ON CAREER IN HUMAN RESOURCES
Finding the right candidate for a company is a lot like matchmaking. I had no experience in HR industry, nor did I have any plan in getting into this business, I was just simply helping out friends in need. I soon realized that making connections, helping people to find the company where they can best contribute their skillset, and helping companies meet the candidate who has what it takes to carry the company to greater success and shares the same passion and values, is something I can excel in.
Human Resource is a compelling business because it deals with career, one of the most important aspects of our lives. People not only want to put food on their table, they also need to feel passionate about their lives. No one can be truly happy if they practice a career without passion.
ON GENDER AND FINANCING
I feel very lucky that everything went very smoothly for us. We worked hard, we prepared ourselves, and we started fundraising before we really needed money. So there was no sense of desperation. We wanted to make sure that we aligned ourselves with company builders and VCs with whom we could work seamlessly to rapidly scale us to be the leader in the industry. That means being selective and choosing the best partner who believes in us, have aligned vision and think long term.
ON THE SUCCESS OF QERJA.COM
When I first started Qerja, I didn’t have much experience in tech business. I brought to the table my knowledge in HR based on years of working with so many talents and global class companies, and I was determined to build a one-stop career platform where we can be impactful in solving problems and answering questions people have regarding their career and self development.
Almost instantaneously, we had a huge following that supported us with hundreds of thousand user generated content. It’s as though the market had been waiting for something like this: a platform for professionals to share knowledge, salary and experiences. This strong user base support has enabled Qerja to be the leading career portal in Indonesia.
ON THE DEARTH OF FEMALE LEADERS IN ASIAN COMPANIES
In Asia there’s still more focus and pressure for women to marry and have children. In a large part of society in Indonesia, nurturing career and following passion is not something that is encouraged in women. There is this gender stereotype that a woman belongs at home, taking care of the husband, the children, and the household. While Western society have moved on from this “norm”, here in Indonesia it is still very common that a wife is asked to resign from her job once she becomes a mother. Parents are more proud of the daughter who gets married at 25 and is now a housewife rather than a daughter who is a successful career woman but still single at 35. It is even frowned upon when a wife’s career is more superior to that of the husband’s.
Having said all that, it is important to note that in Indonesia, we’ve had our first female president. America doesn’t even have that yet. It might be true that the women representation in top corporate position is low, however, among family businesses, it’s relatively high. Notwithstanding, I’ve come across my fair share of strong, beautiful and inspirational women who fight hard for their families and for causes they are passionate in.
ON GENDER AND LEADERSHIP
I put myself in other’s shoes, taking into consideration their background and interests. Some people say I talk too fast which is very true, so I try to slow down when I see that my views are not received well. In negotiation, I learned saying ‘No’ with a smile is more powerful than raising your voice. So perhaps that’s a woman’s nuance.
The role I have carved out for myself is predominantly based on the experiences that molded me into the woman I am today, my sheer determination and work ethic endowed by my Mother. What I bring to the table includes critical thinking from my diverse exposure and my contribution to the company ranges from mediating to fundraising and bringing the right talent on board. I personally don’t think these attributes are gender specific, but it’s uniquely out of my personality and value system.
ON PROMOTING LEADERSHIP POSITION IN INDONESIA
More education is always useful, and nowadays the millennial generation has so much information at their disposal so there is no stopping them, whether they are male or female, to get to where they want to be. It’s more about the grit and determination that sets apart wannabes with achievers.
It would also level the playing ground if women have assistance or a network system to help with traditional responsibilities such as to take care of children, elderly and household duties. I believe through time, open mindedness and exposure, with less talk and discrimination about women shouldering on traditional expectations, more women will carve out powerful roles in corporations, not just in their households.
Veronika Linardi speaking on stage at Tech in Asia Jakarta 2015. Photo Courtesy: Qerja
ON RISK TAKING
I take calculated risks. Sporadically from time to time, I go out on a limb and embark on new adventures. I go out of my comfort zone, accepting meetings with zero expectations, learn something new, and that’s where the magic happens. Every day, every single encounter is an opportunity.
The biggest risk that I have taken so far was taking the jump from being a professional to being an entrepreneur. After that, I took an even bigger risk by starting a second business where the stakes are higher and we are no longer competing locally but at a global level. I have never worked harder in my life. The experience thus far has been not only exhausting, but also thrilling and rewarding.
ON WORK LIFE BALANCE
I have many priorities and they all demand my time. Despite the strong image I project externally, I have to admit that sometimes I also get overwhelmed. My priorities change on a daily basis and it has a direct correlation to how I allocate time. In the midst of all the craziness, the more work I have to accomplish and the more stressed I get, the more I have to connect and re-charge with friends, but at the same time retreat into my personal bubble. I am also very fortunate to have a thin line separating work and play.
In my free time, I cherish quality time with my loved ones, indulge in simple pleasures including exercise, watching a movie, travel, and reading.
ON FUTURE CHALLENGES
I aspire to be a super leader who succeeds in scaling my companies to great heights, empowering my team in both their professional and personal development, while being able to achieve work-life and mind-body balance so that I maintain good health, positive attitude, and being spiritually and physically in my element.
Where do I see myself in five to ten years time? Motherhood and I want to be a better daughter, wife, boss, friend, mentor, and overall a better person.