I’m going to tell you right away what the best part of traveling and my job is: meeting amazing people when I travel. I looked up a friend-of-a friend in Istanbul recently and was really glad I did.
Part 2 of the Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Feats Series.Part 1. Nepal.
Bedriye began the women-owned and operated B-Fit exercise centers in 2006, and ten years later, there are over 230 located all over Turkey. In 2014 B-Fit centers will open in neighboring country Jordan, too.
The B-Fit centers differ from the USA model of “Curves.” They offer lots of personal attention and everyone stays after exercise class to chat over coffee. We know how important it is for women to have time away from home, in a safe environment, to improve their health and to socialize with other women.
I was lucky to catch Bedriye in town. She had just returned from China where she accepted the Charles Schwab award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year and was taking off again in a few days. I think you’ll find her as impressive as I did.
1. Introducing Bedriye Hülya! Please explain what it is you are working toward. We are working in a very much neglected area in our country: Exercise for women. Before B-fit there were really no gyms with machines where women can go freely and exercise, as traditionally women cannot mingle with men in Turkey. Truthfully, exercise is the disguise and what we really work on is to support women in every possible way so they can realize their own power. B-fit helps them to start their own businesses, work in a safe and friendly environment and exercise to live a happy and healthy life.
2. What was the greatest challenge you had to overcome? One of the greatest challenges was learning how to compete in an unethical environment. I believe we women do not know the rules of the competition yet and just started learning them.
3. Where is your favorite place for physical and spiritual rejuvenation? My summer home in Bodrum is the place where I worship my solidarity. I love going there especially during winter to contemplate.
4. Have you had a woman mentor? What has she taught you? I did not have a mentor in business, but my mom was the role model for me. She was an engineer and had time for us (3 siblings), for her work, pleasure, reading, friends and she never complained. She just did it.
5. What is a favorite quote? If you are Newton, the apple that falls on your head is an opportunity.