It took 23 years of hard work and passion to get to her current position: country managing director (CMD) of Accenture Indonesia. Five years after being appointed to the top position, she has led the company to grow exponentially and is not looking to slow down anytime soon. Leading a global company of 1,400, Neneng Goenadi is showing the world that women are just as capable—maybe even more so—of leading in a largely male-dominated industry.
Indonesia Tatler had the privilege of talking to Neneng at Accenture’s celebration of International Women’s Day. Despite a full day of activities, she spared some time to discuss her work at Accenture, her biggest passions, and her favourite way to unwind.
Accenture provides management consulting as well as various services in strategy, digital, technology, and operations services, with clients that include MNCs, state-owned enterprises, and local businesses. As CMD, the growth of the company is naturally a top priority. One of the current goals is to have the company double in size by 2025. Neneng knows that the people of Accenture Indonesia are the most crucial component of achieving this goal.
“It is very important to make sure that our people engage with the company,” said Neneng. “The best way to improve value for our clients would be to first help our employees grow.”
While there were certainly challenges to progressing in a male-dominated company, Neneng finds that the biggest challenges come from our own selves. The common misconception that only men should be proactively working towards higher-ranked positions could very well be the root of the imbalance in the workplace.
The stigma that women should not be proactively seeking out opportunities to advance their careers is one that holds many back in the workplace. Neneng believes that networking can be the key ingredient to altering this imbalance. Networking offers an abundance of learning opportunities, the widening of one’s horizons, and provides new perspectives—all valuable experiences that can move one’s career forward.
Neneng attributes a large part of her success to her eagerness to learn from people of all backgrounds. Neneng has always been a very social person, ever since her early days at Accenture Indonesia. She knew that there is always something new to learn, especially from those with different experiences. Even today, as head of the company, Neneng still has the same enthusiasm when it comes to interacting with people. Be it personal or professional questions, Neneng will take them all on.
During her time at Accenture Indonesia, the company has evolved significantly to become a very inclusive and diverse company. Today, more than 40 per cent of employees of Accenture Indonesia are women. Career progression is now based solely on individual performance, disregarding gender, and background.
Neneng measures success by the ability to complete goals. She sets high goals for herself whether it is in work or in life. Once set, she makes sure that she puts in her best efforts no matter how simple or complex the task. A positive attitude, even in times of failure, are important steps to achieving one’s goals. Ultimately, Neneng’s biggest goals are the betterment of Indonesia, and the empowerment of women in the workplace.
“You can easily tell that I am always most passionate when I’m talking about the ways in which we can help Indonesia improve,” said Neneng. “It makes me feel really good seeing the significant changes that businesses and government agencies have taken to be more creative and more inclusive.”
Neneng has a great desire for all women to be able to reach even higher levels of successes in the workplace. She believes that coaching and mentoring will be crucial to overcoming this inequality. Creating awareness, instilling confidence, and encouraging self-motivation will help propel more women to even greater success.
Overseeing Accenture’s multitude of professional services is no easy feat. One might wonder how the leader of a Fortune Global 500 Company unwinds from work. While it was difficult initially to get this information out of Neneng due to her devotion to talking about her work, we eventually coaxed it out of her. For Neneng, unwinding involves a very specific genre of entertainment:
“CSI, NCIS, Hawaii Five-O, Criminal Minds, Law and Order: SVU, and most recently, Wisdom of the Crowd,” listed Neneng excitedly. “FOX Crime is the place to be to unwind.”