Başak holds a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Syracuse University, and a Master of Business Administration from Presidio Graduate School. Her thesis project, Tree of Life, a transitional refugee shelter system, was awarded as a finalist at the Architecture for Humanity’s design competition. Her early professional work spans from exhibit design, furniture, product and retail design. Her passion for sustainable design lead her to move to the Bay Area in 2000 where she worked as the design coordinator for the Berkeley Eco House project. She designed and initiated the first community garden workshop in her hometown in Turkey in 2003. During this time, she worked as a design researcher for Oakland’s first green building resource center under Mayor Jerry Brown. After working as a product designer for Williams Sonoma, and Red Envelope, she joined American Pacific Enterprises as Design Director, to establish their hard goods department.
Since 2010 Başak has been working as an independent consultant with a diverse client base, providing design strategy and research innovation services. In 2015 she founded the nonprofit Berkeley Turkish School, where as President, she leads the efforts in creating a curriculum centered around the values of design thinking, leadership and sustainability. In addition, she teaches design research at the Industrial Design Department at California College of Arts in San Francisco. She mentors senior students on their investigative research journey that leads to their final thesis presentation. For Başak, the most meaningful aspect of teaching is influencing the next generation of designers to create experiences that make a positive impact in the world.