Sufle’s Gizem Gür: Celebrating International Women’s Day and Breaking the Bias
By Gizem Gür, AWS Ambassador, Sr. Solutions Architect, and Co-Founder – Sufle
My first career role model was my mother; she has a PhD in chemical engineering and was as an academic instructor in the Istanbul Technical University in Turkey. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics came with our family DNA, but more importantly my parents gave me the passion and example for lifelong learning. The knowledge and support that I can achieve everything I want and be proud of my achievements.
When I started my university studies, computer science was not necessarily the most obvious choice. At the time, it was not seen as a typical field of study that women pursued. Only three women were starting in the same group I was in. There were really no women role models in the industry, and mentoring-wise there were no female mentors.
I had no earlier programming experience, but I got into learning and building solutions. I also had the opportunity to arrange open-source events in Turkey, and one of these events kicked off my career. I got my first junior software developer position and quickly got into more complex projects, doing system integrations and taking a bigger role in projects.
When the opportunity presented itself, I chose to pursue my next career challenge in systems engineering. At that point, I got faced with the bias that women don’t do systems engineering. I did not accept this as a realistic career blocker, and I looked for support inside the organization’s leadership. I got the support I needed from colleagues around me and took my next career step with support from them. I’ve had the opportunity to develop my skills through learning each and every day.
Now I’m at a point in my career where I’ve founded my own professional services company, Sufle, together with three other partners. We are providing consulting services on AWS technologies. We are a team of 20 and we are growing every day. We transform businesses and create value for the people using technology.
We do intentional and strategic work at Sufle to enable women to enter the industry. Our company embraces diversity, inclusion, and equity as a core value since day one. We believe there should not be any lack of resources based on social identifiers. We run a student mentorship program inside Sufle, providing both technical and career enablement for young professionals seeking careers in STEM.
I believe that hiring people who are good learners with a great attitude and passion is a recipe for success. You can always learn new skills, but attitude and willingness to learn are the building blocks for success. In practice, we are seeing our first comers who have been mentored when joining us starting to mentor new members joining our team. We harbour a safe environment to learn inside Sufle, and I always remind interns and juniors to ask questions. A lot of questions.
When we talk about bias, there is still some conscious and unconscious bias around women having high-tech careers. That is the reason why it’s so important to set a different example. To openly challenge the unconscious thought patterns where women are seen as only having marketing, project management, and finance careers in technology companies.
This is a task we can do both through Sufle and also through mentoring communities like the Million Women Mentor program. All this will transform the industry and society around us, and it will leave a legacy.
My thoughts for women starting their careers or transforming their careers to join the technology industry are this: Learn how you learn, don’t accept the first no you get regarding your career journey, and own your own career. Remember to ask for help and mentoring when you need it. When you have established your own career, look for ways to support those in the process of joining. I did it—so can you!
Gizem Gür is an AWS Ambassador, Sr. Solutions Architect, and Co-Founder at Sufle, an AWS Advanced Tier Services Partner that focuses on cloud, DevOps, development, and compliance services. She has 6+ years of experience as a solutions architect working on AWS.
Gizem specializes in designing and building solutions for AWS customers to help them achieve well-architected infrastructures, especially in regulated environments. Her meticulousness at her work follows her passion for learning and sharing her knowledge with tech-savvy professionals and communities.
International Women’s Day and #BreakTheBias
International Women’s Day (March 8) celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness against gender bias, and accelerating gender equity.
The International Women’s Day theme for 2022 is #BreakTheBias. This theme acknowledges that gender biases, discrimination, and stereotypes exist, and provides an opportunity to be part of a movement that promotes a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture both individually and collectively as an organization.
Amazon is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the company’s diverse perspectives come from many sources including gender, age, race, national origin, sexual orientation, culture, and education, as well as professional and life experiences. As we celebrate IWD in 2022, the AWS Partner Network (APN) is honored to share perspectives from female technical leaders from our global AWS Partner Ambassadors community.
This blog series highlights six trailblazing women who have shared their personal stories of how they overcame challenges, stereotypes, and barriers in their careers, who inspires them to #BreaktheBias every day, and valuable advice on developing a career in technology.
AWS Ambassador Partner Program
The AWS Ambassador Partner Program features a vibrant worldwide community of technical experts, known as AWS Ambassadors, from our services and software partners.
If you’re an employee of an AWS Partner, hold multiple AWS Certifications, and contribute to the AWS community through public presentations, open source projects, social media, and more, see if you qualify for the AWS Ambassador program. If you’re an AWS customer and want to contact an AWS Ambassador, we’ve listed each Ambassador on the AWS website so you can connect with them through their employer.
AWS Sr. Partner Solutions Architect Ursula Koski contributed to this story.