Keep Leading!™ Podcast Episode 027: Leadership in the 21st Century

Keep Leading!™ Podcast Episode 027: Leadership in the 21st Century

Dost Can Deniz
Leadership Coach and Premier Expert on Women’s Leadership
Leadership in the 21st Century

Episode Summary
Dost Can Deniz has delivered more than 7,000 hours of coaching and is the first ICF Master Certified Coach in the nation of Turkey. He shares his work and viewpoint about “Leadership in the 21st Century”

Bio
Dost Can Deniz, MCC, MBA is the founder and principal of MareFidelis Coaching and Consulting. He coaches top leaders and leadership teams of top local and global companies. He also is a co-leader and partner of the Gestalt Center for Coaching, the provider of ICF accredited Gestalt Coaching Program.

Dost Deniz is the first Master Certified Coach in Turkey and southeast Europe with more than 17 years of experience, and over 7,000 hours of coaching under his belt. Dost coaches executives, designs and delivers leadership development programs and trains aspiring coaches in USA, Canada, Israel, Middle East, CIS, and Turkey.

Dost has had the opportunity to support through significant personal and organizational challenges and opportunities, while also pursuing his own interest into both practical and conceptual frameworks of human and organizational development. This experience, together with his formal education in Systems Engineering and Business Administration, and work experience in Finance, and many years of professional training in Gestalt Organization and System Development, Political Systems, Business Strategy, Human behavior and development, Organization and leadership theory, has helped him to distil an approach that puts him in high demand among high level and upwardly mobile executives.

Website
https://marefidelis.com/

LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/in/dost-deniz-mba-mcc-0402aa/

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/marefidelis

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/dostdeniz/

Leadership Quote
“If you are one step ahead you are a leader, ten steps ahead, you are a target.”

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Check out Dost’s white paper: “Leadership in the 21st Century”

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Transcript

Welcome to the Keep Leading Podcast, a podcast dedicated to promoting leadership development and sharing leadership insights. Here’s your host, the Leadership Excelerator, Eddie Turner.

Eddie Turner:
Hello. Welcome to the Keep Leading Podcast. I’m your host, Eddie Turner, the Leadership Excelerator. I work with leaders to accelerate performance and drive impact.

How can you and I effectively lead in the 21st century? My guest today is Dost Deniz. He has more than 7000 hours of coaching experience and he’s earned the highest level of certification from the International coaching Federation. He’s a Master Certified Coach. In fact, he’s the first Master Certified Coach or MCC in his country. He coaches top leaders and leadership teams across the globe. He will share strategies he uses with leaders to help us lead right after this.

This podcast is sponsored by Eddie Turner LLC. Eddie Turner LLC delivers executive and leadership coaching, professional speaking, facilitation services, and management consulting across the globe. Eddie Turner LLC also creates voiceovers, serves as a master of ceremonies, as a panel and event moderator, and provides national media commentary. Visit EddieTurnerLLC.com to learn more.

Eddie Turner:
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Keep Leading Podcast, the podcast dedicated to leadership development and leadership insights. I’m your host, Eddie Turner, the Leadership Excelerator. I work with leaders to accelerate performance and drive impact.

How can you and I lead effectively in the 21st century? My guest today is Dost Deniz. He has more than 7000 hours of coaching experience and he’s earned the highest level of certification from the International coach Federation. He is a Master Certified Coach, the first in his country. He coaches top leaders and leadership teams across the globe. He will share strategies he uses to help these leaders with us today.

Dost, welcome to the Keep Leading Podcast.

