Hi! My name is Deniz Gözler Özenç.*

I’m a digital communications specialist and a creative, with a start-up experience of 5 years and an academic background in social sciences.

I’m also a mom of two and the human of a Jack Russell terrier, born in Istanbul and currently based in Toronto.

I’ve been blogging and managing social media since 2012.

And I’ve co-built a start-up business between 2013 – 2018: a digital creative agency named SCODigital. Though I was always involved with the company since I co-owned it, I did not start working as Head of Content for SCODigital officially until 2013.

I developed and published budaviva.com, (previously istanbulplaces.com) a glocal travel and lifestyle guide with our team of editors, designers and builders.

I’ve also built a network of content producers/influencers and co-founded budamedya.com, a curated content aggravation website featuring up-to-date content from this network. In the meantime, I’ve trained bloggers and small business owners in social media management and creative content production, organized workshops. Developed WordPress websites, managed social media and delivered original content. Managing the co-working space that was part of our office was also my responsibility.

And previously I’d been studying hard.

The decision to run my own creative business came after 4 years of PhD level courses while working as a full time assistant at Istanbul Bilgi University; where I’ve co-taught 2 mandatory sophomore courses “Introduction to Political Theory I & II”, worked as a student advisor, assisted various other courses, assisted Erasmus and Graduate Program Coordinators. I love researching and teaching and coordinating within an academic setting, but back then I simply needed to be able to express myself more creatively.

Before that, I had completed my MA degree at Central European University, Budapest where I’d published a thesis on “power and creative resistance,” and my BA degree on Social and Political Sciences at Sabancı University, Istanbul.

Studying, producing, making art: Potato, potayto.

If you know me for a long time, you know I’ve always been actively interested in creative arts. The first time I stood up looking at the eyes of an auditorium of people was when I presented “the end of year student show” by myself at 7 years old. Won 2 poetry awards by the time I was 9. Acted for the first time, sang in a choir and was already taking piano lessons at 12. Performed the lead in a school musical when I was 15. Directed a school play that same year.

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Sene 1998, 13 yaşındayım. (Majör #throwback!🤗) İngilizce hazırlığı bitirmişim, heyecandan içim içime sığmıyor: sonunda okul müzikalinin seçmelerine girebileceğim. İlk kez okulun o zamanlar gözüme devasa gözüken tiyatro salonunda sahne alacağım. İçim kıpır kıpır; hem şarkı söyleyecek, hem oyunculuk yapacak, hem de dansedeceğim. Aylarca çalıştık, kostümlerimiz, dekorumuz, ışıklarımız, koreografimiz, intercom; herşey hazırdı. Ekip kalabalık: “I was a Teenage Jykll and Hyde” belki 3, belki 4 kez sahnelendi ama ben yıllarca sahneden inmeyi reddettim. . 🎭Bugüne dek en sevdiğim, en özel anlarımı paylaştığım bazı arkadaşlarımı burada tanıdım. Ekip olmanın ne olduğunu, yaratıcılığın sınırlarının ne çok emekle zorlandığını sahne ışıklarının altında terleyerek burada öğrendim. Bu işi profesyonel olarak yapanlara ayrı bir saygım oluştu. Tiyatro salonları, halen dünyada en huzurlu ve en heyecanlı hissettiğim yerlere burada dönüştü. Model Birleşmiş Milletler konferanslarında tartışırken, yüksek lisans tezimi yazarken, @haydemusic’i yaratırken, idollerimi değerlendirirken, hatta #Gezi’de bile hep tiyatroda öğrendiklerim yanıma kar kaldı. . 🎭Tiyatro candır. Yüzlerce insanın gözünün içine bakarak bir başkasının kimliğine bürünebilmek özgürlüktür. Yaratıcılık devrimdir. Seyredebilmek, kendine tutulan aynayı hazmedebilmek medeniyettir. Tiyatroyu sevin, sevdirin. . 🎭Başta halam @seraygozler, eniştem @saydamyeniay ve kuzenim @begooo olmak üzere bütün hocalarımın ve tiyatro emekçilerinin dünya tiyatrolar gününü kutlarım. . Hadi bakalım, şimdi de resimlerdeki beni bulanlar parmak kaldırsın! 🤣🤣🤣 . . #dünyatiyatrolargünü #tiyatro #sahne #sanat #27mart @robertcollege1863 #müzikal

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No this was not my lead role.

Took DJing lessons, played and MC’d at the parties we organized at 20. I’ve been on-stage, off-stage, in front of and behind cameras.

So it was only natural for me and my other music-loving half (a.k.a. @scosays) to put our creative skills into use and form an electronic duo to produce the songs we write together. Check out @HAYDEmusic here:

Here is a playlist of our music videos.

Over the last few years I’ve downsized quite a bit:

Shut down my business and my office. Moved 7 times, changing 4 towns finally to settle overseas in Toronto with my family. I have been working on and writing about simplifying for a more intentional, more mindful and more compassionate life. I have every intention of keeping it up, so you might expect to see some new posts on my adventures in minimalism at the blog.

I have also recently moved on from my old personal blog that I wrote in Turkish: denizdeninciler.com. (You can reach my old posts here.) It’s quite emotional for me, but hey, I get to make a brand new website just for myself! 😊

One of the reasons why I downsized to the extent I did was so I could also make room for some of the other things I’d been postponing: like getting back to my ashtanga practice. And I’m looking forward to finishing my certification in teaching kids yoga, so I can teach my kids (and hopefully others) how to connect better and live a more mindful and compassionate life.

And I’m back to work!

Currently I’m trying to find the right work-life balance as a creative mom of two. I can’t wait to start writing, singing, shooting, producing again!

I’m always up for creating – not just original, but meaningful content for everyone in search of it. Head over to my portfolio to take a look at the kind of stuff I’d been working on over the years. Let me know what you think!

And have a great day!

D.

*Yes, I have two last names.