Embracing The Unknown

Keynote Speech at the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS) 2019 Annual Conference
Presented by Hafize Gaye Erkan, President and Board Director of First Republic Bank
June 24, 2019 in Pasadena, California

Before an audience of educators and administrators from girls’ schools across the country, Gaye recounted her personal story about how education, perseverance and a passion for making a difference motivated her to emigrate from her native Turkey as a young woman and come to the United States to pursue her Ph.D. at Princeton.

Her story captured three lessons learned: learning how to learn, engaging mentors and being purposeful in life. In her speech, Gaye discussed the benefits of having an entrepreneurial mindset in creating opportunity and the importance of exploring the unknown to discover new ideas. The personal and professional growth through mentors, and the ripple effect of happiness and satisfaction in life through contributing to those around us, and adding value to this world, were among those lessons learned.

Perhaps the most touching part of the evening was when Gaye brought her mother, Ms. Gamze Erkan, who traveled from Istanbul to attend the event, on stage and recognized her as “her educator, mentor and mother.”