Trip to Fin del Mundo (end of the world!) And yes, Glaciers are melting


I was in Patagonia this January. It takes a long long while to get down there. And you do feel like it is so far out and it is a strange deserted land in many ways. And Patagonia with the sea, the mountains and glaciers and the beaches is fascinating and beautiful as in all those starkly contradicting places are.



I visited Punta Arenas, the Magellan pass, Puerto Natales, and finally Torres del Paine National Park to see the glaciers. My top discoveries are:

-the glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate; the ones in del Paine lost 50% of their mass in past 20 years only.

-Selk’nam people who were the natives of the very southern Patagonia went extinct only in the hundred years they were encountered; one of the saddest stories of our cultural destruction.

-it is a lonely place with amazing beauty but severely endangered.




I was ready for a freezing cold when I landed to Punta Arenas. I found a barren strange land right near the ocean with a deserted highway I had to drive for few hours north. Only thing you could see on the road was the oil exploration companies trucks or few cars as you drive north to Puerto Natales. Once at Puerto Natales, you see the sealions, the fishing boats and the distant snow mountains surrounding this town which really does look like it is at the end of the world. Then it is another two and a half hours of dirt road drive leading up to Torres del Paine where the big glaciers and amazing mountains hiding lakes in between exist.


The park is almost post modern. My reception to the park after two hours of a very bumpy drive was by a puma. He crossed the road, giving a wink to me sitting inside the car watching him amazed. And he disappeared just in time before I could take a photo of him. I saw the crazy shades of pink and orange on the snow peaked mountains at the far distance; Grey glacier stretching into a huge lake; and then, all of a sudden after I turned a corner, a land of sheep and horse farms and few hotels awaited me ready to serve warm drinks and cappuccinos. It is so difficult to get to that it does feel end of the world yet humans managed to set up a welcoming few outposts that you get shellshocked from the comfort you find.


But the real shellshock was when I boarded the boat in the Lago Grey to see the big glacier. How millions years of ice piled up in every color of white and blue in front of my eyes lied for tens of kilometres in width and depth; and how parts of it kept on falling off and passing right near our ship was heart breaking. When the sun wat setting I took the picture of a loose piece of ice on the water that pushed to the shore of the beach. It did feel like I was watching the end of ‘Planet of the Apes’; the dystopian end of any science fiction where we managed to destroy the planet in few generations with our greed as humans… It left me breathless; fascinated and very disturbed for the mother earth. What a way to come to grasps of our bleak future at ‘the bottom of the world’, literally.



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MALBA, an eye to look through Americas ‘Us versus them’—seeing Kabul through Latin


America MALBA is a fabulous contemporary art museum in Buenos Aries. Besides the Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera fanfare, they have amazing contemporary exhibits. The current artist in focus was Mexican Francis Alys. Francis Alys’s work is a good reflection of Latin American art for me. It is very real and engaged into people’s stories; never removed. He is a Belgian born artist based out of Mexico City. His first exhibit was focused on putting a mirror how we perceive the immigration problem through linking continents and different people. He tried to build a bridge of people by putting boats across from Cuba to Miami—bridging United States Americans to Cubans. Then he tried to have people hold hands across from Europe to Africa through Gibraltar to connect the Africans to Europeans. His second exhibit was his works as an embedded ‘artist’ with British troops in Kabul, Afghanistan. He documents film archives of Afghan capital and children there playing with the film reels on the streets of Kabul. I never saw Kabul. I would like to understand Kabul.




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“Women to Watch” Global Leader Award -2015


I received ‘Global Leader’ award for 2015 as part of Advertising Age magazine’s ‘Women to Watch’ series. As I did the opening keynote for Brand Week in Istanbul, Turkey, speaking about what the future holds for us humans and how we will evolve with technology; it was such a great surprise to receive this honor!

As a background, Advertising Age, one of the leading marketing communication publications, organizes “ Women to Watch” awards to honor the most successful women in business life.  MediaCat, leading marketing magazine in Turkey, has been establishing this event since 2013.

