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null Inside APP: Insights from APP Academy’s Ratnawati Helen Karoma

Inside APP: Insights from APP Academy’s Ratnawati Helen Karoma

At Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Sinar Mas, everyone has an equal opportunity to learn and grow. One of the divisions that takes a big part in supporting learning within the Company is APP Academy. We had the opportunity to get to know one of APP Academy members, Ratnawati Helen Karoma, who goes by "Helen". Let's take a look at Helen's perspective on developing maximum potential in the professional world!

How does your day at APP Academy look like?

Developing programs (training programs or other employee development activities), managing training execution, and managing trainees are among what I do on a daily basis at APP Academy. The training that I am responsible for is not limited to the main offices in Serpong or Thamrin, but also for all APP Sinar Mas’ business units and supply partners.

Currently, some of the programs have been running regularly so it only needs to be regulated in its execution. However, there are also many new programs that are ad-hoc/temporary in nature. For example, special development programs for supply partners, team building activities, etc.

How long have you been with APP Sinar Mas? What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?

I joined APP Sinar Mas in February 2020, which means that I have been part of the APP Sinar Mas family for more than 3 years. The interesting fact is, just 1 month after I joined, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and lockdown was declared nationwide. So, I had to work from home (WFH), which means I didn’t have much time to get to know and communicate directly with my colleagues.

In addition to the challenges from the pandemic, maintaining Company standards for programs in their designated areas is also challenging for me. Some programs are run by the team in a specific area by themselves, and usually each area has its own requests and requirements. To overcome this challenge, I implement a more intense communication. I also always look for a middle ground, and even if I have to compromise, I will find a way so that it does not affect the quality of the program.

How did you adapt to the work environment and culture at APP Sinar Mas?

It took me quite some time to adapt to the environment and culture at APP Sinar Mas and it is still ongoing up until now. One way for me to adapt is by asking questions. Make it a habit to ask things that you don't understand. This is how I learned to adjust, develop my perspective, and optimize my way of thinking.

What makes APP Academy special to you?

Helping and facilitating people, and then watching them progress and grow is satisfying, isn't it? These are the things that give me fulfillment in the professional world. In addition, the scope of my work at APP Academy has given me the opportunity to connect with people from a wide range of backgrounds.

I find it very interesting to communicate with people who have different characters. Because of this, the team at APP Academy needs to be more creative and comprehensive in analyzing development needs based on our audience so that the program can benefit both the participants and the company.

The scope of work and the interesting dynamics of the job are what make APP Academy special for me. Of course, the people involved also contribute to make my daily life more colorful, from the APP Academy team members to the trainees I meet. There are many skills and knowledge that I can learn from the people around me during my career at APP Sinar Mas.

What is leadership to you and how do you implement it?

There are 3 things that I refer to when it comes to leadership: role model, character, and ability. A leader must be seen and be a role model to their team. That's why I always strive for the things I do to be exemplary, even in small things, such as telling the truth and showing up on time.

Meanwhile, character can be seen in the way a person carries themselves in social relationships and in their behavior. Working in People Development makes me try to see the good side of everyone and think positively. Our attitude can have an influence on a person's confidence as well as driving them to further improve themselves.

Of course, skills are important for a leader to have. If there is a problem, a superior is the first person their team will seek. Therefore, as a leader, I feel that I need to keep learning and refresh myself from time-to-time, especially around my industry/profession and, also soft skills.

How is your role as a woman in APP Academy?

As a woman, I try to see things from several perspectives and consider things more carefully: what are the benefits and what are the possible risks. Since I’m currently the only woman in the team, I notice that men tend to make decisions quickly and act right away. This is why I need to step in and balance them with careful consideration.

What motivates you and why?

Life will be meaningful if we can bring positive impact to others. This is what motivates me to keep working and creating. Living my daily life by analyzing, designing, and preparing things that benefit others keeps me excited to realize a better future.

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