Tell us a bit about your background, where you grew up?
Growing up I was influenced by two worlds, two different backgrounds. I spent my childhood, adolensce and college days in Amsterdam but I also have great memories of Turkey spending time in villages and cities like Haymana, Polatli, Ankara and Istanbul. My father came to the Netherlands to take care for my grandma, uncles, aunts and also for us (my mother and 3 brothers). I can remember the long summer holidays in Turkey with my family, but also the special moments which I had in the parks and playgrounds of Amsterdam, eating ice creams and playing with my nieces and cousins.
What did you dream of becoming when you were a little girl?
I think that role models have a big impact on human dreams. When I was younger I watched a lot of Turkish movies, ‘The Turkish Cinema’. I looked up to the beautiful women in these films. These women are good looking, they take care of their family and environment, they have no ego, they are kind and they are always joyful. Influenced by this I have always wanted to be a nice, joyful and caring woman.
Describe your current job?
I work for the Chamber of Commerce Netherlands and my main role is the advisor of international business for entrepreneurs.
What’s been your greatest challenge and your greatest reward in your professional career?
The most difficult thing in my career was to stay true to myself, to follow my own path and to believe that I am okay after all.
What do you love about the city/town/village you live in?
I have more than one reason why I love Amsterdam; I love the civic virtue, freedom of thought, spirit of enterprise and the creativity.
What is the greatest risk you have taken? OR The greatest fear you have overcome?
My greatest fear was when I was 21. The moment when I left my parental home to study and do an internship in Germany. My parents and brothers didn't want me to go because I was a girl. For me this is precisely the reason I wanted to leave home, because I was a girl and wanted to be independent. At the time I was afraid that they would stop me and not let me go. It was a challenge but something that I needed to do for myself.
What motivates you?
My motivation is growth. And growth comes with challenges. Challenges are what change us and help us do make better choices.
What brings you joy?
My daughters (Zeynep and Elif), I can’t stop hugging them.
Who are your top 3 female role models, and what about each inspires you?
I follow Faiza Oulahsen from Greenpeace, Netherlands in the news. I think she works on the basis of what she truly believes in, with both here activism and corporate mind.
And I also my grandma, the mother of my father. She was a Kurdish woman, with her own way of doing things in a traditional culture. She chose to be with the man she loved and run away with him to start a family despite all the resistance from her own family.
What does International Woman’s Day mean to you?
For me International Woman’s Day is a symbol of hard work for an independent and conscious life.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give to a young woman just starting out?
Design and reflect on your own life!
Fatma is one of the most knowledgeable women in regards to the fashion industry in The Netherlands and Europe. She is someone we really admire, not only for her knowledge but also for her sense of fun and generosity of spirit. Take a look at her Instagram account on the link below. Fatma Sener