Dost Can Deniz:
Hi, Eddie. Thank you very much for having me.
Eddie Turner:
I am so excited that you and I are getting a chance to have this time together today. And I just want to let everybody know how we met. You and I were both a part of a very special program. In fact, why don’t you tell our listeners about that?
Dost Can Deniz:
Yes. I mean, it really was a very special program. It was an executive education program in Harvard University’s Kennedy School run by and designed by one of the leading thinkers in the science of leadership and actually the practice of leadership. Actually, the course was called The Art and Practice of Leadership Development and it was run by Ronald Heifetz. And that’s where we met. And you were actually sitting just behind me and it was such a joy to meet you, Eddie, I just remember. You are one of the few people that I remember the first when I think of the class.
Eddie Turner:
Well, thank you, Dost. You’re very kind. You’re one of the first people I think of as well, which is why I invited you on the Keep Leading Podcast but I also invited you because you’ve got an incredible background and you’re doing some fascinating work. So, as we jump into the interview, can you just share a little bit about your background with my listeners so they understand who you are and all that you’ve accomplished?
Dost Can Deniz:
Yes, thank you very much. I’m an executive coach. I’m actually an executive and leadership coach. I’m based in Istanbul, Turkey. I basically work with people all around the world and actually a sizable chunk are leaders of their company, either CEOs, Presidents, and sometimes they are like new Presidents, new CEOs. And I work with them to actually help them create meaningful change, forcing themselves, in terms of, developing what needs to be developed to actually make a meaningful change in their companies, in their teams. And I usually end up working with their teams as well. So, I work as an executive team coach as well but I never worked with a team unless I’m working with the leader. So, it’s part of the deal, it’s part of my work. While I help these people really create meaningful change for themselves, and by meaningful, I mean a change that not only produces more money but also produces more value, I’d to call it, for the people, for the community they’re serving, for the customers. So, that’s basically the work I did for the last 17 years. And before that I was actually myself an executive. I was working in the banking sector. I mean, hard to believe but I was a trader myself. I was working as a chief trader at an investment bank. And before that I actually was trained in engineering, which is also rather curious. I have three different paths in my own path, which kind of flows like one path towards future.
Eddie Turner:
Yeah, I noticed that when I was looking at your profile that you have an undergraduate degree in Engineering, you’ve gotten an MBA, and you’ve got a whole slew of credentials. And so, yeah, I didn’t understand that you actually had worked in Finance. I missed that part. So, thank you for sharing that. So, you were a financial executive, you understand technology, and then somehow you decided that you wanted to go from actually working as an executive to coaching executives. What caused that to come about?
Dost Can Deniz:
Well, I mean, it looks a little bit like luck but as much as I was working as a trader and I was happy with it, I also was always in my whole career, especially when I started managing as part of big organizational change projects and kind of form so many new teams. I mean, I didn’t leave the banking sector to become a consultant. I kind of left it because I wasn’t happy with my last job and I also wanted to maybe start my own fund like a hedge fund or something but after I left the post, I actually went into this kind of what I will call a personal odyssey. I wasn’t happy with myself. I wasn’t happy with what’s going on. So, I kind of started looking into how things are. That actually ended up being into a soul search into what I really wanted to do. And I realized that the most I was happy with when I was an executive to help develop people or really this kind of big organizational change projects. And I was also doing all these workshops. I was actually working with a therapist/coach and she called herself a therapist but she basically was doing coaching. So, that got my interest. So, I actually ended up going into coaching. I think it’s been nearly 18-19 years. And that really felt like home to me. And I’ve been only basically doing executive coaching for the last 17½ years now and that’s the only thing I did for that 17 years, being, of course, a coach and a consultant and nothing to do with finance, except for coaching finance executives. So, that’s basically the story.
Eddie Turner:
Well, that’s very impressive, Dost. And I’ll tell you something. When I saw that you had 7000 hours, that just blew me away. In the program that we did at Harvard, it was very clear immediately that you were one of the more experienced people in the program. And while we were doing that program, I think, I had only been a year removed from completing my certification but it was clear you were head and shoulders above everyone else. And so, I want to say congratulations, by the way. I read that you are not just a coach with 7000 hours, that you actually are a Master Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation. Can you tell my listeners why that’s a big deal?
Dost Can Deniz:
Well, one thing ICF – the International Coach Federation – does very well is they have devised a way really for coaches, for aspiring coaches to aspire, they’ve devised a way to certify us in a way that actually helps them to know what to learn, what to master, what to do with our career because I think that’s the most important thing in our occupation. There are many people who are calling themselves coaches without proper, I would say, preparation and education and experience. And Master Certified Coach credential is the highest credential ICF offers. It is only offered when you complete at least 2500 hours of coaching other people and you also have to complete a certain number of hours, I think something around 200 hours of coach training. And the other part is you have to pass an exam, which is not only a written exam. You have to demonstrate your ability that you are coaching at the level ICF is designed or acknowledges. This is what we call Masterful Coaching. So, that’s what an MCC is. You have to pass all these hurdles. And when I got the MCC, I think, there were only 600 or so people in the world. Now it’s a little bit more but I think MCC level for certification is a good aspiration for all coaches who really want to show they are really investing in the occupation, investing in themselves and they are really interested in really helping people in whatever the niche they are working at, really helping those people move forward and they’re really wanting to give their best to their clients, give their best to the coaching occupation. For me, that’s the philosophy of MCC because the prices I charge or the number of clients before I got an MCC and after an MCC weren’t really different. What was different is this certification actually shows my commitment to the occupation, shows my complete commitment to my own development, and shows my commitment to my clients, actually.
Eddie Turner:
Good, good, good. And so, as you mentioned, when you got there about 600 people had had it. If my stats are right, there are almost 30,000 credentialed coaches in ICF’s community and less than 1% or only about a thousand have the MCC credential. So, you are truly above everyone else from a credential standpoint. You have that credential, you mentioned, that people are aspiring to because there’s three different levels in the ICF. ACC is the first level. PCC is the second level. And you have to have at least 2500 paid hours of coaching in addition to 200 hours of being trained, pass an exam, as you mentioned, to achieve the MCC. So, it’s not something that somebody can just show up and a year later achieve. As you have demonstrated aptly, it takes years of actual practical experience delivering coaching. And ICF did an amazing job of bringing credibility to the coaching profession. So, congratulations on that.

