Meet the talent: Furkan Karayel

Place of residence: Dublin, Ireland

Position: Diversity and Inclusion Keynote Speaker,Author, Lecturer

Please describe a day in your life.

I work four days a week and start the weekend on Friday. If I have a keynote to deliver on the day, I start the day early, around 6 a.m. I practise my speech in front of the mirror. I record myself and continue practising. After the keynote, I go to the gym or go for a coffee walk if I have time. I do my focus work, like presentation preparations, in the morning. I set my client and team meetings in the afternoon times. My workplace changes regularly; I absolutely love it. I sometimes work at home, or Huckletree, a brilliant co-working space in Dublin or a coffee shop.

How many projects are you currently working on? Please describe them

If I tell you about all the projects I worked on today, this will make a book-long post. So, to save you some time, I tell you about the most exciting project I currently work on, which is the Inclusive Intelligence Game!

We have designed this game for group interactions. Each group chooses one card from each colour and discusses how they respond to the scenarios in the cards. It’s specially designed for employees who work in multinational organisations with/without diversity and inclusion knowledge. It helps teams or leaders to increase awareness of their diversity and inclusion understandings in a holistic approach while discussing each situation with their colleagues. It is a great way to take away tangible and actionable steps on the participants’ inclusion leadership journey while learning from each other and having fun.

Tell us a bit about your book “Inclusive Intelligence.”

Absolutely! It’s my first book; it took me 1.5 years to find a publisher.

Inclusive Intelligence is the meeting point of Emotional Intelligence and Inclusive Leadership. Its methodology is based on a series of interviews and years of detailed research conducted with team leaders and managers in a variety of global companies and the Inclusive Intelligence book. This book equips the readers with the skills and tools of the Inclusive Intelligence pillars: Self-awareness, empathy, engagement, cultural wisdom, accountability and commitment from real stories and practices that work.

Tell us about Diversein and how it helps leaders create diversity.

I founded Diversein 5 years ago with my frustrations with the leadership of multinational tech company leaders. They are promoted with their technical skills and sometimes without leadership skills. They didn’t know how to manage diversity. This leads to losing top talents, quiet quitting and a toxic environment. Our research has discovered that Inclusive Intelligence makes diversity sustainable and is the biggest factor to unlock the potential that comes with diversity. With our interactive sessions, we train leaders on how to implement it in their daily activities, no matter what roles they are in.

In your opinion, what could tech leaders do to bring more women into this field?

One thing they can do is advertise their open positions where there are more women, such as women in tech conferences. They also need to diversify their boardrooms.

What is the most challenging thing you had to deal with during your career?

I have always struggled to “fit-in” to organisations while doing my best. Later, I realised that the organisations could have been flexible enough to accept me as who I am, not require me to “fit in”. I hate the word “fit-in”, by the way. I guess this prevented me from being “the ideal” employee. But on the other hand, it has made me an ideal entrepreneur.

What is your most outstanding achievement up until today?

I guess receiving the Trailblazer award by the Diversity in Tech.

Which famous person would you like to have dinner with and why?

Oprah Winfrey. We would have so much to talk about while having a fun time.

Where would you like to travel next?


What did you dream of creating/inventing/doing as a child?

Growing up, I always dreamed of working for a multinational tech company with a diverse team and then launching my own tech product about productivity that will save people’s time and money.

What tips do you give to women who want to go into leadership?

Go for it! Don’t give up! Ask for help! When you get into leadership, bring more women with you!

Andriani has been working in Publishing Industry since 2010. She has worked in major Publishing Houses in UK and Greece, such as Cambridge University Press and ProQuest. She gained experience in different departments in Publishing, including editing, sales, marketing, research and book launch (event planning). She started as Social Media Manager in 4i magazine, but very quickly became the Editor in Chief. At the moment, she lives in Greece, where she is mentoring women with job and education matters; and she is the mother of 3 boys.