Grace P. Wiroreno: Building Communication and Creating Synergy

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BEAUTIFUL, intelligent and understated is a good description of Grace Paramita Wiroreno. There are many interesting things about this light skinned woman, especially her current work. Although the electricity sector is dominated by males, this woman loves her job in this field.  

Grace said she became used to the masculine world in her childhood years. Born as the only daughter among three brothers with a father who was a naval officer, Grace had a strict and disciplined upbringing. So, it is no wonder that today she is working in a traditionally man’s world.  

“I have been a tomboy since my childhood years, so when other girls went to the mall to spend time I preferred boys’ and boy scouts’ games at the Pramuka Camping Ground in Cibubur,” she said, adding that she had been active in boy scouts’ activities since elementary school. Perhaps it was due to her tomboy ways that her parents sent her to a modeling school when she was at high school. She became Nana Krit’s student at Carrie Models and later became a model for H&R T-shirts.  

Grace said her tomboy attitude was a blessing as it enabled her to fit in with a challenging work situation. She works at PT Medco Power Indonesia, a company that operates and maintains electricity plants, as head of corporate relations and communications. PT Medco Power Indonesia also operates a power plant in Batam.  

Prior to obtaining the position of head of corporate relations and communications, Grace, who was born in Surabaya in 1974, was general manager at PT Medco Gajendra Power Services, which is a subsidiary of PT Medco Power Indonesia and also operates and maintains electricity plants.  

As the company keeps progressing and requires this skillful woman, Grace was placed in the corporate relations and communications division. So, here Grace, who has two children, was appointed head of corporate relations and communications. She said that in comparison with her previous work the current job is more feminine. “My current position is somehow softer, while I used to interact with many men, now it is more balanced. And so is my staff — there are both men and women,” said Grace.  

Her responsibilities in her current position are heavier as she has to go on site and check ongoing projects and build a corporate brand image as well as look for clients. She has to prepare head to head strategies to win tenders or bids. She has a number of methods to build good relations with her clients. First, good communication. Second, creating synergy and third, establishing professional and at the same time friendly relations. And last, frequent discussions to cover both sides of a situation or problem.  

Grace, who is the daughter of Navy Col. (ret) M A Sediono and M. Cecilia Vijajanti, strives to create a quality staff that works directly under her. “I always create situations that stimulate my staff to think and dare to make decisions. And I always make them participate in preparing every program. Usually I throw my initial ideas at them and they then make improvements,” said Grace when interviewed at her office at The Energy Building, on Jl. Jend. Sudirman, South Jakarta.   

This way Grace has quality staff members who are bold in making decisions in any given situation and they do not have to wait for further direction from her. Although she has been quite successful in her work Grace feels it is a pity that there are still many similar foreign companies dominating Indonesian energy resources.  

Grace said there are quite a number of aspects that enable foreign companies to overtake local ones in this sector, such as greater capital and technology. “We have to admit that their technology is far more superior, but it does not mean that we have to lose out to them and become incapable of managing our own energy resources. My company is solid proof of this,” she explained. Optimistically she said that one day soon local companies would turn into the masters here.  

Her educational background has nothing to do with electricity, but she is a graduate of public relations from the Jakarta Interstudy Institute (Lembaga Pendidikan InterStudi Jakarta) and she has a master’s in business administration from IBMEC Singapore. She studied management for a while at Gunadarma University, but did not finish. She has also joined various short courses for marketing research and English for business in San Diego, the US.   Grace came to know the electricity business when she was doing an internship with a contractor in Jakarta from 1994 until 1995. Her position as a marketing staff member gave her a wide network with state-owned corporations in the field of energy, government offices as well as multinational energy companies.  

As a professional worker, most of her time is consumed by her career, but she always makes time for her family. When she arrives home every evening after work she oversees her children in their studies. After that she works out a bit, does some work through the Internet and on her second novel. Her first novel, Sebuah Cerita Cinta (A story about love) is already available at bookstores.   

At first Grace did not think she could write a novel as she is not the type to pour out her emotions or feelings in writing. However, one day during a health check, she was approached by an elderly man — a total stranger — who chatted with her for quite some time. ‘The man advised me to write whenever I feel sad or something. I was surprised, because I was not feeling sad at all at the time,” reminisced Grace.  

However, the man’s words remained with her and led her to start a blog and write down her experiences. Now, she feels comfortable writing and composes poems as well as writes novels. “The poems in my blog are the foundation of my novel,” she said with a smile. (Faisal Chaniago)  

The Jakarta Post, February 03, 2010

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