And then also something else. Not only are you one of the rare MCCs but you were the first one in the nation of Turkey.

Dost Can Deniz:
That’s correct. Yes. I mean, it’s a chronological thing. It’s a time thing. I was one of the first people who actually started in coaching in Turkey. So that gave me the opportunity to be the first one.
Eddie Turner:
Excellent. Well, that’s no small feat, my friend. So, congratulations.
Dost Can Deniz:
Thank you very much, Eddie.
Eddie Turner:
Now, I read your white paper about ‘Leadership in the 21st Century’. It’s really well done. I was reading that and just was like “Wow! This is just incredible work that Dost has done.” So, can you talk about what the real work of leadership in the 21st century is?
Dost Can Deniz:
The real work of leadership, Eddie, is like, there’s a saying that I use a lot, which I love and the sentence is “If you are one step ahead, you are a leader. If you’re 10 steps ahead, you are a target.” So, as our Dr. Heifetz says, if you’re not disturbing anyone, you are not leading. So, the work of leadership is basically moving forward, making some change, which will disturb people but which is necessary, which also always includes moving outside the borders or the boundaries of order and moving into chaos a little bit. Change needs chaos. And all of our leadership today are all the people who are actually elected into office or appointed to the office, they are appointed to that office or elected for that office not to create chaos but create orders and we expect them to actually move us to the better place in an orderly way, which won’t be totally possible. Moving to a better place always requires some element of chaos to it. So, the real work of leadership to me is how can I bounce, how can I dance in that boundary of order and chaos so we can create some kind of meaningful change. And if I go too much into chaos, I will probably be disturbing people at more rate than they can tolerate. So, I will be at a 10-steps-ahead point and I then become a target. So, that’s kind of how I define it and that’s the way that I try to help my clients.
Eddie Turner:
“If you’re one step ahead, you are a leader. If you’re 10 steps ahead, you’re a target.” What a great quote! And I appreciate you interjecting with Dr. Heifetz that we must learn to disappoint people at a rate they can stand. And this whole ideal about building a space for disequilibrium to exist because unless we shake people up, we really aren’t leading. And so, I love how you put that in – controlling chaos.
Dost Can Deniz:
Yeah, exactly. I just wanted to highlight that. The order and chaos are like the Yin and Yang and all that stuff is already in our culture, in the collective human culture. And a leader will be as effective as they’re able to see the amount of need for order they have and the need for order that the people have and the amount of chaos that’s needed for anything good to come about.
Eddie Turner:
Alright. Well, thank you very much, Dost. So, what we’re going to do right now is pause for a word from our sponsor.