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I spoke at Brand Week “Disruptive Technology “Keynote Istanbul, Turkey

I was an opening keynote speaker for Brand Week Istanbul where I took the audience on a ‘’tour of the future’’ as I called it in my speech, where I shared my perspective on disruptive technologies and trends that are effecting the world we live in today and how they will shape our lives in the future.

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G20 “B20 Innovation Taskforce” Ankara, Turkey & ” B20 Infrastructure and Investment taskforce” Antalya, Turkey

As a member of B20 Innovation Taskforce and Infrastructure & Investment Taskforce, I participated in G20 committee work in Ankara and Antalya in November, 15.

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Eisenhower Fellows ” Diversity & Inclusion Panel” Santa Clara, CA

As an alumni of the Eisenhower Fellowship, I hosted 6 of the 2016 cohort at Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, CA where together we have discussed experiences and exchanged best known methods in topics of Diversity & Inclusion from around the world across public and private sectors

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I spoke at Rutberg Wireless Influencers, 2015 conference Los Angeles, CA

At this exclusive invitation-only conference for global senior executives in the mobile and digital media industries, I had the privilege to deliver a keynote speech on Luxury and Technology to these 500 C-level attendees

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I spoke at London Fashion Week “British Fashion Council Partnership” panel

To coincide with the opening of London Fashion Week, Intel has become a patron of the British Fashion Council (BFC). I had the honor of making the announcement at the exclusive dinner packed with top British fashion designers and influencers

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My “Innovation through Disruptive Technology” speech @ Yasar Group

I had the privilege to participate in Yasar Group’s Annual Strategy meeting with a keynote speech on Innovation through Disruptive Technology. Held at the Yasar University with over 300 distinguished participants, I discussed my perspective on what the future holds in terms of innovation and technology and its impact on many industries from manufacturing to retail, and automotive to energy.

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Might the new year begin with: Executive Foodie recap


What other highlight to the ending year than remembering the best tastes best moments of food I had past year on this very cold San Francisco day. Eat, live and smile my dear friends.

The real stuff:

-Stuffed mussles (Midye dolma), Mastic filled cookies (sakizli kurabiye), Aegean red mullet (barbun baligi), Dalyan, Cesme.

-Grapeleave dolmas (Yaprak sarmasi), okra (bamya), zucchini cakes (mucver), family prepared, Izmir.

-Frozen cigborek, Mongolian desert.

The sentimental:

-Urlice Vineyards, chef Osman Sezener of Pizza Venedik, Urla, Izmir. Izmir home boy Osman Sezener of famous Pizza venedik educated in Italy brought gourmet food using our Aegean greens, fruits in the most serene place in Aegean among the vineyards and good wine from Urla. Amazing mint and cherry ice cream to top the very special night hosted by my TUSIAD friends.

-Antico Trattoria in Treviso, Italy. This trattoria which is the back up for the nights Don Fernando’s is closed is tucked away behind the Duomo, with their huge wine list and unpretentious setting but has been around close to a hundred years. It feels like home everytime I enter the door and know that it will be a feast.

-La Mar by Gaston Acurio, chef Diego Oka, Mandarin Oriental, Miami Beach. Reminder of the fabulous Peruvian feasts and art of the potato making; this time on the water in beautiful Miami Beach.

Top of the ladder!

-Michael Minna Mediterranean Test Kitchen, San Francisco, California. Amazing tastes from the Egyptian chef took me from Cairo’s Naguib Mahfouz coffee to Aleppo’s Christian quarter down to Beirut’s Sultan Ibrahim restaurant, up to home in Izmir fishing villages. It certainly was the most amazing journey of the year. I ranked it above French Laundry because every moment was pieces of my life in the mediterenean sea, so personal.

-French Laundry, chef Thomas Keller, Yontville, California. The most amazing service ever, from the welcome down to the goodbye cookies alongside the satin ribboned menus as mementos. Service was amazing with wait staff never looking in your eyes, never coming across you anywhere in the hallways of the tiny cottage. Service blew me away so much that I cant remember what I ate except that every piece of it was phenomenol. First time I realized the difference between one and three star Michelins…

-Oliver Glowig restaurant, chef Oliver Glowig, the Aldrovandi, Villa Borghese Hotel, Rome, Italy. The truffle risotto made me an addict and so far I tried hundreds of risottos in many countries in vain just to find that taste again. I felt like five years old stuck in a new year’s celebration as the desert followed a chef’s complimentary sweets which were around twenty different pieces followed by a full on Japanese tea ceremony followed on goodbye sweets that I ended up eating in Tuscany for a good few days. It felt like a holiday celebration all over.

