Our Founder

Social Entrepreneur
Founder of Turkish Coffee Truck & Turkish Coffee Lady
Gastro & Cultural Diplomacy Expert
Gizem Şalcıgil White, aka the Turkish Coffee Lady, is a Turkish American entrepreneur with a unique mission: to create a global community of explorers
and coffee lovers. 
Gizem Şalcıgil White has been a goodwill ambassador for Turkish coffee culture since 2009 and is the founder of the award-winning non-profit Turkish Coffee Truck initiative. She has been working voluntarily to promote Turkish coffee culture in the U.S. and abroad for the past 13 years. Through her non-profit project, more than 30,000 people in the U.S., Europe and Canada were exposed to Turkish coffee for the first time. Gizem’s one-of-a-kind cultural diplomacy project made the headlines of major international publications including The Washington Post, Washingtonian, PRI/BBC and her fans started calling her the “Turkish Coffee Lady”. In May 2012, she was honored by the U.S. Congress for fostering friendship between the Turkish and American peoples through coffee conversations.
From March 2011 to March 2012, she worked at the Press Counselor’s office at the Embassy of Turkey and worked at Turkish Airlines’ Washington DC office as the Sponsorship and Public Relations Coordinator between May 2012-February 2016. She worked as a business development coordinator at Margaret McNamara Education Grants, a women-led non-profit organization hosted by the World Bank. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Banking & Finance from Bilkent University and a master’s degree in Global Marketing Communication & Advertising from Emerson College, Boston. Her professional interests include nation branding and gastro/cultural diplomacy.
In February 2014, Gizem received the "Cultural Sustainability Award" for her “Turkish Coffee Truck” project by Istanbul Tourist Guides Union. In November 2015, she was selected one of "Top Young Outstanding Persons 2015" in the culture category by JCI International. In March 2017, she was named as one of "Top 40 Most Influential Turkish Americans" by Turk of America Magazine. On March 11, 2021, she received the prestigious “Golden Compass Award” for her ‘2019 U.S. Turkish Coffee Truck Tour” by Turkey’s Public Relations Association, TUHID.
Gizem served as the president of American Turkish Association of Washington D.C. (ATA-DC) between 2013-2017. She also served as the Vice President of Capital Region for Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) for two years.
In 2017, she founded Turkish Coffee Lady, Inc; a woman-owned authentic gourmet coffee business dedicated to bridging cultures one coffee at a time. On March 8, 2020, she established the world’s first coffee diplomacy association, Turkish Coffee Lady Foundation, which is also committed to inspiring women entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams.
Gizem lives in Alexandria with her husband and 6-year old daughter.