This podcast is sponsored by Eddie Turner LLC. Organizations who need to accelerate the development of their leaders call Eddie Turner, the Leadership Excelerator. Eddie works with leaders to accelerate performance and drive impact. Call Eddie Turner to help your leaders one on one as their coach or to inspire them as a group through the power of facilitation or a keynote address. Visit EddieTurnerLLC.com to learn more.

Eddie Turner:
Alright, we are back with Dost Deniz. He is a Master Certified Coach, the first in the country of Turkey, and he is an executive and leadership coach among other things that he does. And I’m so happy to have him talking to us about leadership in the 21st century.

So, before the break, Dost, you were talking about what that really means in terms of leadership and you highlighted some of the things that we learned in our program there at Harvard but now I’d like to just ask a little bit different perspective that you bring. You’re one of the few people that can speak multiple languages and you, therefore, teach and consult and coach across the world. You actually deliver curriculum here in North America and you also do your work, of course, in multiple countries there in Europe and the Middle East. Are you seeing a tremendous difference in what leadership is as you travel the globe?

Dost Can Deniz:
I mean, Eddie, I will say yes and no. The world is becoming just like a global village. So, when I do work in North America and I when do work in, for example, Baku, Azerbaijan or in Dubai, we’re basically talking about the same stuff in a way. We’re all talking about how to create meaningful change. We’re talking about how to lead in a way that people give you informal authority or a formal authority to be able to create, to change, and to be able to lead people to your vision, to a better place. So, I think these are saying “What is different in my perspective?” For example, I’m just going to deliver a training in Thailand a week from today. I will be in Thailand. I will be working with a group that will be Thai people. This will be my first time in the Thai culture. And I think the biggest difference is the people’s approach to authority. And there are many other cultural aspects and we could use all these different models like the Five Factor Model and all that stuff but one thing I’m kind of cognizant of or just watching to see is how this culture, and that culture can also be any kind of company’s culture in a country like in Turkey as well or in United States, how this culture is responding to authority. That, I think, is a major difference, even though the differences are diminishing over the years. Maybe 10-15 years ago, working in Azerbaijan in a vacuum company, the power difference would have been much bigger compared to today and it would be different in like more Western oriented company then in a more traditional company in Azerbaijan and Turkey. That will be again different but one thing I always watch is how are these people responding to authority, how are these people dependent on authority, what’s the level that people can be themselves in the face of authority. That’s a big difference.
Eddie Turner:
That’s a big difference, indeed. So, thank you for sharing that. And that is a very valid point you make. And I like that you’ve highlighted the frame of reference they have toward an authority figure. And I’ve seen that in my work now. I travel the world but I do it virtually. You do it face to face. And when I go into programs I deliver, I’m doing it in English hoping that they can take down my language but you’re actually doing it in people’s language but I’m seeing in the work that I do with leaders in different parts of the world, to your point, is sometimes even when we talk about being a leader, it’s a bad word because in their nation the leaders aren’t anybody you want to copy. So, yeah, it really is or in other cases is people not wanting to challenge authority because it’s considered almost irreverent to do such a thing but we’re taught to do things differently. And certainly, that program that we attended, the word ‘authority’ took on a whole new meaning and dynamic the way Dr. Heifetz lays it out.

Well, I also am curious because you’ve done some work around neurology and you talk about this in your white paper. Can you talk about the role that neurology plays in leadership development?

