Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 4
The first two ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, which I published last year have recently had a new set of questions answered, which I added to the series just last month. This week, I have began the fourth in the series, answering questions like which team I support, my thoughts on world leaders, renewable energy entrepreneurship to food banking questions, which I have again answered below.
31. Which team do you support in Turkey? Is there a team you support abroad?
The team I support in Turkey is Galatasaray. I am also a member of the Galatasaray club. Naturally, I therefore support Galatasaray in all fields of sport. And because Besiktas is seen as a sibling team, beyond the Galatasaray matches, I support them in all fields. Moreover, as my mother is from Trabzon, I support Trabzon, my father being from Gaziantep, I support Gaziantep, because I did my military service in Denizli, I support Denizli outside and beyond Galatasaray. When these teams however play against each other, I remain impartial and neutral.
Besides these, in basketball I support Anadolu Efes and in volleyball I have sympathy towards the Eczacibasi team. Without separating the Turkish teams from the international games (except for Fenerbahce), I support them all (don’t say this is totally normal, there are enough people in Turkey to be fanatical).
The teams I support abroad are as per below:
Liverpool in England, Roma in Italy, Real Madrid in Spain (although normally they are a very competitive team, I have a big sympathy for Barcelona), Sporting Lisbon in Portugal, Bayern Munich in Germany, Marseille in France, Saprissa in Costa Rica and Boca Juniors in Argentina, which are amongst the teams that I support.
In basketball, I support Chicago Bulls in the NBA league. Moreover, as I studied university in Montreal, I support Montreal Canadians in Ice Hockey and Montreal Impact in the North America Football League (MLS). Don’t be surprised at the amount of teams I support. When you love sports so much and are a world citizen like me, this is what happens :)
32. How did a career that started in banking move to renewable energy?
I’ve always had goals to be a banker since I was a child. I can say my family also had an effect on this. At that time, Kentbank was our family business bank. Therefore, I chose to study finance and accounting at the University in Canada.
I graduated from university and for some time, I worked at the Italian Insurance Company’s General office in America. Then I returned back to my country, and went straight to military service. The day I finished my military service, our bank got seized. Then the legal case for this started. Of course, the career plans I made for myself changed completely. At that time, I promised myself something; if everything went well in 10 years time, the problem was solved and our family business continued to grow, then I will leave and start working on what’s really set in my heart. As a family business, the first thing I did was to open the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Afterwards, for 10 years I found myself in positions such as hotel investing director, project director of the Coca-Cola Iran project, General Manager of Suzer Holding and CEO of KFC and Pizza Hut Turkey firms.
As I promised, 10 years later, I knocked on my father’s door and told him I wanted to leave the company business and start working on what’s really in my heart. It took about 3-4 months to convince him and after we agreed, I invested in Solar energy technology with the money I borrowed from him.
33. They say it’s the future energy source. Is the future here? Can Solar energy possible replace petrol and related sources?
Solar energy is no longer the future source. It’s the source of now. Instead of saying Solar energy is coming, we need to say it’s here. From now on, we need to comprehend how mankind can benefit from this further.
Fossils like petrol and natural gas fuels shouldn’t normally be burnt off. These are important sources for us. By burning fossils and producing energy, we are using up this source and also polluting nature. It is becoming a reason for climate change. Instead of this, we need to use these natural sources in production. So we need to use petrol as petrochemical (for recyclable plastic) and natural gas for fertilizer. The following generations will say about us ‘our ancestors did so many bad things in the past. They have not only made the world unlivable, (due to climate changes), but also used up all the natural resources’.
34. In recent times, important enterprises like Markafoni and Bukoil have locked up their doors for good. How does this situation arise?
I know very well how difficult it is for these kinds of enterprises. I can imagine how difficult the working conditions were and the problems they faced. I will write a detailed analysis about this in the future. For now, I will continue about the locks on their doors and advise the main reasons for this as listed below (of course, this list can be added to):
- Difficult times for the Turkish economy
- The fact that their cash burning rate was never decreasing
- The main investor having low tolerance in this and pulling back their support just when it was required
- The fact that the finance sector wasn’t supporting the real sector enough, the durations being delayed causing serious problems
- Insisting on using the incorrect work models and being closed to change
- The fact that these entrepreneurs were not flexible and dynamic enough, not being able to make quick decisions
- The 3 main foundations of this are finance, sales & marketing and operations. When one of the 3 falls behind, the setup will eventually suffer serious issues. It’s very important to run the main foundations in the best ways possible.
35. As the Suzer Holding heir, why do you put so much pressure on yourself? Enjoy yourself.
I am enjoying myself. I enjoy myself while I work. When I get to a particular age, I want to be able to say thank God I worked in these areas and made these ventures and started these social entrepreneur projects. That’s why I do all I can in my work life. When I am able to, I try and move my work travel to the weekends, so at least I have one day to get around the area that I am in.
In other aspects, I genuinely get annoyed at the word ‘heir. I’d like to remind you of the paragraph I wrote about this in my previous article " A Concert Becomes an Adventure" (http://serhansuzer.com/en/a-concert-becomes-an-adventure)
Last week, in an interview, I got a question like this ‘does the club society you find yourself in organize high society balls and concerts?’
