“YOU can achieve anything in life with the right attitude,” says Indayati Oetomo, a simple, soft-spoken lady who, despite being in her early 50s, truly does not look her age.
Warm and pleasant, this mother of two is the international director of John Robert Powers (JRP) Indonesia, which is part of an international franchise that offers acting and modelling classes, and also sets up auditions with agents for its clients.
From a struggling door-to-door encyclopaedia saleswoman, Indayati now supervises all five JRP offices in Indonesia. Surely, her words must carry some weight.
Prior to becoming a door-to-door saleswoman, Indayati was already knitting clothes and selling them for profit when she was just 12!
“My parents were not rich. We grew up the hard way. My parents taught me to be tough at a very young age. With the right attitude, you can achieve your dreams, they would tell me.”
Indayati was in Kuala Lumpur recently to oversee the setting up of the company’s latest expansion – JRP Kuala Lumpur – which will be launched today.
“After I got married, I stayed at home when I had myson. After a while, I decided to start selling encyclopaedias to earn extra money,” she told StarBiz.
Indayati had always been fascinated with the business world and, upon obtaining her MBA in Management, she worked as an accounts executive for a food and drink distribution company in Indonesia in 1984.
However, the business world was not all that Indayati hoped it would be.
“I learnt the hard way that in the business world, it was a ‘kill or be killed’ attitude that the business people practised. They lacked ethics and principles. It was all about profit, nothing more.
“They never cared about their customers or clients. It was all about them.”
Unhappy, Indayati quit her job, and set up a small business with a couple of friends in 1990, selling handicraft.
“Whenever I travelled, I enjoyed collecting handicraft souvenirs, and thought it was a good idea to start a business specialising in something I enjoyed doing as a hobby.”
Two years later in 1992, Indayati finally made the move to JRP as the Surabaya franchise’s international director.
“In John Robert Powers, I was in the line of education, educating my clients and working together with them to help them achieve their goals and dreams. It was no more a ‘kill or be killed’ business.”
Lacking any experience whatsoever on how to run the company, business continued to decline during Indayati’s first five months with the company.
This forced her to take a one-month sabbatical and enrol with JRP International’s corporate training facility in Boston.
“It was one month of hard work. It was winter, and the training was from 7am to 9pm everyday. I was also the only Indonesian alumni over there in Boston,” she said.
“But I wanted to learn, and become better. I wanted to improve the business at JRP back in Indonesia. I was hungry for knowledge, and that was why I went to Boston.”
Upon completing her training, Indayati returned to Indonesia with a vengeance.
“I was back with new blood,” she said with a chuckle.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today JRP has five branches in Indonesia and, at the helm of a truly dynamic woman, JRP has expanded to Malaysia.
“I felt the Malaysian economy was good. Malaysia, I felt, was always one step ahead of Indonesia, and always prepared to grow.
“I also found that it had a similar market to Indonesia, especially with the multicultural races.”
And, yes, the move to KL was her idea.
“Actually, there are five board members (for JRP Indonesia), so I still needed their approval to expand the business to Malaysia,” she said humbly.
Indayati has also employed her children to be a part of the business. Both her son and daughter are with her, and will be working at the KL branch.
“But I do not give them special treatment. I have given them jobs here (in KL) but they will have to prove themselves just like everyone else. They will have to work their way up the hard way,” she said firmly.
And does she have any advice for aspiring models who wish to enrol with JRP?
“I always tell them that if you want to change, it is all up to you. I will not guarantee that you will change. If you want to change, you will change. Even God cannot change you if you do not want to change.
“We work together, you (the client) and I. It’s all about attitude. With the right attitude, you can achieve anything.”
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