someone they are not. I met with a former colleague of mine a few days ago in Chicago. His authenticity and humility always inspires me to be a better person that I was yesterday. He bears a lot of pressure and handles it with powerful stoicism and constraint.