Dost Can Deniz:
Yeah. I mean, I’m training in different modalities but even though we talk about psychology, I think, the neurology or the biology is like the lower system. And the most primal the system is, it has more control. So, the conversation around this emotional intelligence has really made this part of the brain, the primal part of the brain, the amygdala and its relationship to the environments we find, that became really famous, thanks to Dr. Goldman, Richard Baxter and all these people but I really need it a lot in my work. People find themselves in this VUCA environments. I really love that abbreviation. VUCA means Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity, which is basically a very good shortcut for chaos, right? And the world we live in is actually in chaos. When people find themselves in that, their brain go into this fight, flight, and freeze response. And that actually plays out in a certain way when you are a leader, right? You’re supposed to do the work of leadership and you are supposed to actually disturb people at a rate they can tolerate but when I work with my clients, I find themselves getting triggered, their amygdala getting triggered, their neurology, actual nervous system gets triggered in certain ways and they respond to these stimuli in a very predictable way. When people are in a chaotic environment, they fall into predictable traps, right? And they either go into the trap of having unrealistic expectations like having too much control or wanting to make things certain or they go into the trap of, what I call, innocence, they want to be seen innocent. And because they are going into control, they’re going to give away their power. That’s the only thing you need. Even though power seems to be a dirty word, as you said, leadership is a dirty word, you always like to kind of lead, really lead.
Eddie Turner:
I just want to pull this together a little bit there because you’ve given giving us a lot of good meat here. So, I love how you said that VUCA is a shortcut to chaos. It’s a quick way of describing that. And so, for those who have never heard that phrase before, you explained that it means Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. And that is something that a lot of people are talking about in the leadership development space. It comes from the military, that phrase, but certainly it plays a role in how we are responding. And you then covered how the amygdala hijacking takes place and how that disrupts leaders. And then you do something very nice with it and you fold it back into the adaptive framework. And so, you cover a portion where you talk about leadership through ARIA. Can you explain to my listeners what that acronym stands for and how that helps people adapt to change?
Dost Can Deniz:
Excellent. ARIA actually comes, again, from a neuroscientist’s work on how the brain learns. And I think his name is Jeffrey Schwartz and there’s a lot of books out there and he’s basically done a lot of work with obsessive compulsive behaviors. And using a framework which he calls ARIA he was able to help these brains who actually have an obsessive-compulsive tendency to learn new behaviors, which will actually lead them out of their agony of OCD. And, basically, when the coaching community looked into this ARIA, this model, or other neuroscientists, when they looked into it, not that people with OCD actually learn this way, all brains learn this way. And, actually, if we look at it, all of us, with our habitual patterns because we do them kind of compulsively, whatever you do out of habit, it’s a compulsion, it’s kind of you do it all the time, so all the brains are actually in a way compulsive. So, all brains learn to ARIA. And ARIA stands for Attention, that means if you want to learn something, you have to pay attention, first, you have to keep your attention because we move towards what we pay attention to, metaphorically and physically. And you have to Reflect, you have to use your own brain to think about the thing that you’re paying attention to, which leads to Insight, we have a different way of understanding. We call it the contact in our gestalt coaching. It’s the new information. It’s the new understanding. And then through that Insight, we move into action which will be an experiment, right? Now, it won’t be great if we told all out controlled stuff. It will be just revealed through experimenting something. So, Dr. Schwartz says “If you pay attention to what’s going on, if you pay attention to what you want to learn and you kind of think about it, what is going on in here, and you come up with new understanding, new insight. And if you put it to experiment, through time you will learn new behavior, you will even cure whatever is going on with your brain.” And when I came across this, I said “There is no better definition of coaching or what we’re doing. We have all these different methodologies but this is what we do with our clients. We help them pay attention to what they need to pay attention to. We actually help them reflect, think about, talk through and really look deeply into their behaviors, their results, what’s really going on and then actually we help them come to some insights and put it into some actionable experiments.” That’s kind of was the first step. And when I actually look at this, this also is an excellent model for leaders who are trying to change because actually change work is learning work, especially if you’re talking about adaptive change. Adaptive change means people have to learn new values, new behaviors, new stuff. So, they have to learn new base of things. So when I work with a leader, the work of leadership becomes “Where the people’s attention are? How can I help the people in my organization, which are important for the change effort to pay attention to the right stuff? That right stuff could be our problem, which people tend not to pay attention to. It could be the vision that we are having. It could be the gap between where we are and where we want to go? Can we pay attention to this? Can we pay attention to what’s dysfunctional and needs to change? And as we pay attention to this, can we reflect together as an organization? And that collective reflection, collective thinking, collective problem solving will usually, if not always, will usually have some kind of conflict? Can we be in constructive conflict with each other? And can we really have some kind of way of looking at this reflection, this conflict in a reflective way so we understand what is the path from here to the imagined future, which will lead, hopefully, to a state of new agreements, new insights, new collective insights. That’s where we are going to.
Eddie Turner:
From the current state to desired state.
Dost Can Deniz:
The last part will be can we design organization experiments, some kind of action and keep it as an experiment, not as an exercise, which means we have a desired outcome we want to reach, an experiment, we don’t know what’s going to come up. Can we do experiments with it so we can go to that future state?
Eddie Turner:
Good. So, one of the ways we refer to that is basically, to boil it all down, is learning equals change. And so, that strategy that you described was using attention, the A for the ARIA, in a strategic way, enabling deep Reflection, that’s the R, and facilitating new Insights, that is I, and finally the A for Action is designing new behavior experiments and action. And so, it’s a completely different learning model – ARIA – Attention, Reflection, Insights, and Action.

