The Thank You Note #1

Hello and happy new year! Can’t believe how fast time flies. Seemed like it was just yesterday I stood in front of my closet, overanalyzing what should I wear for my first job interview for an internship in 2010. I almost didn’t realize how far I’ve come from that moment being very clueless of what I can be in this industry. Looking back, there are a lot of people that has helped me and made me who I am today.  This time of the year has brought a mixed feelings for me that made me come to a simple resolution for 2017, to be more grateful in life. So I decided to have series of posts about people in my life that has helped me come this far in terms of work life. This first post I dedicate for the first two people who helped me get a jump start in my career.

Gracia Cassandra.

Sandra was my senior in college who informed me about an internship opportunity at my first workplace, Weber Shandwick. In the beginning of 2011, I got accepted as an intern at Weber Shandwick. At first I was totally clueless about what an intern should do and (maybe) like many other interns out there, I was afraid to ask. Then Sandra started to assign me to do some work and told me that I need to contribute more to what I do instead of just doing as l told to do. This is the moment where I realize that this isn’t just work, but it’s about continuously improving and innovating. From then on, I always look around and see how l can do things better, more interesting, to give an edge to my work.

The second life changing moment I got when I was Sandra’s intern was when she ‘left’ me alone to go and mingle with the journalists at a client’s media event. FYI, before I joined Weber Shandwick, I was a totally an introvert and shy person. Back then, there is no such thing in my dictionary to greet or have a conversation with a total stranger.

So, Me and Sandra was having a conversation with a group of journalist that I barely knew. All of the sudden Sandra was gone and I was in a group of people that I’ve just met. It was definitely a horrifying moment for an introvert person. Seconds later, Sandra came back and whispered to me, “Stay here and mingle with them. Be friends with them. You’ll learn a lot.” So I decided to stay and push myself.

Now I look back to that moment, I realize that I won’t be here today if back then I decided to run scared.

There are plenty of other great experience I’ve learned from her that has made me who I am today. And she’s also the reason I was able to land my first job at one of the coolest PR agency in the country.

Next one.

Djohansyah Saleh (Johnny).

He’s the man behind Weber Shandwick Indonesia.

About a month after I finished my internship, Sandra asked me what I want to do next. In a second without a doubt I answered, “I want to work here.” Then she said, “Ok, I’ll let Johnny know and we’ll see.”

Days after that, Johnny called me to his room, where he offered me the job. Long story short, my first day at Weber Shandwick was in December 2011, months before I graduate college. I was happy beyond words.

The part where I’m most thankful to Johnny is about the opportunities that he has given me. The opportunity and trust to be part of Weber Shandwick family, to be involved in lots of assignment where usually only involves the more senior team member, for all the conversation and discussion that allows me to have better insights about our line of work.

In 2013, Weber Shandwick was invited for a client pitch. The team who was involved in this pitch was me and three senior person, but me and one other person was the main team member who are responsible for the proposal development. At that time, this other person was fairly new to the PR agency industry so he was still trying to have a better understanding of how things work. So that leave me with a huge responsibility.

It was definitely a struggling moment for me. I came up with lots of ideas that was questioned a lot by Johnny. To be honest, Johnny was really tough to both of us (note: one person resigned in the middle of the pitch and the other person was heavily involved on another project). But this moment has taught me a lot of things that in the end gave me the opportunity to continuously hone my skills of creative and critical thinking. And also, how to work more effectively (read: to finish a job with high quality result in a short amount of time. HAHA).

Through endless of developing hundreds of strategic communications proposal for new business pitch, I was given the opportunity to work directly with Johnny, experienced and learned to see things in different perspective, in a bigger picture.

Personally, I think Johnny was also one of the reason that most people never guessed my age correctly. About 80% of the people who’ve just met me usually guessed that I’m at least five years older than my actual age. LOL.

I feel extremely blessed to have these two people in my early career. I can’t ask to have a better mentor. Thank you Sandra and Johnny.

PS. I definitely have photos with both of them somewhere inside my phone gallery, I’ll update this post with more pictures as soon as I found them.

So who are the people who’s been a huge part of your career life? Leave a comment below and click subscribe to my blog to see other inspiring people in my career!

Click here to see the post about Weber Shandwick being my version of The Best Place to Work!

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