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Catching Up with Simge Akarsu, Senior Strategy & Program Manager at Dassault Systèmes – Part 1

We are looking forward to being a part of this year’s 3DEXPERIENCE World (February 8-11th) as a Gold Sponsor.

DriveWorks has participated in this event (formerly known as SOLIDWORKS World) for 20 years!
We love being a part of the SOLIDWORKS Community! 

This leading industry event brings together members of the engineering and manufacturing community from all over the world in an effort to educate, connect and network with each other.

Whilst we cannot be together in person this year, we are excited about being a part of this first-ever virtual event!

Recently, we had a chance to catch up with Simge Akarsu, Senior Strategy & Program Manager at Dassault Systèmes.

It was inspiring to listen to her story and how she has applied both education and experience to grow into the roles that she has had in industry over the years.

Now, she’s responsible for creating a fun and engaging 3DEXPERIENCE World virtual event that promises to be exciting and keep everyone connected on a global level.

Simge, thanks for taking the time out of your (very) busy schedule to sit down with us. I think it would be great if you could share with everyone some background on where you are from and your education?

“Thanks, absolutely happy to share. This coming year, 2021, I will celebrate working for SOLIDWORKS for 10 years.

It’s the longest (working) relationship I’ve ever had. Currently, I am living in the Boston area, but I am originally from Istanbul, Turkey. My early education and university education are from Istanbul University where I received both my Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism as well as my Master’s Degree in Communications.

As my formal education was in journalism, my first job was working for a newspaper in Turkey.

After some time, I realised that I wanted to do something more to help people communicate, market, and promote their products. When speaking with one of my professors, they recommended that I take on an internship with a large company in Turkey.”

“In this role, my manager was a very strong woman and I learned so much from working with her.

She had a big impact on my professional development; we are still in touch and I think of her from time to time.

Shortly after this, I found a job working with a company in the cutting tool industry – Taegutec.

As a young woman, I had to learn a lot of new technologies that I wasn’t familiar with, but I was able to get up to speed very quickly.

There were not a lot of women working in the cutting tool industry. I often found myself to be the only woman at some of the trade events we attended.

After working at Taegutec for a bit, I decided to create my own business (SMG Company) and provide marketing consulting for some of my former employers as well as the SOLIDWORKS reseller, Yenasoft.

Over time, I built a relationship with Yenasoft and in 2009 I joined their team as the Marketing Manager.

While working at Yenasoft, I met the sales and marketing leadership team at SOLIDWORKS.”

The path to SOLIDWORKS…

“In 2011, I accepted a position with SOLIDWORKS as the Marketing Specialist for Turkey. I loved the people that I was working with and I was starting to meet people from around the world in sales and marketing.

Within my 1st year with the company things were going really well, I became a manager and they expanded my role to include Greece, MENA, and South Africa.

When I was approached to interview for a technical Product Manager position that would be based in Boston I really needed to give this thought. Not only had I not planned a move to the USA, but I also didn’t have a formal technical background.

After traveling to Boston for the interview, things moved pretty quickly and in March 2017 I accepted the offer for the position of Product Manager for e-Drawings. This was a new, challenging technical position for me as I had a background in marketing and communication. Needless to say, this was different.

Being a very driven person, I decided that I wanted to learn more about the software in order to do the best job that I could as a Product Manager. While it wasn’t required of me, I pursued my Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate and I am proud to say that I achieved this in 2017.”

“In 2018, I was offered the position of Strategy & Program Manager.

Once again, I found myself in a role that was going to challenge me professionally.

Having worked for SOLIDWORKS for some time, I knew that I was going to be able to do my job well as I knew many people in the business and would be working with them on SOLIDWORKS World/3DEXPERIENCE World.

With my desire to be well educated and prepared for my new professional challenge, I took it upon myself to enroll and completed courses at both Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Certificate in Management & Leadership) and Harvard Business School (Managing Sales Team & Distribution Channels).”

Simge, give us some insight into this role of Strategy & Program Manager

“Sure, my current role as Senior Strategy & Program Manager is a very challenging and incredibly rewarding position.

My role allows me the opportunity to work with people from all areas of the business in an effort to manage, support and grow this annual event and make it the best it can be.

In this position, I am the person responsible for everything to do with the 3DEXPERIENCE World event.

If anyone has any questions about the event or requires any details on something happening with the event, I am the ‘go to’ person.

We have a great team of both internal and external stakeholders that I am proud to be working with for this year’s event.

It’s exciting to have everyone working together to help define, plan and of course successfully execute the event.

Once the event is over, we will review the results in an effort to make changes and then start our planning for the next year. For me, this is a year-round full-time position!”

There’s More to Come

It was a pleasure speaking to Simge, about her education, experience in industry and the path that led her to SOLIDWORKS.

Continue the reading our interview with Simge, where Simge will be sharing more about her role and involvement with 3DEXPEIRENCE World and what to expect from this year’s virtual 3DEXPERIENCE World!

See you at 3DEXPERIENCE World 2021

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