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Raised in Engineering: How Aybike Molbay is changing the landscape of the Turkish Technology Center

April 15, 2024 | by Kinsey Gulley

Growing up, Aybike Molbay was immersed in engineering. Her dad, a mechanical engineer, helped her produce parts for her lab projects and helped with her studies. And on days off from school, she would often accompany him to the manufacturing plant where he worked.

She knew from a young age she was destined to become a woman in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and her dad played a large role in her love of engineering, supporting her ambitions in the field. 

Today, Molbay is the General Manager of the Turkiye Technology Center (TTC), leading a team of more than 500 engineers, about 25 percent of whom are women. While this is an unprecedently high percentage when compared to the aerospace workforce industry wide, she is not satisfied with it. 

Dr. Aybike Molbay joined by her colleagues at the inaugural Women in Aviation International (WAI) – Türkiye panel.

“I am an aeronautical engineer, which still seems odd or cool to the young people I meet,” she says. “I challenge every day why our society has made so little progress in gender bias in professions. What could gender possibly have anything to do with the ability to study engineering?” 

Molbay, who grew up in Ankara, Turkey, and Geneva, Switzerland, noticed the gender discrepancy in aviation early on. 

As a Regional Sales Director of Commercial and Military Engines at GE Aerospace earlier in her career, she was responsible for maintaining relationships with regional airlines and government clients in Turkiye and the Balkans. 

She couldn’t help but notice the lack of diversity amongst her colleagues in other aerospace companies. 

“At the time, all my peers in other aerospace companies were middle-aged men, who were much older than me.”

Dr. Aybike Molbay and colleagues at the GE Türkiye Women Employee Network Summit.

Now, she’s made it her priority to increase and maintain diversity amongst engineers. 

As a 30-year GE Aerospace employee, Molbay and her teams push for gender equality in STEM overall and specifically at the Turkiye Technology Center have led to a realignment in the business environment and diversity goals at the TTC. From local youth STEM outreaches to internal workshops on unconscious biases, Molbay and her team have been able to spread the mindset that women in engineering shouldn’t be such a shock.

She has an ambitious, long-term goal to create a naturally occurring gender and overall diversity ratio balance in the TTC.

Her philosophy is that women and men have different perspectives, yet it is only through the combination of social and technical thinking can everyone create great ideas and equitable solutions.

Dr. Aybike Molbay speaking at the opening of GE Aerospace Additive Manufacturing Technologies R&D Laboratory in Gebze, Türkiye.

Through diversifying TTC’s hiring process and promoting workshops and culture changes that target unconscious biases, Molbay has set a new diversity, equity, and inclusion standards across the globe with the help of her team. 

One thing that hasn’t changed at the Turkiye Technology Center are the relationships. 

“Working with my team and seeing them gain self-confidence and empowerment to be able to do their own projects is something I enjoy,” she says. “When I see more people like that it almost feels like a parent watching their kids grow up.”  

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GE Aerospace is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, as well as integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft.