CXPA Impact Award Winner Spotlight: Hilal Kahraman

By Gabe Smith, CCXP posted 11-04-2021 05:06 PM

On CX Day, CXPA celebrated the winners of its 2021 Impact Award as determined by a panel of global volunteer judges.
Winners were announced in three categories--Impact on CX in an Organization, Impact on the CX Profession, and Impact on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Outcomes related to CX. Hilal Kahraman, Passenger Experience Design Specialist at Istanbul Grand Airport  was announced as the winner of the 2021 award for "Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Outcomes Related to CX."
Hilal Kahraman with impact awardYou can read Hilal's thoughts on her work below--and watch her reaction to the winner announcement.

Congratulations, Hilal!


I have started to work at Istanbul Airport 4 years ago as Terminal Operation Planning Specialist. I was responsible for preparing journey maps of passengers and the employees, defining flows of the employee including stakeholder employees at the airport, and designing guides for familiarization of the employee. In my current role as Passenger Experience Design Supervisor at İstanbul Airport, I lead projects to improve the airport experience of our guests for 2,5 years. Specifically, I am responsible for improving the experience of our disabled guests and families with children.

On accessibility work, firstly I was responsible for following the required actions for the audit set out by the Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Services in accordance with the standards on accessibility published by the Turkish Standards Institution. On completion of the audit, we successfully received a Certificate of Accessibility issued by the Ministry.

While following the standards, we have met with NGOs and disabled people to get information about their special needs at the airport. I have conducted site visits with 19 people with different disabilities like visual or hearing impairment, those who use a wheelchair, those with cerebral palsy or autism. We experienced our airport together with them from the entrance to the flight gates, defined the pain points, and discussed the possible solutions for their independent journey while they have been mostly expected to get assistance service from their airlines. While organizing these site visits, I have brought together the disabled people with the related people from other departments and vendors who may have a role in implementing the suggested solutions.

To have a more accessible world, more disabled people should have taken an active role in life. We would not be aware of how important to have an accessible workplace if we do not have colleagues with different disabilities. Seben Dayı, who is a successful businesswoman with Cerebral Palsy has joined our team and we have started to work together to have a more accessible airport, a workplace, and a world.

We were aware of how important it was to have a HUMAN TOUCH. We have prepared accessibility-training modules including videos of disabled individuals sharing their experiences and expectations. I have trained more than 300 employees about the different disabilities, their needs, expected behaviors, and the accessibility solutions that we offer under the name of “İGA Cares”.

To raise public awareness, we have organized special events on awareness days like the "My Companion" exhibition with artworks from children with autism on autism awareness day, selecting our special sign in Sign Language on International Sign Language Day.

While devising our project, we paid particular attention to establishing the project with a rights-based perspective. Hosting flights to 45 domestic and 250 international destinations, we welcome guests from 127 different countries of the world. I believe we have the potential to make a difference on a national and international basis with our work on accessibility awareness and practices that will facilitate the independent movement of disabled individuals.