MEET MEMBER: Dilek Austin
Can you give us a brief introduction of who you are and your current business?
My name is Dilek Austin. I work for a company called Novozymes as a scientist, which produces industrial enzymes. All of you are using the enzymes in your household products. Even enzymes are in our bodies so they are natural things. My background is in food engineering and food science. Therefore, I work in the food division, especially on baked goods. So, the next time you buy a sliced bread, ask yourself how come the bread is still soft for a long time, that is because of the enzymes.
Why did you join BPW and what committee are you part of?
Last summer I read a book You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. When I was reading one of the chapters, I saw something that related to me. She knew she needed to do something for herself but she didn’t know what it was, and someone recommended for her to join any women’s club in her area about business or interpersonal development. She said it was the best thing she did and she figured out what she really wanted to do with her life. That’s how I found BPW, via the website. Then I connected with one of you, I think I sent an email, and was introduced to Payal and it went from there. Payal was the biggest impact on me joining.
Who is a person who has helped you in your career and how have they helped you?
It’s cliche, but my mom and my dad. Because my mom grew up in an era when women weren’t educated and it wasn’t believed that women should be educated. I’m originally from Turkey. My dad had a college degree, an engineer. We are three girls and he always pushed us to be the best of ourselves and not to depend on men. So my mom wanted better things for us. All of us became engineers -. In fact, one thing about my dad was he always told us, “I cannot give you a bunch of money, houses, cars but when you have a good education, this is a golden bracelet for you for the rest of your life.” So that I think my parents are the main pushers in my career.
What hobbies/interests do you have outside of work?
I don’t know if this is a hobby, but I became a member of a Toastmasters club 3 years ago. It is very much like your group here, but with XY chromosomes and XX chromosomes together. I really enjoy that. I like to listen to public speaking and how people can develop themselves in public speaking. Seeing people how they develop in front your eyes with the support and guidance they get is amazing feeling.
I am so crazy about crocheting. I have to crochet every night. I find it very relaxing. One of the reasons I like technology is that I don't have my mom with me to teach me more patterns, but I can still learn from online. It's why I am so grateful about technology. I can just go learn things.
Another hobby, of course, is reading books, specifically personal and professional development books. Because of a book, I am part of BPW.
If you could have any one superpower, which would you choose?
This is the best question ever because I always tell my kids, if I had a power right now, I would like to stop all the cruelty. Human to human, human to animals right away. It really hurts my heart to see that. It's why most of the time, I refuse to watch the news.
What’s your favorite place of all the places you’ve traveled?
I want to say Turkey. I do travel but I was born there and I really recommend considering traveling to Turkey. There's so many amazing places and so many different cultures in there. I travel to other places of the world, but still I feel like Turkey is a very beautiful country.
What is your favorite restaurant and why?
I don't have a favorite restaurant. I love to try different things. Especially for a restaurant, it has to have a feeling. I just don't like the fancy restaurants. It has to have some colors, like a Latino type restaurant or Mexican type. I just love that vivid feeling when you enter. It's the feeling I'm looking for actually.
What was your favorite TV show or movie when growing up and why?
Growing up in Turkey, everything we see on the TV is almost 20 years after you guys. Growing up, I watched Dallas. Interestingly, I ended up marrying a Texan. It was interesting to go visit the ranch in Texas where the series was done. But my favorite show is Charlie's Angels. I like kickass and strong women. It's why I really loved that show.
What has been your most interesting job and why?
The job I'm doing right now. I get to visit different places and interact with different people to help them with their challenges in the industry. At the same time, being able to help with my education through them is really rewarding feeling. I really love to help, teach and learn. I'm a lifelong learner. Whenever I chat with people I will look for learnings form them. The more I give, the more I learn from other people.
What can BPW do to support you in your career?
I love listening to podcasts. I always feel like I need to be productive every second of my life. It's just me. I started listening to this podcast, "Hello Monday." I highly recommend it for business and professional women. I’m pretty sure many of you are very ambitious. The fact that you come to this dinner meetings after work, which shows some dedication. I feel like I can align with you and learn from you and help BPW.