Of course the word ‘high society’ in this sentence is meaningful. A word we cannot get rid of in our repertoire is ‘despise the rich’, which is in another sense, a meaning for this word. ‘High society’ is the kind of lifestyles we get annoyed by ‘why are these people of no capacity so rich and just blow their money like this, they are dealing with such unnecessary things’. Therefore, this word consolidates this meaning. As high society can have a negative meaning, so can other words. For example, he is actually quite incapable but has come to the places he has because of his father's money, most of the time blowing his money like a spoilt child who is then labeled as an ‘heir’. And no matter what I do, I can’t avoid this word being used in interviews. They infact mentioned me in a published article, television interview and even referred to me as a ‘heir’ from a conference I attended last week. Of course, when they used words like this, it draws attention and increases their ratings. Infact if they think about the fact that for 5.5 years I have been working independently from the family business and have run my own ventures and worked seriously, producing value with my team mates, it would be wrong and rude for them to call me a ‘heir’. The hairs on my arms rise when I get judged and referred to as a ‘heir’ or ‘high society’ member, which are totally opposite to my thought process.
I’d also like to share my life philosophy with you. No one chooses their birth place, parents, family, and the language they speak etc. when they are born. Everyone has a starting point in their life. Some rich, some poor, some full of love, some born into a broken family. The important thing is not how you were born. The important thing is what you had added to if after you were born. This is the difference between where you were born and where you passed away. This shouldn’t just be judged by the money you earn. Some may become a mother and bore 3 fantastic children who will be a benefit to the country. This person would also be someone who lived a really positive life. The person can also be a director of a CSO and having made some serious contributions to humanity. This person is also very positive. Some can also spend their money with pleasure and use it in bad ways. This kind of person definitely has lived a negative life. And some are totally opposite. The power and money they own they use towards developing and progressing humanity and their family. This person is on the plus side, if we go on to think based on this philosophy, for a positive lifestyle, I am doing the best I can. Some may still not understand this but people who are in the same mindset as we are, will understand exactly what I mean.
36. What are your thoughts on Trump’s latest announcement about walking away from the ‘Paris Agreement’?
I have had a friend make very negative comments about trump being elected. And I, in a very cautious way, said this to them: ‘Hold on and wait a little. Let’s not judge from the very beginning. Maybe he will surprise us in a positive way’.
At this point, I see the wishes I had, have not happened. Personally, the credit I gave him, I took back with his announcement of pulling away from the ‘Paris Agreement’. Trump has given our world much damage and is continuing to do so by rejecting climate change issues and by strengthening America’s fossil burning policy. Let’s not forget that with the connection with China, America’s release of carbon, makes them the world’s second country to pollute the world. We were hoping this would change because the atmosphere they pollute is all humanity's and natures atmosphere. People who pollute in this way will go into history’s black books.
37. On the other hand, do you have any thoughts about Canada’s Prime Minister, Trudeau?
Justin Trudeau, unlike Trump, is a politician that’s promising hope. He graduating from McGill University, where I also studied, gives me that extra honor and pride.
However, if I was to be in talks with Justin today, I’d give him this recommendation:
‘Dear Justin, you are a source of pride amongst all the people I met from McGill. A leader like you, gives us a hopeful outlook for the future. However, please don’t any longer be involved in demonstrations. Don’t be like those two-faced politicians that we are used to. While handling the firey topic of climate change, please also guide Canada’s famous petrol industry towards the big fossil fuel industry (Canada is number 6 in the world for petrol production). Fossil fuels are fossil fuels. By burning it, don’t pollute our atmosphere. Fossil fuels are actually an important source. We can value add to this raw material by the use of technology to turn it into produce (like petrochemical) and sell it (these goods need to be of recyclable nature). This way, take the important steps against climate change and also increase the economic input of the country.
38. Why do you remain at the forefront of the foundations you found this much? Why do you do your own PR?
I actually think quite the opposite, as I prefer to have the social ventures I began, to stand on their own feet and from their own identities. In the ventures I have been able to succeed like this, first I turn to my board fulfillment tasks, and then I can completely pullback when I can enable the long term institutionalization.
In the period we are in now, thank God it’s not going bad, we are attaining our goals one by one, however, we need more time for both the corporation to settle and for the finances to come to a point we are happy with. Our dreams are big.
The company and the club society I am responsible for really need me. And I am willing to do whatever it takes and make the sacrifices required. No matter how much I don’t like it, by way of the media, I remain at the forefront. Because in the end, you will eventually get asked ‘who is behind this project?’. And because the media wants ratings, they will focus on publishing the names of known people on headlines, to have their stories read.
My biggest wish is for the firms and establishments I have setup, to in the future, progress on their own accord and own names and be praised on behalf of everyone.
Of course, by achieving their dreams, I'd like this to happen with the use of two very important values ‘respect’ and ‘loyalty’ for the workers and shareholders of the company.
39. Should the council or CSO’s do the food banking?
As in all developing countries, it’s necessary for CSO’s to do the food banking. And the firms doing the food banking need to be unbiased, clear and honest in order to sustain it.
By CSO’s doing this, it helps ease the budget of the council. As a result, the CSO’s can enable donations from the goods, that the public pay for with their own money. But we cannot is more the existence of the councils. The councils real role is to focus on foundation investments. CSOs that engage in food banking can then can contribute with physical location and transportation.
In actual fact, the weight of social assistances like food banking, are heavy. In this case, all players need to take control like CSO’s, then councils and the other public institutes and private sector need to take action.
40. How can the private sector contribute to food banking?
The private sector can contribute by making a donation. This can be a cash donation or goods relief donation (product donation). They can also contribute by other different and creative models. For example, they can choose to come up with an original idea and take over the burden of payroll of some professionals working at the CSO. I think that the private sector players can help assist CSO’s like us to make our world a more liveable place and take over and support the difficult missions outside of the classic cash and good relief donations, come up with creative mechanisms in essence to develop and improve. As long as they want this, they can do it.