Sibel selcuk
Vice President, Global Research & Development

What is your current role? How long have you worked for Monument? 

I joined Monument in late 2017 to lead the global Research & Development team. Before that, I was part of The Heritage Group (THG) team, serving in a variety of research leadership roles, including overseeing the company’s strategic growth and development in Turkey.

As someone who has spent her whole career in R&D, the Monument opportunity was an attractive challenge for me, because the role did not previously exist, and I was tasked with building a new global R&D organization with the aim of boosting our collaborative, cross-functional opportunities even more – so that we can enhance our abilities to fuel Monument’s growth.

I saw a huge opportunity to make an impact – and to help others increase their impact – and it’s been satisfying to see the amount of progress we have made together as a team in a relatively short amount of time.

What is your favorite part of what you do?

I believe that true innovation comes from collaboration – so our shared efforts to work together as One Monument and One R&D team is highly rewarding for me. From the very start, I was impressed with the talent and creativity of Monument’s R&D experts. We have always been great at picking excellent “apples” from our innovation “trees” – but thanks to our shared efforts to unite our global team, we are now able to see the whole “orchard” together. This allows us to collect the very best “apples” for our basket – and to make even more delicious “pies.” (And of course, those “pies” are innovations for our customers!)

We have an R&D conference call every Tuesday, and I enjoy listening to the R&D leaders talk about their current initiatives and wins – and most importantly, hearing them work together to find solutions to each other’s biggest challenges. In R&D, the solutions we discover as a team often have an immediate impact on the business, so the rewards are quite tangible – and they’re all the sweeter when they come from collaboration.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have a five-year-old daughter, and she keeps me quite busy. When I have time to myself, I enjoy playing tennis. When we first moved to Indiana, I didn’t yet have a job, and I’m not very good at sitting still; after I had painted the whole house, my husband signed me up to play tennis, something I’d never done before – and I loved it!

I am also passionate about travelling and exploring the world. My favorite places are Bali and Indonesia, and we are hoping to take a family trip to Indonesia before my daughter goes to kindergarten. It’s such a beautiful and unique place, from the monasteries to the flowers that bloom everywhere to the “con artist” monkeys who will steal your glasses and return them for a small fee. And the food is delicious as well.

Speaking of food, I also enjoy cooking – probably because I find it very similar to chemistry. I may start out with a recipe, but I often play with spices to create something new – much like the new molecules we create the lab (but with a more delicious and immediate reward).

What is the most surprising thing about you?

When I was a child, I was very daring, and I enjoyed climbing up walls and jumping off them. We lived in a fifth-floor apartment, and I once climbed down to the first floor by scaling the balconies. Fast forward to my 40s, and I’m not nearly as comfortable with heights – and I probably won’t be scaling a balcony any time soon. (And hopefully my own daughter won’t either!) I still have a sense of adventure, but it’s now channeled toward my career, my world travels, and sometimes even my cooking!