Meet a Connector: Elif in Istanbul, Turkey

Connector Elif Soykan has her feet in two worlds: Istanbul and Los Angeles.

She grew up in Turkey, where she studied sociology, but found herself drawn to Hollywood post-graduation where she worked at an advertising agency. Unfulfilled, she returned home after a few years.

Back in Turkey, Elif transferred her love of meeting new people from different cultures and backgrounds into a job as a cross-cultural consultant.

Elif hopes to use this training to its fullest in her new role as a Connector on both the Istanbul and Los Angeles Teams.

“As a cross-cultural trainer and a coach, I believe I can show people how powerful they are, how beautiful they are, and how much value they can bring to life to make it better,” she says.


Elif on her terrace in Istanbul
(photo courtesy Elif Soykan)

Elif naturally connects others in her social circles all the time, but admits that when it comes to herself, one of her weaknesses is asking for help.

With the Idealist Network, she’ll use this focus on others to her advantage and help Istanbul become better connected. There are a lot of nonprofits in the city, but bureaucracy, lack of consensus in organizations, and commitment on behalf of volunteers can be challenging.

Still, Elif is hopeful. Next week she’ll be meeting with another Connector in the city to talk about how they can best pool the city’s resources.

“Sharing is so valuable. I’m afraid that in this new era, we’re losing it,” she says. “This Network gives me hope to unite again for the ultimate goal: make the world a better place.”

Do you live in Istanbul or Los Angeles? Join Elif! Live elsewhere? Look for a Connector Team near you or start one of your own.

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Comments (4)

  1. Matthew Teeters writes:
    April 11, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Merhaba, Elif!

    I love Turkey and would like to learn more about your work there. What do you do as a cross-cultural consultant and trainer?

    Currently, I live in the US Midwest, but lived in Istanbul as an exchange student and have often thought of returning.

  2. Elif writes:
    April 12, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Merhaba Matthew,

    I don’t know when you lived in Istanbul but this city is literally changing everyday. You must come visit!

    As a cross cultural trainer, I support expats in order to have a smooth transition to another country/culture. My main goal is to bring out the values, competencies, self&cultural sensitivities of oneself. You can check out my linkedin to have a better understanding of cross cultural training.

    lemme know what you think.

  3. Ngi Tantoh writes:
    April 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Merhaba Elif.
    I am a connector though out of my own area of jurisdiction. I do believe that volunteerism doesn’t have any boundaries. I am currently in North Cyprus doing my master degree in International Relations, EMU. I will like to join your team in Instabul, Turkey. This part of Cyprus is not recognized by any other country than Turkey that is why I wish to join your team in Turkey,so as we can share our stories and make this world a better place for mankind. You can check my facebook page

  4. April Greene writes:
    April 14, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for writing, Ngi!

    To make sure she gets your message, you can send it directly to Elif through her Idealist profile:

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