Alpha JWC Ventures held our latest round of Alpha Leader Series, a quarterly event to discuss exciting topics in the tech industry, on Saturday. This time, the Firm put females under the spotlight, taking ‘Alpha Female: How We Tech Up’ as the title.

The event featured four of the brightest minds in tech, all females, to share their insight and knowledge as ladybosses in the tech industry: Grace Natalia (Co-Founder of AsmaraKu), Dayu Dara Permata (SVP GO-JEK, Head of GO-LIFE), Sonia Barquin (Partner, Digital Banking at McKinsey & Company), and Alyssa Maharani (Google Launchpad Accelerator Startup Success Manager). The four speakers shared their first-hand experience on getting the right support, natural challenges faced by women, self-branding, and maintaining work-life balance.

According to Sonia Barquin, women need the confidence to be proactive and have role models to excel at work.

“For example, only a small percent of women are willing to negotiate their salary or ask for promotion, though they have the capabilities to do so. You have to be comfortable with your capabilities and not be afraid to ask for more,” Sonia said. “In terms of role model, we see that there are not so many women in leadership. Leaders are mostly men, and not all women can relate to them. So, find yourself a female mentor, form a support group, or find someone close to reach out for discussion from time to time.”

But how could women lead in a male-dominated workplace, such as tech industry?

Dayu Dara said that you can start by thinking about self-branding.

“Branding is not what u tell others who you are, it’s about what people say about you when you leave the room,” she said. “For me, how I build my value proposition is by emphasizing some keywords about me and what I have done, being confident in my expertise. Then, you kinda wanna check what others say about me by talking to people you trust, they you work from there.”

Alyssa Maharani stressed the importance of getting the right support.

“Besides mentors and coaches, it’s also important to have sponsors. They’re your biggest fans who are willing to give compliment and fight for your promotion,” she said. “To find a sponsor, you have to work well with your manager, build trust, so they can and will help to push you forward. Working relationship is more data-based, so it’s easier to find your sponsor that way.”

Work/life balance was one of the hottest topic discussed, as for many, such thing is merely a myth. For Grace Natalia, who has just had a baby, work/life balance is attainable, even for working mums.

“I think it’s the biggest challenge as women. You are judged from how well you manage your family first, then your career — unlike men,” she said. “It’s important to find your own work/life balance because nobody can tell you what’s ‘balance’. Don’t compare yourself to other mothers or co-workers. Find your own balance and be okay with it.”

To conclude the event, the four speakers shared their one do’s and dont’s when it comes to excel as a woman in the tech industry.

“Do: be very clear about your commitment, things you can give up, and your limit. Be honest with yourself, think it through, and find your balance,” Sonia said.  “Don’t: put your own glass ceiling. Women are more questioning about their capabilities, don’t do it. Don’t restrain yourself to that non-existent glass ceiling.”

“Do: be brave, be specific, and attain rational distance,” said Dayu Dara. “Don’t believe in the ‘or’. You don’t have to choose— career or love, family or job. Expand your possibilities because you can achieve both’.

“Do find your own work/life balance, because comparing yourself to others will only make you miserable,” Grace said. “And don’t let people’s negativity bring you down. Sometimes the hardest negativity can be your biggest motivator.”

“Do build a support system early in your career, because as you move along, it’s getting harder to find one. Females are more likely to succeed when they have strong support system,” Alyssa said. “Don’t forget to speak up. I believe if you’re doing good job, people will listen to you and accept you.”

Alpha Leader Series is Alpha JWC Ventures’ quarterly event where tech enthusiasts and professionals gathered and discuss the latest development or exciting topics surrounding the industry through discussions and interactive activities. Alpha JWC Ventures believes that by holding regular Alpha Leader Series, the Firm can further contribute in the speedy process or creating a tech ecosystem that is inclusive, supportive, and innovative in Indonesia. The theme ‘Alpha Female: How We Tech Up’ was chosen to welcome the International Women’s Day that falls on Mar. 8 and as embodiment of the Firm’s mission to optimize tech sector’s role and impact as a catalyst for social change.

“The theme ‘Alpha Female: How We Tech Up’ is aligned with our Firm’s core belief to create a positive social impact, and we believe this particular Alpha Leaders Series delivers the learning that gender diversity is critical for any high performing organization; hence all of us need to play a role to ensure that more women take on the leadership mantle.  This is supported by the fact that companies with higher proportions of women board directors outperform those with lower proportions by 53%, with a 42% higher return on sales and 66% higher return on invested capital,” said Alpha JWC Venture Co-Founder and Managing Director Will Ongkowidjaja.

“I am especially proud of the female leaders of Alpha JWC who have taken the lead of driving this initiative from conception into reality, bringing in an amazingly accomplished women panelist from Go-Jek, AsmaraKu, Google, and McKinsey to share their valuable insights. This particular Alpha Leaders Series is undoubtedly the best one yet, and I have personally learned a lot from these amazing panelists.”

The event was supported by and DealStreetAsia as media partners, and GO-LIFE and AsmaraKu as sponsors, with participation from Amazon Web Services, Sepulsa, Sale Stock and Modalku.

Read the coverage on Kompas, Brilio, Brilio (2), DailySocial, Kumparan, Kabarbisnis, Kompasiana, Kompasiana (2), LINEToday, Transonlinewatch, Keponews, Indotelko, and ANGIN.