How an immigrant who didn't learn English until her 20s became a college president with Aysegul Timur

From the Corner Office

May 23 2024 • 24 mins

This week we speak with Aysegul Timur, President of Florida Gulf Coast University. Aysegul was named president of Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers last summer — the fifth top leader in the 33-year history of the college. Timur is a first-generation college student who moved from her native Turkey to Naples 25 years ago. She joined FGCU in 2019, after working at Hodges University for nearly 20 years. Her name is pronounced (ah-sha-guhl, rhymes with Portugal; and tim-er, rhymes with glimmer.)

Together, we talk about how she pulled off a major feat: earned a Ph.D, raised her young family, built her career and learned English — all at the same time. We also discuss the leadership advice she gives to young students and the importance of mentors in her life and career.

3 Takeaways:

  1. (01:30) Calculate the opportunity cost of your time
  2. (14:40) Leadership is about influence
  3. (15:40) Communication is oxygen for an organization


(00:00) Introducing President Aysegul Timur and her biggest surprises of the first 10 months

(02:45) President Timur’s Inauguration Day

(04:10) Getting started as a teaching assistant

(06:20) Learning English and immigrating from Turkey

(08:20) How did your parents shape your work ethic?

(09:50) Commuting from Naples to Tampa to get her PhD

(14:15) What do you look for in leaders?

(16:10) Leadership advice

(17:15) Mentors

(18:35) The importance of communication

(20:35) Biggest challenges facing college presidents

(23:20) Rapid fire questions

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