“I try not to worry about things I cannot control”
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Lutfiye Kumlu. I am Turkish-Australian and a mother of two boys (a six and a two year old). I grew up in Adana, a city in southern Turkey, which is where my parents still live. I went to university in Ankara and moved to the UK afterwards. After a brief period in London, I married and moved to Australia with my husband. We lived in Australia for a few years and had our first child there. During my time in Australia, I worked as a volunteer in various community organizations and schools. About four years ago, we moved to Kuwait for my husband’s work. I enjoy spending time with family and friends and travelling whenever I can.
Tell us about your education.
I have a chemistry degree from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.
Tell us about your career journey.
In my first job, I worked as a laboratory technician in one of the private schools in Sydney. However, I always planned to do something on my own but was not sure what I wanted. After moving to Kuwait, I briefly taught Turkish at Kuwait University but had to leave for personal reasons. Soon after we moved to Kuwait I met my current business partner, a likeminded person with great entrepreneur instincts. Deniz is one of the first friends I made in Kuwait and we have a lot in common. Deniz and I started an event company and also private Turkish language classes and private tutoring. We organized our first large event, Mommy and Me Market, in 2015. This year, we are organizing the second version of the Mommy and Me Market.
How do you manage your time? Describe your average day.
I wake up around 6am every day. The first thing I do is drink coffee, then have light breakfast. After breakfast I go to the gym and then to the office to start my busy day. I have meetings both in and out of the office during the day. At lunch time I pick up my son from the school bus and spend some time with him while we have lunch together. Sometimes I go back to the office, sometimes I work from home; it depends on my commitments for the day.
What is your biggest strength?
My biggest strength is being well-organized. I am a working mom with two demanding boys. Being organized is essential given my responsibilities at home and at work.
Do you have any weaknesses?
I can say I am impatient and that I want everything done as soon as possible. As an organizer there are lots of things to do. Being impatient puts a little pressure on my colleagues but I have to say that it helps me finish things before the deadline.
Have you made any mistakes that have made you stronger?
My biggest mistake is not continuing with my higher education. I am planning to rectify this next year by obtaining a post-graduate degree in event management.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced during your career?
My biggest challenge has always been juggling my family responsibilities with my work. I don’t think this is unique to me as a number of people in today’s world face similar challenges. I am getting better at it day by day though.
How do you stay motivated during challenging times?
I stay calm and try to see the big picture. I try not to worry about things I cannot control and try to do my best for the things I can control. With hard work, I know at the end of the day everything will be fine.
What do you do to relax?
I exercise to relax. If I feel tense, I go to the gym. It helps me relax and refocus.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
There are a couple. Graduating from one of the top schools in Turkey is certainly one. I am also proud to have my boys and how they are turning out to be. Successfully putting together the first Mommy and Me Market while pregnant with my second child is also one of the proudest moments of my life.
What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is living a meaningless life and compromising on my principles. In thirty years, when I look back, I would like to make sure I am proud of the life I led.
What is your favourite quote?
Great minds think alike.
Name one item in life you can’t do without.
My coffee machine.
What’s the best advice you have ever taken?
You can be whatever you want to be with hard work and dedication.
Share three books on your nightstand.
My Name is Red – Orhan Pamuk
Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
Maximum City – Suketu Mehta
In your opinion, what are the three keys to success?
First you need to believe in yourself. Second you need to work hard. Third you never give up.
What is next for you? What would you still like to achieve?
We are leaving Kuwait this year for Abu Dhabi. I would like to build on the experience I have had in Kuwait and continue organizing events in the United Arab Emirates by opening up a new branch of our event management company over there.
What advice would you give to young women starting out in their career?
They need to believe in themselves and make it work. They should never listen to people who say what they are trying to do is difficult.
How does it feel to be a CP Woman of Substance?
I am very flattered and humbled. I feel I am still in the early stages of my career and have many more years of hard work ahead of me, following my dreams. I am honored.
Your message for the team at CP magazine:
I would like to thank you all for giving me this great opportunity. You are doing a great job, keep up the good work! I will be following you guys closely.