In conjunction with Women’s History Month in March, we are featuring 10 power women in Indonesia who rock the business world. These smart women are known for their remarkable achievements in their fields, ranging from entrepreneurship to commerce, technology, fashion, the arts, beauty, and health to the governmental sector. Browse through our slides below to learn more from these inspirational and hard-working ladies.
Imelda Harsono joined her family business in 2003 right after earning her bachelor’s degree. She started from the bottom and became the youngest director at the age of 25. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors of Samator Group, Indonesia’s largest industrial gas-producing corporate group, where she works as Director of Legal, Governance, Risk and Compliance, and also as Executive Director of Aneka Gas Industri, Samator Group’s largest subsidiary company.
Imelda is also the co-founder and Managing Director of Samudera Biru Internasional, a renewable energy company seeking to facilitate wide-scale adoption of solar projects throughout Indonesia. Since 2012, Imelda has been an active member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a global network of more than 12,000 business owners in 170 chapters across 46 countries. She currently serves the Board of EO Indonesia East Chapter as Membership Chair and Chapter President Elect for the period of 2017-2018.
Imelda holds a BA in Political Science and Philosophy from the National University of Singapore, a Master of Management in Marketing Management from Universitas Pelita Harapan from which she graduated with cum laude honours, and a Master of Laws in International Commercial Law from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Sonita Lontoh is a multifaceted woman: from juggling jobs as the Vice President of Strategic Marketing in the Digital Grid business unit of Siemens in California to leading talks about the Internet of Things, this Silicon Valley executive is passionate about all things related to technology. Sonita is a co-founder and Chairman of the board of the Indonesian Diaspora Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering Indonesian diaspora worldwide and helping with Indonesian-American relations.
She is also a co-founder and Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Asia Technology Alliance (SVATA), which focuses on increasing global cross-collaborations between Silicon Valley and the technology and business communities in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia. In 2017, the Robert Chinn Foundation named Sonita as an inductee to the national Asian Hall of Fame, a US national honour to recognise individuals with Asian descent who have excelled in their professions.
Sonita earned her Master of Engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), her MBA in Strategy and Marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of California Berkeley. MIT has listed Sonita as one of its Notable Women Alumni.
Shinta Kamdani is the CEO of Sintesa Group, a conglomerate of 17 companies with interests in green energy, consumer and industrial products, property, and development. The company was founded in 1919 as a rubber plantation named Tigaraksa. Shinta joined the company in 1989 starting at the very bottom, and in 1999 she rebranded and unified her family business into Sintesa Group, a major consolidated holding company.
Shinta is the founder of Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN), the Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE), the Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD), Global Entrepreneurship Program Indonesia (GEPI), and is the Board Member of WWF International.
Shinta, who likes to dance in her free time, is also the Vice Chairwoman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) and the Employers’ Association of Indonesia. In 2017, she was awarded the Commander of the Polar Star by the King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, and the Commander of the Order of Leopold by the Belgian government. Shinta earned her BA from Barnard College of Columbia University New York and attended the Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School.
Art aficionado Renitasari Adrian serves as the Programme Director of Bakti Budaya Djarum Foundation and is also the mastermind behind Galeri Indonesia Kaya (GIK), a public art space located in Grand Indonesia. Since her appointment as Programme Director in 2007, she admitted that she fell in love with her job because it gives her opportunity to learn and explore the rich and diverse world of Indonesian arts and culture.
Renitasari, who is also known for her sophisticated fashion sense, is a co-host of IDENESIA, a programme on Metro TV since 2014, and a jury member of The Big Start Indonesia on blibli.com since 2016. Last year, she was awarded the Best Achiever in Professionals in 2017 Obsession Awards from Obsession Media Group. Renitasari received her Diploma in Public Relations from Stamford College in Singapore.
Dian Pelangi is a designer and digital influencer who is known for her modern take on Muslim fashion. As the founder of the eponymous Dian Pelangi brand, her collection comprises not only hijabs, but also batik, bridal wear, and a kids’ collection. Dian graduated from ESMOD Jakarta when she was just 18 and held her debut show during the Jakarta Fashion Week. Regarded as a pioneer among local Muslim fashion designers, Dian has showcased her work in London, Paris, Germany, Holland, Melbourne, Dubai, Cairo, Kuwait and Jordan. Dian is also listed as one of the BoF 500, a list by the famed Business of Fashion website.