Very nice, Dost. It sounds like what I’m hearing through our conversation as we’re talking about leading into 21st century, leading across the globe, leading in Turkey and beyond, what we’re hearing is that we all basically operate in a system. Dr. Heifetz talked about that little bit. And these systems are Volatile, Ambiguous, Complex and Uncertain or VUCA. And we can’t fall to a predictable set of errors. If we see them, though, we can correct them.

Dost Can Deniz:
Exactly, exactly, that’s my approach. That’s what I try to teach my clients and I try to help them become aware because I really allow one of our, we mentioned him a lot in this session, I mean, this is basically a keystone in my thinking, Ron Heifetz says, “Most leadership errors are errors of diagnostics.” I mean, I don’t think just most leadership errors are errors of diagnostic things. I believe most human errors are because we may fall into errors because we’re not seeing the whole picture. We’re just falling ourselves into these habitual errors and we’re just acting out of not pure understanding, we’re acting out of our own habitual patterns. And the way out is to really slow down, become aware of our own tendency to fall into these traps. And if I see the traps, if I see myself, then I can really make a different choice. Otherwise, basically, we’re just automatically carrying past conditioning into future.
Eddie Turner:
Good. Thank you very much, Dost. So, on the Keep Leading Podcast we like to always have leaders have something that they can take with them. Do you have a quote or a word of advice for those who want to keep leading?
Dost Can Deniz:
Well, exactly what I just said. I will say most leadership errors are errors of diagnostics. So, when I fall into errors, can I stay there, can I stay open, can I stay awake so I can see what’s going on, I can see the VUCA, I can see the chaos and find an orderly way moving to the chaos.
Eddie Turner:
Thank you. So, most leadership errors are errors of diagnostics. And so, we have to spend a little bit more time in our pre-work or diagnostic work before moving in to try to repair things. And part of the reasons why Dr. Heifetz said that as he was a physician before he became one of the great leadership thinkers and he told us about the parallels that happen, if a physician diagnoses a patient, and he gave us that analogy to pull into the leadership work, if we misdiagnose our client or organizations, then that’s at our peril. So, very nice. Thank you for that quote. And we’ll make sure our leaders are able to see that. We’ll put that on our show notes.

Speaking of the show notes, where can my listeners learn more about you?

Dost Can Deniz:
Yes. I mean, I do have a website called MareFidelis.com. I have a blog that I wrote about all this stuff that we’re talking about. And I’m just inviting people to have a look and see how these writings can help them in their leadership.
Eddie Turner:
Outstanding. Well, Dost, thank you so much for being a guest on the Keep Leading Podcast and sharing with my listeners how they can lead in the 21st century.
Dost Can Deniz:
Thank you very much. It has been a joy.
Eddie Turner:
And thank you for listening. Well, that concludes this episode, everyone. I’m Eddie Turner, the Leadership Excelerator, reminding you that leadership is not about our title or our position. Leadership is an activity. Leadership is action. It’s not the case of once a leader, always a leader. It’s not a garment we put on and take off. We must be a leader at our core and allow it to emanate in all we do. So, whatever you’re doing, always keep leading.

Thank you for listening to your host Eddie Turner on The Keep Leading Podcast. Please remember to subscribe to The Keep Leading Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen. For more information about Eddie Turner’s work please visit EddieTurnerLLC.com.

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The Keep Leading!™ podcast is for people passionate about leadership. It is dedicated to leadership development and insights. Join your host Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator® as he speaks with accomplished leaders and people of influence across the globe as they share their journey to leadership excellence. Listen as they share leadership strategies, techniques and insights. For more information visit eddieturnerllc.com or follow Eddie Turner on Twitter and Instagram at @eddieturnerjr. Like Eddie Turner LLC on Facebook. Connect with Eddie Turner on LinkedIn.