Imelda Adhisaputra: Taking on a New Challenge

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SHE has a classy appearance but is down to earth. She talks in a diplomatic way and is enjoyable to converse with. This is the general image of Imelda Adhisaputra, corporate affairs director of Intel Corporation. She acquired this prestigious position at the major international company through hard work.  

At the start of her career, she dreamed of working in the environmental sector. There are only a handful of professional women working in that field. Imelda was not the type to work behind a desk and had always aspired to do something useful for the environment.   Imelda, the elder of two children, was born in Bandung on July 11, 1970 and graduated as a bachelor of science in civil and environmental engineering from Seattle University.

She also earned her master’s degree in the same field at Tufts University. Imelda initially chose to work in the oil, gas and mining sector so that she could deal with environmental problems. “I just love the environment and wanted to work in that field,” said Imelda.  

In 1992, she joined Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories, Richland, Washington, US, where she worked for a year. Then she joined Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as an environmental assistant. She then decided to return to her home country. In Indonesia, she joined PT Freeport Indonesia as an environmental engineer. Her career took off at this company, with her last Freeport position being senior environmental engineer.  

However, her ambitions kept her moving. After four years, she joined Newmont in 2000. She started out as assistant manager of environmental affairs and over the next six years climbed her way up the career ladder to the position of manager of environmental affairs and compliance. In early 2008, Imelda moved to PT Indika Energy as vice president of environmental and external affairs.  

Imelda is indeed experienced in the oil, gas and mining business, especially in external affairs by being a facilitator between the company and the government. However, a new challenge soon appeared. Early this year she accepted the challenge by taking up the position of corporate affairs director at Intel Corporation.

“I love challenges. I have mastered the mining business inside out. Now I have found a new business challenge, the world of IT. It is full of challenges and mystery. The IT world is always evolving or on the move and one has to follow carefully. Therein lies the challenge. Today, human life is inseparable from the IT world. One can perhaps safely say it is an inseparable part of human survival,” explained Imelda.  

Imelda acknowledged that she is in a transitional period from the mining business to the IT sector. Although she holds a similar position, external affairs, it offers new experiences. “Both sectors are equally difficult. While during my days in mining I had to maintain good relations with government people, now I have to maintain equally good relations with lots of companies that work with us or for us. In short, I have to convince them about the benefits of our programs and policies and communicate the programs and policies effectively,” she said.  

Actually, she continued, the core implementation is similar as the difference only lies in the kind of business she is now in. Difficulties often arise when we cannot convey the wishes or thoughts of our foreign or global bosses, she said. That’s why external affairs play an important role.  

She always dreamed of becoming a skillful facilitator to create mutually beneficial relations for both parties, the company and the government. One method, she said, is through corporate social responsibility. “Intel cooperates with the Education Ministry to train teachers and enhance their IT knowledge and skills,” she said.  

No one at Intel doubts her ability to maintain good relations with the government or external parties as she has had years of experience. “Here at Intel, I do my best to make the government and the public aware of Intel’s policies and so forth and what Intel can actually do for human life. The major impediments are regulations as there are so many that are not clear in their application or implementation. The next difficulty comes from the fact that there are not enough state funds for the ITC (information, communication, technology) sector,” she stressed.

As a professional worker, Imelda has a strong will and a high spirit. She never gives up before she attains her goal. She also wants to prove that women are just as good as men in any field. “I always have a target, but to reach the target one has to love one’s work. So, turn your job into a hobby, not a burden. To do my job, I have to know everything inside out, including the technical aspects, and I have to know and provide the best solutions,” she said.  

When one holds a high position, one’s family is often sacrificed as they are given less of one’s time. But Imelda regards the sacrifice as part of the job. “My profession is highly mobile. The most important thing is to make it easy for my family, business partners and colleagues to contact me. Regarding work, I must say I can do it almost anywhere; I don’t necessarily have to be at the office. I can work from home if need be. In fact, one has to be available 24 hours a day, its not the conventional 9 to 5 work routine,” said Imelda.  

Imelda, who loves playing golf, said she often conducts teleconferences in her work. “Nowadays, we can do all these things in the most practical, effective and flexible way due to the advances in IT,” she concluded. (Iwan Suci Jatmiko)  

The Jakarta Post, April 08, 2009

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