ExxonMobil Serviburnu is a lubricants blending plant on Turkey’s historic Bosphorus, the strait that flows through Istanbul, the world’s only major city to lie on two continents – Europe and Asia.
Serviburnu was built in 1924 as a fuel terminal by Socony Oil and converted into a lube oil blending plant in 1960. Today, the lube facility is a strategic regional supply source for ExxonMobil Turkey, operated by 34 employees and 48 contractors.
Serviburnu is not the biggest plant in the region, but it has always set the standard for environmental performance. Now, it has raised the bar by championing inclusion and diversity. Today, 50 percent of Serviburnu’s employees are women.
Omer Yenihan, Serviburnu Lubricant Oil Blending Plant’s manager, says that ExxonMobil has worked hard to attract, retain and advance women. Women play a critical role in our success, and it’s imperative that we continue to find opportunities for promoting inclusion and diversity across all of our locations.
We are proud to introduce you to the women who are responsible for day-to-day operations at Serviburnu.
Esra İşgören, Chemical Engineer & Safety Security Health and Environment (SSHE) Supervisor, 7 years with Serviburnu
What was your main driver in choosing a role in Safety Security Health and Environment (SSHE), why do you prefer this role?
“Making a positive impact on people’s lives is the main driver. At the end of the day, people go home to their families safe; I always get the feedback that they are sharing the learnings with their families too. Affecting our employees means affecting their families. All the safeguards, tools and programs rely on people. Changing unsafe behaviors is the main objective for a safe workplace. The most effective way to change unsafe behaviors is to change people’s mindset, which is the biggest challenge for SSHE leaders. Developing a culture of safety is a journey and I feel very proud to be part of this journey in the organization.”
Nurdan Zaim, Lab Chemist, 27 years with Serviburnu
You are the most experienced female employee at the plant. What was your biggest challenge and what would be your recommendations to those interested in working in a lab?
‘’Working at a manufacturing plant is really challenging. In addition to routine quality control tests, we also test base oils and samples for incident investigation, so unexpected and long working hours are part of the job. The biggest chalenge is balancing my dedication to work and the demands of my personal and family life.
Working in the lab is a great opportunity to learn about all the raw materials and formulations. The advice that I can give to the newcomers to the lab: work hard, ask questions, take all the opportunities that you can and learn from them.’’
Emel Kazımoğlu, Chemical Engineer & Product Quality Assurance Manager, 14 years with Serviburnu
What are the challenges that you face as a working mum. How do you balance work and life responsibilities?
“Being a full time working mum with two young kids, managing work and home, and taking care of kids is pretty challenging. Especially with the pandemic, it became more difficult. It is not that easy to manage work-life balance but I know that both my family and my job depend on my energy, so I prioritize my tasks and set boundaries between work and family time and stick to them. When I get home, I try to have a pleasant time with my family and try to take some time for myself. Instead of aiming for perfection, I think that we need to aim for happiness. My goal is being happy at work and being happy at home.’’
Zeynep Sayın, Environmental Engineer & Deployment Planner, 2 years with Serviburnu
When you first joined the blending plant, were you expecting more than 50 percent of white-collar employees to be women?
‘’When you start working in a plant environment, you don’t expect the majority of employees to be women, even in the office environment. We are now five women in the office, two in the lab, one in operations, and one in the SSHE office.
As the last one joining the team, I had some good vibes about the company’s view of gender equality. I really support the “Inclusion and diversity is equal to better business outcomes” vision. I hope to see all these strong women that I work with in management positions in the future.’’
Begüm Karaduman, Chemical Engineer & Lead Production Planner, 13 years with Serviburnu
We know that you have dual career household, with your spouse also working at ExxonMobil. What are the benefits ?
“I have been with the company for 13 years, my husband for 19. We have shared many successes and (sometimes) setbacks together, that had a great impact on our engagement with the company.
I think one of the important benefits is that we are aware of each other’s work environment and situation. I was resilient while he was traveling a lot and I was alone with our daughter and he was patient during my busy periods.
Applying the learnings from professional life at home is another benefit, especially with the safety of our child. We also talk the same language, like when I say “Lean” (Lean Manufacturing) or when he says “LPSA” (Loss Prevention Systems Analysis), everybody understands what is being meant. We also have a principle not to mix business with private life.”
Cemre Mollalar, International Trade, Trade Regulation Coordinator, 2 years with Serviburnu
There are five women in the same office, what are the advantages and disadvantages?
‘First of all, I should say that I am proud of working in an environment that values inclusion and diversity; it’s a great opportunity to work with four women at the same office at a blending plant. This is a gift given by ExxonMobil, it gives hope for the career opportunities of Turkish women in a global business environment.
We always support each other and understand our needs, clearly with a feminine perspective. We share our work-life balance experiences; and we are friends, sisters, mums and daughters of each other. Seeing powerful and successful women around definitely makes me feel better and is also very encouraging.‘’
Deniz Ertan, Business Administration, Trade Regulation Coordinator, 20 years with Serviburnu
You worked in the head office for many years, what were your thoughts about working at the plant and how have your views changed?
‘’I have been working at the head office for 20 years. I got excited with the opportunity at the plant as it would be a great experience.
In my previous position it was all about reporting to authorities, tax, sales invoices, etc. At the plant, all of a sudden, products on the invoices came alive. Now I have the chance to witness the production flow from the very beginning to the last point, until sale. I had a chance to see the whole cycle which is a great value for me.
Finally, I have to admit that the location and being able to hear the sound of waves on every single day at the plant is very amazing.’’
Melis Bileyici, Chemical Engineer & Plant Analyst, 3 years with Serviburnu
Why did you prefer ExxonMobil, what was the main driver for your decision?
“I have been following ExxonMobil since my university years. ExxonMobil values the learning and development of employees and supports their development in all respects by giving different job responsibilities and rotating across functions. Also, the global environment gives a chance to work in a multi-cultural environment that improves you professionally; and working with people that care for each other, like within family, makes you feel great and could be one of the best experiences in professional life.’’
Nur Sevindik, Mechanical Engineer & Logistics Coordinator, 4 years with Serviburnu
What kind of hobbies do you have, can you find time for your hobbies considering the long commute?
‘’My favorite hobby is painting. Painting helps me to relieve mental strain and express my emotions. After spending two hours a day in traffic, it’s difficult to balance private and work life. Before the pandemic, with a few other colleagues from ExxonMobil, we were giving volunteer coding training at Turkey Educational Volunteers Foundation at Beykoz. Serviburnu is very close with the community and by this volunteer activity we try to support this community, and the young boys and girls of this community. We have participated in First Lego League Challenges, and are hoping to continue after the pandemic.”
Hidayet Zelyurt, Nurse, 7 years with Serviburnu
You’ve been the nurse at the plant for seven years, prior to that you worked in a hospital. How would you compare the two?
“I started work as an Emergency Room nurse in the American Hospital and then continued my career in ExxonMobil. Both the ER and working at the plant is so meaningful for me, and both have advantages and disadvantages. Being a nurse is hard, sacred and gives a very big professional satisfaction wherever you do your job. I am so happy that I am able to do my job in an environment that I am proud of and I’m so happy to be part of ExxonMobil”
ExxonMobil’s Serviburnu lubricants blending plant on the banks of the Bosphorus strait, Istanbul, Turkey.