“Fordham London has an amazing community,” said Tohumcu, who first arrived at the campus as an adjunct faculty member in 2016. “I’m excited to develop a new program that will not only enrich our students’ experience with Fordham’s curriculum, but also their experience in an international city like London.”
A Sustainability Expert with Training From Al Gore
Tohumcu was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. At age 18, she moved to the U.S., where she earned two degrees from George Washington University—a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and a master’s degree in finance—as well as a master’s degree in management and systems from New York University. In addition, she served as a business analyst for Merrill Lynch, where she worked in private and corporate banking, and as a consultant in the World Bank’s treasury department. In 2009, she joined Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, an organization that educates the next generation of climate change activists, where she received training from Gore himself on how to raise awareness about climate change.
She went on to found and co-found several companies related to her expertise, most notably Yesilist, an award-winning digital content marketing website that helps Turkish businesses build sustainable brands.
“Sustainability marketing has become extremely important over the last few years. I think consumers are becoming more conscious about the way their products are made, in terms of their impact on the environment and human labor, and businesses need to be part of the solution as well,” said Tohumcu. “They need to create products that have little to no negative impact on society and the environment, and the rest of us need to invest in businesses that serve both society and the planet.”
Giving Students More Exposure to London’s Business World
Tohumcu moved to London in 2012. Four years later, Fordham recruited her to teach marketing at the London campus. Tohumcu added her own twist to the course, which is now called Global Sustainability Marketing. In addition, she has taught electives related to strategy and marketing consulting, where she tries to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum.
“Even if my students don’t directly work in sustainability, I want them to understand how businesses can help to solve problems while still making a profit,” said Tohumcu, who has taught hundreds of students that now work in marketing, financial services, and other fields.
Tohumcu will continue to teach this academic year, but her focus will be on her new role as head of experiential learning at Fordham London. She said her goal is to organize more field trips and hands-on experiences where students can find creative solutions to real world business problems by collaborating with U.K. companies in technology, financial services, and other sectors. She also plans on reinventing a guest speaker series where students previously learned from experts in the U.K.’s business community through an online format. The speaker series will transition to an in-person “brown bag lunch” setting as early as mid-November, she said.
“We learn best through experience,” said Tohumcu. “Classroom learning is important, but we want to enrich their education with more exposure to London’s business world.”
What makes Fordham London unique, said Tohumu, is its community.
“I’ve been here for the past six years, and we have excellent faculty and administrators here who have been resilient throughout the pandemic and supportive of our staff and students. Our new building gives us the opportunity to showcase Fordham to our local community,” said Tohumcu, “but we want London’s business world to get to know us better.”