International Entrepreneur Spotlight: Tugba Yazici

Tugba Yazici arrived in the United States a year before the pandemic with her daughter, two suitcases, and her dreams. She yearned to expand the possibilities and opportunities for not only her daughter and herself; but also for women around the world. Her startup offers financial literacy education to empower women to achieve their own dreams.

Tugba is a devoted mother, a successful serial entrepreneur, and a prodigious lifelong learner. She holds a Ph.D. in communication sciences, and three master’s degrees in cultural studies, advertising design and marketing communications, and business administration. She also holds certifications in graphic design, video, photography, and fashion new media at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In addition, she is a trained money coach and a certified professional chef.

“Some people see work as something they have to do,” says Tugba. “For me, it’s something I love to do. I love working. I love helping. I love creating positive change. I just love being productive. Business and work are the way that we become our best selves because we’re constantly challenged out of our comfort zones.”

Cultural Shift

Tugba founded Savana, a marketing and communications company based in Istanbul that specializes in global technology brands, in 2002. Tugba is also the founding editor-in-chief of two of Turkey’s leading digital publications that have been around for more than a decade: Cicicee, which covers topics related to family life, including parenting, education, and child development, and EvHayat, which covers home life, including cooking, home improvement, and gardening.

With Cicicee and EvHayat, “my intention was to create a cultural shift in the way people see and approach those domains,” explains Tugba, who continues to oversee all three startup ventures she founded.

Empowering Women

Through her latest endeavor, Tugba aims to create a cultural shift in the way women view and approach personal finance. Her financial education platform for women will offer online courses, blog posts, and support from experts, mentors, and peers to guide women to create wealth and manage personal finances. In addition, Tugba will create a host of related entities:

  • An institute to conduct research to study and analyze the cultural and psychological barriers for women in accessing the finance industry and wealth acquisition.
  • A mentorship program to train women to be financial coaches. 
  • An endowment fund to support women in gaining financial independence. 

“I’m very passionate about helping women advance financially and building a support system for them,” Tugba says. The support piece is often missing at a time when women are left on their own more and more and are being forced out of the workforce due to family responsibilities and the pandemic, and aren’t finding support easily,” says Tugba. “I’m dedicated to help women become financially independent and thrive.”

Just Go for It!

The one thing that guides Tugba, whether it be navigating the U.S. immigration process or successfully navigating her path as an entrepreneur is “Don’t get bogged down on being perfect—just go for it! Women tend to focus on the part of the journey that may be imperfect and that imperfection stops us,” she says. “We need to remember that not everything has to be perfect. You need to find out what is good and what works and keep moving forward.”