The Victorious Warrior!
A woman of incredible strength and a true warrior, Ibu Yuniastuti has emerged as a winner in this game called life. Losing her husband while completing her Master’s degree, being a single mother to a 17 months old boy; and holding a high-level position in an international company; she has proved to the world that there’s nothing a woman can’t do; no battle she can’t fight.
When you began your career more than 2 decades ago, did you ever imagine you’d be where you are today? How has the journey been?
Yes, I have always had a goal to advance my career in corporate life, reaching senior positions. The journey has been exciting, with lots of interesting opportunities as well as challenges. In the early days of my career, I became a single parent when my husband suddenly passed away and I decided to take my MBA while working full time and raising my son. It was full of hard work and challenges as I had to play the role of both parents for my son, while also giving my best at work and studies. I am lucky to have the support of my family, especially my mom (my father passed away when I was a teenager).
Further, I had the opportunities to work at various Multinational Companies as well as leading local companies, in Indonesia as well as overseas, which enriched my experience and expanded my network. It really makes my life rich and colourful.
Why is empathy important in the workplace?
I always start with a belief that people want to do their best, and I believe that empathy is very important in the workplace, because we work with people who have emotions/feelings. When we empathize with them and trust them, it will energize them and drives them to do their best.
What leadership trait resonates with you the most?
I uphold 3 E's in leadership: envision, enable and energize. I am known to give a challenging goal to the team, but I strive to enable them, give them the tools and/ training/coaching needed to do their job well. I am also passionate about building a solid team and breaking down the limiting beliefs, as I believe strong teams achieve wonder.
As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
Frankly, I have not thought of myself as different from the male leaders. I have been lucky to work in companies that didn't make me feel being a woman is of lesser importance. Thus, I didn't specifically feel any barrier due to being a female. If any, it was the challenge of balancing work and being a good parent for my child. However, I wouldn't call it a barrier, but rather a challenge.
How do we move forward when everyone is telling us that our idea won't work?
One of the options to lower resistance related to risk is to manage the risk by doing the idea on a smaller scale before rolling it out. It is one of the methods I did, and by doing it in stages, we get the learnings to improve for the rollout.
How has Ibu Kartini inspired you as a woman?
I admire her courage and perseverance. She was brave to challenge the status quo and strived to achieve her dream. She inspired me that "Life is about being brave," and that as a woman we can do anything we set our mind to.