In recent years, the rise in the importance of traceability, transparency and sustainability of supply chains has been substantial. The pandemic has made it even more relevant and personal for all of us. Although we often get discouraged by the sheer complexity of supply chains to achieve real transparency, it is very promising to see how technologies such as the blockchain can reduce complexity, eliminate unnecessary paperwork while enhancing compliance and enable effective consumer engagement. We were very intrigued how the traceability technology can support wealth management industry and found out that the opportunities are tremendous. Every day, innovative technologies seek their way into luxury market, and visionary leaders such as Eser Torun are working to deliver and manage growth initiatives by generating new ideas and executing on them.
In our endeavor to find “The 10 Most Influential Women in Wealth Management, 2021”, we caught up with Eser Torun to unveil her journey, her passion and how the products and solutions her team creates are significantly changing the industry.
The Drive Towards Finance
Eser’s journey began with her love for numbers, where her professors acknowledged this at university and encouraged her to pursue a career in finance. She always had a natural business sense that helped her when she started her internship in Citigroup Turkey, which led to a full-time opportunity in the Bank. That became the start of more than an 18 year -long international career in investment banking during which she also became a CFA Charterholder
Though there were times Eser considered a move out of finance, and even completed her MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management to do so, she’s still always found herself rooted in the industry. ‘There is so much to learn that has always motivated me’ she says. She has been through several market cycles throughout her career in investment banking and has always appreciated the importance of two things: building strong relationships with customers and innovating consistently.
Eser’s passion for innovation took a special turn when she met Everledger in 2015 at Barclays Accelerator. She was first a mentor to Everledger to support business applications of their technology to financial services. She mentored many technology companies in her career. However, Everledger stood out for her with the boldness of their vision, relentless focus on innovation, and commitment to make a real difference in the world.
Currently, Eser is serving as Chief Growth Officer at Everledger. She is responsible for driving and managing the company’s growth globally and has also been looking after direct investments, fundraising, and M&A. One critical aspect of her role is to head the government relationships for the Company’s long-term growth.
About the Company
Everledger is a digital transparency company. It uses blockchain and other innovative technologies like artificial intelligence and internet of things to enable more trust and transparency in complex supply chains. The technology creates unique digital identities for each object and provides information on its provenance, authenticity, and sustainability footprint. The company operates an industry-agnostic track & trace platform. However, it has deep experience and live applications in wide range of industries including diamonds, gemstones, apparel, wines & spirits, art, and insurance. In fact, as we were writing this article, Everledger has received another major mandate from the Australian Government to lead the National Blockchain application for critical minerals traceability.
Everledger has introduced a new and critical concept to the world: ‘Know Your Object’ (KYO) which will be as important as ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) is for the financial services industry. Everledger also offers very innovative blockchain applications for the luxury brands to enhance customer engagement
Coming from a middle-class Turkish background, hard work and perseverance have always been Eser’s career mantra. Looking back, she is very pleased to see the financial industry’s progress in embracing diversity across the ranks in the last 25 years. However, she feels the industry is still far from where it needs to be. Eser actively supports diversity in financial services and has been serving as an Executive Committee member at the CFA Institute’s Inclusion and Diversity Network for the last 4 years.
Paving the Path to Be ‘Everlegendary’
On the idea of impactful leadership, Eser thinks that there is no single universal description of impactful leadership. Everledger grows at such a rapid pace that the complexities and challenges faced by the team change all the time. Therefore, the success of leadership often comes from the ability and agility to adjust to situational needs. It requires conscientiousness and self-reflection. That means learning about the team, authentically caring and openly communicating Most of all, it requires the ability to establish trust and move everyone towards a higher purpose. For Everledger, this means leaving a legendary impact in the world with improved trust, transparency, and sustainability across the most critical and conflicted supply chains. That is why the Everlegder staff call themselves ‘Everlegends’.
The Brave, The Bold, The Better
Eser believes that Everledger can be the ultimate trademark for transparency and traceability on every asset we consume. It can enable the industry to shed light on the history, characteristics, and ownership profile of pretty much any product.
There’s massive potential for the type of applications Everledger is building, and it’s fast becoming the preferred choice of high-end brands, as they need not only to tell customers that their products are sustainable and authentic but also to provide evidence for it.
Definition of Success
For Eser, the definition of success is to leave a sustainable positive impact on our planet and society while creating value for her customers, investors, and colleagues. Everledger shares the same values as hers, with a commitment to achieve sustainable and socially responsible supply chains in four continents.
If given a chance to bring one change in the finance industry, Eser would change how quickly incumbents embrace new technologies and adjust their existing practices.
The Fire Within You
In her advice to up-and-coming women entrepreneurs aspiring to step into the financial industry, Eser says, “Whether in finance, technology or any other sector, always do something extra to learn more. Knowledge is the real power, and nobody can take it away from you.”
“Don’t be afraid to be yourself and never accept ‘no” for an answer when it comes to pursuing your dreams,” she concludes.