Meet Ceren Koca, the driving force behind strategic insights at Google, where she masterfully steers business growth by delving deep into consumer behavior and data analytics. With a passion for cultivating new opportunities and revolutionizing the insights landscape in Canada, Ceren is at the forefront of sparking transformation within her team.
Her journey involves taking pragmatic steps to instigate change, fostering growth in the insights team, and crafting a dynamic Insights Strategy. Yet, what truly ignites her spirit is the art of unlocking the hidden potentials within people and teams, uniting their collective talents to pursue audacious goals.
In this enlightening interview, we will delve into a captivating conversation with Ceren Koca. She will generously share her profound insights and invaluable experiences in the realm of strategic insights and data-driven growth. Get ready for an extraordinary journey of knowledge!
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started in your field?
I’m fascinated by the human condition. I love to understand why people do the things they do, and how we can create environments where people can thrive and make their best decisions. My passion for human behavior has become my north star, guiding me through my career.
However, I didn’t always know what I wanted to do. It can be hard to identify your passion, and easy to advise people to follow it. What they don’t tell you is that it takes time, experience, and sometimes even luck to discover it. So I took “messy action” early in my career. I tried different fields until I found what I loved. It took time, but I looked at every opportunity as a stepping stone and learning experience. And now, in hindsight, I can see how all of my previous experiences, even the difficult ones, led me to this path that I’m so proud of.
If you’re currently unsure of your own field or path, give yourself the gift of a new experience. Try something new, even if it’s outside of your comfort zone. You never know what you might discover.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career, and how have they influenced your approach to leadership?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that givers gain. People who are authentically generous with their time, knowledge, collaboration, compassion and resources are more likely to be successful in the long run.
Another important lesson I’ve learned is that it’s important to challenge the status quo. The world is constantly changing, and we need to be willing to challenge our assumptions and update our beliefs to keep up. Continuous improvement and challenging the status quo are two of my biggest value systems, and they are what lead to innovation.
These lessons have influenced my approach to leadership in a number of ways. I try to be a generous leader who is always willing to help others succeed. I also try to create an environment where people feel safe to challenge the status quo and to do things we’ve never done before.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?
Challenges are a part of life, and the workplace is no exception. But while challenges can be difficult and frustrating, they are what enable radical positive change.
Overall, I feel lucky to have worked with some of the best, most inspiring leaders and teams. However, I have also experienced my fairshare of challenging workplaces. I’ve seen discrimination in the workplace, narcissistic leaders, fear driven teams, dealt with copycat coworkers and more.
Today I can say that I am truly so thankful for all of those experiences. In hindsight, those biggest challenges directly springboarded me to success. They not only motivated me to land better opportunities, they taught me to uphold my own values, and protect my integrity. For that, I can only feel grateful.
If you’re facing a challenge in your career, don’t be discouraged. I hope you feel some peace that everyone goes through them and all challenges will pass. Use this opportunity to stop asking; “Why is this happening TO me?” and answer the question, “Why is this happening FOR me?”. Embrace the lesson and see what you can achieve. You may be surprised at how much you grow and learn in the process.
If you are going through a challenge and need advice, you are welcome to message me on LinkedIn.
One thing that people don’t know about you and not listed on your LinkedIn profile?
Ever since I was a child I’ve been obsessed with interior design. I believe a beautifully designed home lifts people both emotionally and spiritually. As a side hobby, I’ve been investing time into designing homes and custom furniture. Although I work in a highly analytical field, expressing myself creatively brings me the most joy!
What advice would you give to young professionals or entrepreneurs who are just starting out in your field?
This is probably not the tactical advice you want, but this is the mindset advice that has made the biggest difference in my life.
The quality of your life is the quality of your thoughts. What you feed grows and what you starve dies. Give attention to the positive and strain attention from fear.
One of the best ways to do that is to surround yourself with people and environments that give you energy, inspire and build you up, and distance those that take it away. That force will naturally enable abundance and success.
We want to express our deepest gratitude to Ceren Koca for sharing her incredible journey and profound insights with us. Her passion for understanding human behavior and creating environments where people can thrive is truly inspiring.
Ceren’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance and embracing “messy action” to discover one’s true passion. Her valuable lessons on generosity, continuous improvement, and challenging the status quo are invaluable nuggets of wisdom for aspiring leaders.
Ceren’s openness about the challenges she’s faced in her career and how they led to growth and success is a beacon of resilience and optimism. Her perspective on embracing challenges as opportunities for growth is a lesson we can all learn from.
And who would have known that behind her analytical profession, Ceren has a hidden passion for interior design, which she expresses through designing homes and custom furniture?
To young marketers and entrepreneurs, Ceren’s advice on the quality of thoughts and the importance of surrounding oneself with positivity is a profound reminder of the power of mindset.
Thank you, Ceren, for enriching our understanding and encouraging positivity and growth in both personal and professional realms. Your journey is an inspiration to us all!
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