-Santé at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, Sonoma, California. A small unexpected oasis in downtown Sonoma grounds with amazing food that kept on wow’ing straight through the night. They do deserve their Michelin star back.

-Twist by Pierre Gagnaire, Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas. Highly pretentious, never to disappoint, exceptional service and exceptional wine menu to serve the level of the guests we had. Amazing pairing was the most significant dinner conversation as technology met with New York Fashion world and decided to make history.


-Bouchon by Thomas Keller, chef de cuisine Michael Sandoval, Yontville, California. Truffle fries and chocolate, and no more!

-Joseph’s, Joseph Wrede, Santa Fe. Southern food with a very modern twist; out of ordinary sophistication for the pink desert.

-Gramercy Tavern, New York City. Special setting, always exceptional service and food.

-Redd Wood by Chef Richard Reddington, Yontville, California. A breakfast can be so delightful and surprising, with the Peruvian potatoes and arugula! A small heaven in heart of Napa to grab a high quality beautiful bite.

Best conversation and ambiance:

-Union Square Café, New York City. Last night of the famous Union café before they moved to new location hosted me for the most amazing feast. A feast happens when food is exceptional, wine served is perfect hundred point Pinots from France, company happens to be writer Jay McInerney of Big City, Bright Lights; and my conversation mate who sat near me turns out to be Patti Hearst’s sister and Rudolph Hearst’s daughter Anne Hearst. The most interesting combination of people and food made this for me one of the most memorable nights in New York City.

-Procacci shop and tasting room, Florence, Italy. More truffles, this time in chocolates, after dead tired of shopping in Florence; gossiping with my decades old friends. Never so happy to be in Italy.

-The beauty shop restaurant, Memphis, Tennessee. Sitting in this hip cool, a la jetsons deisgned hair salon, eating where Priscilla Presley got her hair done, so unexpected in the deep south as part of my renuinon with my American sister and her daughters from North east was so surreal and very cool!

-Itta bena at BB King’s restaurant, Memphis, Tennessee. True blues on beale street in Memphis starts with BB king’s place–only until you discover the high end Itta Bena upstairs hiding out with real good food, and no you don’t have to eat fried chicken in Memphis after all!

-Secreto lounge, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Endless creative liquor menu paired with western munchies fit in the coldness of the new mexico desert.

Very good:

-Blue Hill, New York City.

-Morimoto restaurant, Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Napa

-Asiate, chef Angie Berry, Mandarin Oriental, New York City.

-Coyote Café, Santa Fe, New Mexico

-Bar Boulud, by Daniel Boulud, Mandarin Oriental, London, UK

-Bouchon, chef Thomas Keller, the Venetian, Las Vegas -Mint leaf, London, UK

-Bistro Jeanty, Yontville, California

-Ozumo restaurant, San Francisco

-La Mar Cebicheria Peruana by Gaston Acurio, chef Victoriana Gomez, San Francisco

-Solbar, Chef Brandon Sharp at Solage, Calistoga, California

The comfort food:

-Babadji, London, UK. They had sezen aksu music, sucuklu pide, lufer fish, yeni raki in proper glasses, Turkish speaking brilliant waiters with a very modern and cool blue décor. I felt exactly how I was supposed to!!! A person born in Izmir but lived in Istanbul seeking Aegean restaurants always; came to London from San Francisco and wants to feel like she is a bit closer to home. Serefe to any restaurant who can make you feel so special!!!!

-Shakefoundation, santa fe. Best burger ever, soft and real in the middle of a park right down from art galleries. New hip side of Santa Fe carries this place so well.

-Umami burger, San Francisco. Food I want to eat every day. Not only because its in the hood, but truffle fries goes well with the burger which has a sunny side up egg inside.

Might the new year 2016 bring yet other things on top of my daily ration of feta cheese, tomatoes and crakers:)

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