Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, the owner and chief executive officer of Indonesia’s PT Sintesa Group Tbk, comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, with a family business dynasty spanning a hundred years, and covering four industries – property, energy, industrial products and consumer products.
In 1999, Ms Kamdani’s father agreed to step down as the corporation’s top executive, allowing his daughter – then in her 30s – to take the driver’s seat. “1999 was a very tough time for a transformation process since Indonesia was just recovering from the financial crisis. I knew that we needed to enter into the integration stage of our company life cycle because our many businesses were being run with very little professional supervision. After arduous dialogue with my father, we finally agreed to establish Sintesa Group in 1999, with me taking the operating role, while my father sits as Chairman,” said the ACES Awards Woman Entrepreneur of the Year.
While Ms Kamdani has been fortunate enough to have studied at Harvard Business School, she asserts that her business knowledge is more than book learning. “I have been in sales since I was young. In junior high school, I sold books door-to-door for extra pocket money. During college holidays, I took internships at several MNCs just to learn about business.
“Growing up, my father was my role model. He is one of those old school businessmen who could make difficult decisions on little information and gut feeling. He is also a visionary, and since he is a very outgoing person and a good listener, he is able to get people on board with his ideas. From him, I learnt the importance of confidence and how difficult it was to be a good leader if one is unsure of oneself,” she says.
As far as the rewards of success go, the CEO said that it is always about the happiness. “There’s no point in working if you don’t find any happiness in it.
“Happiness is when I can help my country to become better. That is why I’m involved in many organisations and initiatives. My happiness also comes from seeing my friends and family happy. Family for me also extends beyond parental linkages.
“Sintesa Group is my family, and I will do whatever it takes to make it better and successful,” she asserted.
Originally published in The Business Times (Oct 08, 2019)