Dian graduated from École Supérieur des Arts et Techniques de la Mode in Paris in 2008. In 2015, Dian took part in the Designer in Residence initiative at the London College of Fashion, where she advocated strongly for diversity in fashion, organising a hijab styling workshop as part of the British Council’s international fashion showcase.
Catharina Widjaja is the Director of PT Gajah Tunggal, the largest integrated tyre manufacturing company in Southeast Asia. Prior to joining the group, she worked for various multinational companies including at HSBC Indonesia as Country Treasurer and at Deutsche Bank Indonesia as Foreign Exchange Dealer. She is also the Managing Director at Alun Alun Indonesia, an Indonesian retail concept which promotes Indonesian products and artisans, under the retail group of MAP.
In 2016, Gajah Tunggal created a child-friendly public space in Jakarta, Taman Diponegoro, which is located across Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital (RSCM). Her company has placed strong importance on supporting sustainable development goals through care for the environment. Catharina received a Master of Science degree in Control Engineering from the University of Bradford and graduated in Mathematics and its Applications from Sheffield Polytechnic, and she holds an HND in Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Studies from Leeds Polytechnic, UK. She is also the Chairperson of the Indonesian Business Coalition on AIDS (IBCA).
Dr. Deby Vinski, MScAA, PhD has been dubbed “Indonesia’s Queen of Anti-Aging”. This graduate of Sam Ratulangi University, Manado, and Atma Jaya University, Jakarta, has devoted her life to medicine since 1990. In 1999, she established the Perfect Beauty Aesthetics and Anti-Aging Clinic and studied as an international hormone specialist in Brussels, Belgium, as well as taking an anti-ageing specialisation at WOSAAM in Paris, France.
Presently, she is president of the Institute of Aesthetics & Anti-Ageing Medicine, Director of the Perfect Anti-Aging Clinic, and PR Executive of the Indonesian Anti-Ageing Society. In 2017, she was bestowed the title “Sri Ratu Nilasari Saraswati”, which is the highest title from His Royal Highness Anak Agung Ngurah Ugrasena from the Buleleng Kingdom in Bali for her influence and assistance for the sake of preservation of cultural arts and traditions of the palaces in the archipelago.
Neneng Goenadi serves as the Country Managing Director of Accenture Indonesia, and she is the first woman to occupy this prestigious position. Neneng has been working in Accenture since 1990, after she graduated from her MBA degree in finance from Cleveland State University in the US.
Neneng, who is a global member of CEO Advisory Committee, is also involved as the Head of Inclusion and Diversity Asia Pacific for resources industry and Head of Human Capital and Diversity ASEAN which puts a great attention to female employees, handicapped people and gender equality. Under Neneng’s leadership, there is also a Women Mentoring Program, which starts by selecting 20 female students from top universities. They will be taught by Accenture team, including Neneng, on the tips and tricks for their careers. This program has run for four years, as a part to commemorate International Women's Day.
Grace Tahir is the CEO and co-founder of Medico.id, and also a member of Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN). Although born into a wealthy family, Grace is an entrepreneur at heart. After her first start-up, Bibbycam, shut down, Grace went on to create Dokter.id, an online health portal that delivers health news along with free online health consultations. Knowing that most Indonesians own smartphones, she wants everyone to have equal access to healthcare and information, so she created a tele-health platform to connect patients with doctors. For her second health-tech project, she created Medico.id, a healthcare management system which is SaaS-based (Software as a Services) that is still in the development stage.
Susi Pudjiastuti serves as Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries under President Joko Widodo’s 2014-2019 Working Cabinet. Aside from her governmental role, she is also the owner of PT ASI Pudjiastuti Marine Product, a seafood export company, and PT ASI Pudjiastuti Aviation, which operates Susi Air charter airline. Pictured as a “Superwoman”, Susi has aggressively protected her nation’s marine ecosystem by targeting the pirate fishing operations of foreign fleets. She has courageously led the blowing up and sinking of more than 200 illegal fishing boats caught poaching in the seas of Indonesia.
In 2017, she received several accolades, namely Excellence in National Stewardship in Peter Benchley Ocean Awards, Seafood Champion Award from Seaweb Seafood Summit, the BBC 100 Women list, and a Doctor Honoris Causa title from Sepuluh November Institute of Technology in Surabaya. She also recently received the Srikandi Award 2018 with the other seven inspiring female figures in Indonesia.