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null Irmai Sastri Arsih: Women Has the Right to Hone Their Skills and Keep Improving

Irmai Sastri Arsih: Women Has the Right to Hone Their Skills and Keep Improving

In the spirit of commemorating International Women’s Day, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Sinar Mas highlights three inspiring women who have been passionately contributing in their roles. Irmai Sastri Arsih, a mother who graduated from law faculty in Universitas Islam Riau, is now working as a Public Affairs & CSR in PT IKPP Perawang Mill. She shared her thoughts about working women and the way women improving their skills.

You are working for about 12 years now. Can you tell us when was the first time you realized you were interested in working in this role?

It all started when I was in college. We as law students learned how to analyze, socialize, and maintain relations with others, which made me think that dealing with people is exciting. It is awesome that I can learn every single day about about people with various characters and backgrounds. I have been working in this role since I joined APP. At first, when my boss interviewed me, he told me about the job scope  and I was interested. Until today, I think collaborating and working with a lot of people is my everyday job

Wow, you are a very lucky one that you can love your job that much. Please tell us more about the work dynamics in your team!

For now, there are six people in total and I am the only woman in the team. We are a teamwork and respecting each other’s work and responsibilities. My task specifically managing and orchestrating an effective working system. Parallel, doing my job take the role of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Public Affairs, aside from this, I’m also handling campus relations. The roles are actually similar, I have to be able to select the right external party we can collaborate with, corporate planning about social responsibility and providing assistance for the people surroundings, and so on. Once the company agree to collaborate, I need to maintain the relationship between us.

Your role in the team is indeed very crucial, isn’t it? What are the challenges that usually happened? How do you overcome all of that?

Nothing is so certain about dealing with people, as well as my job. Thus, I have to keep learning and unlocking new skills to be able to face people with all of their unique characteristics. Luckily, my company is open to all opportunities. I realized it is important to keep learning, so I often had discussions with my teammates as well as my management level and leaders, who are willing to help me when I face any difficulties. Besides, I also learn from younger generations, students I met at the events, or other opportunities. I got a lot of insights from them as well. I am very grateful that I can do my maximum working here, able to get new knowledge and advice as many as possible from the experts. Those are the reason I can figure out my problem and find the solution my team needs.

You are very productive working every day. However, there are people out there who still underestimate a working woman. For example, they think women cannot be equal to men, or women should only take care of the household. What do you think about this?

Well, I must say I am lucky and grateful that since I started to work, I didn’t ever face this kind of challenge. My coworkers and leaders respect me as a woman. I know those perspectives still remain out loud, but I think women are also capable of many things and do what we want to do. Our part is to prove that we can make it happen. We have to show them that we are also able to compete. As long as we do well with our job and responsibility, aware that we need to keep improving our skills, I think we can together break the sigma.

So, the conclusion is it really all depends on how we see ourselves, right?

Yes, totally correct. As long as we believe in what we are doing, I believe we can get through every challenge. Of course, it is also important to have supportive people around that believe in our capability.

Who are those people and what kind of support do they give to you?

I am also a wife and mother of three. In my case, before I decided to get married, my husband is already aware that I love working. So, he already acknowledges it beforehand. Things are a bit different with my children, but I try to keep our communication going, and I continuously give them the understanding that I need to work so I can reach my dream. There was a time when I came home at midnight from an event, and of course, they didn’t like it and told me not to go to work. So, I told them that ‘Mommy go to work to buy you some toys hehe. My point is, I also have to be good at time management. Whenever I am not working and have free time, I give my full attention to them and focus on spending time with my family.

Is there any moment that you feel stuck and want to give up? If yes, what did you do to tackle that?

Honestly, I think the biggest challenge is myself. I often feel unsatisfied which drives me to always be better. I want to keep giving a positive impact on others, regardless of whether or not I get recognition. However, I am grateful to have a supportive working environment and team leader. They always encourage and remind me to never give up.

Your journey is remarkable because we can learn that there is no limit for a woman to work and be the best version of themselves. Do you have something to say to other women out there who read this?

Whoa, I am still learning a lot hehe maybe I can share from my perspective, that as a working woman you will definitely find challenges around you, including in family. However, as I mentioned before that the point is on how we give them understanding. We also have to prove that there is nothing wrong with working women and no need to be afraid. Women can still juggle the family and housework, even though we are still working. We also need to do great in our job and do it wholeheartedly. Lastly, we must keep the spirit, prove that we need to keep trying to achieve what we really want.

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