Meet Zeynep Uçar, our Country Director from Türkiye 🇹🇷
Meet Native Teams! Today we’re introducing you to Zeynep Uçar, our Country Director from Türkiye.
From childhood Smurf hunts to leading teams, her journey embodies growth and dedication. At Native Teams, she thrives in a culture of respect, trust, and open communication.
Read the whole interview to learn more about Zeynep’s story, and discover her unique approach to productivity and life’s journey.
Who is Zeynep? Can you please tell us more about yourself?
Wow, I have always found this question very hard to answer, and as soon as I hear it, I fall into an existential rabbit hole! 🐇
Zeynep is a super realistic romantic Mediterranean girl from Turkiye (we all have dualities 🙂).
I grew up as a curious, courageous, and self-esteemed child with so many wonders in my head. I have always been a huge fan of literature, fantastic worlds, arts, and architecture. I can recall myself searching for “The Smurfs” in the olive gardens by detecting the mushrooms that looked like the Smurf architecture 😀
As a grown-up, I still enjoy my imaginary world and believe that this little world helped me to be a stronger adult, push the limitations of reality, and make almost everything possible to achieve.
Nowadays, I enjoy long walks by the seaside, gathering up with friends, cooking for myself, trying to be good at dance, doing a little bit of gardening, and catching up with film festivals and concerts in the city.
Zeynep, you recently transitioned to the role of Country Director. Can you share the journey that led to this transition from your previous role as a Business Development Manager?
I started working with Native Teams one and a half years ago. I started as a Business Development Manager, and I was Turkiye’s second employee. We were a small but effective team, so we built a strong presence in the Turkish market for Native Teams and reached a point where we were sure about the product-market fit with thousands of satisfied users. As we grew in the market, our little team grew up with many additional talented people. This is one of the most satisfying feelings ever to witness this growth and be a part of it from scratch!
Personality-wise, I always like to go the extra mile when I dedicate myself to a project and take responsibility. I think Native Teams thinks the same about me 🙂 and now I have been the Country Director for Turkiye for the last five months to make Turkish companies’ and freelancers’ lives easier and assist international companies in accessing the Turkish talent pool by providing an end to end EOR & Payroll solution.
Looking to the future, both personally and professionally, are there any specific goals or aspirations you’re excited about pursuing?
Even though I can sarcastically criticize the “be a better version of yourself” trend, I am always personally and professionally pursuing inner peace. My stickler instincts have a massive share in this, though! 😀
I am always excited to see any good results that I have the slightest positive impact on; this could be a huge project rolled out successfully, a happy digital nomad or freelancer enjoying their mojito on Bali beaches, or a little plant in my vase opening flowers after months.
Can you walk us through a typical day in your life as a Country Director? How do you structure your day to maximise productivity and well-being?
My typical workday starts with coffee and music! After checking my inbox and calendar, I make a prioritization for the day and shoot! As a Country Director, I need to work with cross-functional local & international teams internally; externally I work with local and international companies, partners, and freelancers. That means the risk of getting lost among too many meetings and questions. My magic solution is to write down all of my ideas, plans, and tasks, notes on paper, and put a checkmark as I complete them. Planning the time between meetings is also important, you need to choose between “answering that email too” or preparing breakfast most of the time 🙂
Do you have a favourite work ritual or habit that helps you stay focused and productive? It could be a morning routine, a particular workspace preference, or anything else.
My productivity hack is taking a small break to walk and get fresh air! It resets my mind and feels like a new day after I come back home. I usually prefer to work from home but sometimes changing the work location also helps to increase creativity. When I feel like I need it, I love to hop on a ferry and go to a café for the rest of my workday.
Given the international nature of your role, have any travel experiences left a lasting impact on you, either personally or professionally?
Of course! I remember my first trip with Native Teams in Bitola, North Macedonia. Just one month later, I joined the team, and there was a marathon that Native Teams sponsored. It was a remote job and I was not expecting to see my colleagues from all around the world that soon! It felt like there was a magician in the HR and each person working for Native Teams had been chosen wisely to get along perfectly well not only as colleagues but as friends.
How would you describe the workplace culture in your current role? What values or principles contribute to a positive and productive work environment?
I appreciate the workplace culture in Native Teams. As I said before, despite we are a huge team from different countries and cultures; we respect each other, we trust each other and we help each other professionally and personally. The open communication is the backbone of this harmony.
Are there any destinations on your travel bucket list? What kind of travel experiences do you find most enriching or enjoyable?
I am a backpacker and love to explore new cities in a “slow travel” mood. I pick somewhere based on my mood without planning too many activities, but I read about the culture, gastronomy, and history of the place. I let myself get lost on the streets, watch the ancient buildings, eat their food in a local restaurant, listen to their music, and stay longer in one city rather than packing too many other destinations.
I love Spain and Portugal and I can not ever get bored travelling to these locations but a Latin America trip is on my bucket list for so long. Maybe 2024 is the year that I can make this wish come true!
Thank you so much for your time and all the amazing advice, Zeynep, and have a great day!