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Nicky Widyawati proves women can succeed even wearing headscarves in a male-dominated world

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One name stands out in the busy world of Indonesian business: Nicke Widyawati. The CEO, President, and Director of PT Pertamina, the massive state-owned oil and gas company in Indonesia, is Nicke Widyawati. Having over 30,000 workers and an astounding $58.85 billion in revenue per year, Nicke is a major player in the energy industry. It is acknowledged that Nicke Widyawati is one of Indonesia’s main innovators. Her incredible journey—which included shattering gender stereotypes in industries with a preponderance of men and propelling Pertamina to new heights—makes her an inspiration to aspirant leaders everywhere. Nicke’s Tale is a brilliant illustration of business achievement combined with a commitment to improving the world. Widyawati has gained notoriety, particularly in the oil and gas sector. 

Nicke Widyawati’s story demonstrates her tenacity and willpower. She broke down barriers with her unwavering dedication as she negotiated the difficulties of a male-dominated industry. She was born on December 25, 1967, in Tasikmalaya, West Java. Nicke started a remarkable career after graduating from SMAN 1 Tasikmalaya and the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in 1991. She continued her studies, graduating from Padjadjaran University in 2009 with a master’s in business law.

Pioneering in Male-Dominated Sectors

Upon entering the traditionally male-dominated fields of engineering, construction, and electricity, Widyawati broke down barriers based on gender. Her early work at PT Rekayasa Industri and later positions demonstrated her skill and perseverance. Nicke’s journey in these challenging environments showcased her ability to thrive and lead in traditionally male-centric industries. As she advanced through the ranks, she proved to be competent and dedicated to dispelling stereotypes. Her impact as President and Director of Pertamina goes beyond business accomplishments; she is a trailblazer for women who want to enter unorthodox fields. Her story encourages women to pursue careers in industries where they are underrepresented. Beyond her career accomplishments, Nicke Widyawati has made a significant contribution to a more diverse and inclusive business environment. 

Banking and Leadership Roles

When Widyawati was 21, she started working in banking at Bank Duta while still an undergraduate student. As she ascended to different leadership roles, most notably Vice President of PT Rekayasa Industri’s Corporate Strategy Unit (CSU), her journey continued. Nicke was a successful employee at CSU and demonstrated great managerial and strategic thinking while influencing PT Rekayasa Industri’s strategic direction. Her adeptness in navigating intricate corporate environments and her ability to formulate pivotal strategies distinguished her as a burgeoning leader within the Indonesian business community.

Dynamic Career at Mega Eltra

Widyawati joined PT Mega Eltra as president and director after a crucial change in her career. This represented a pivotal point in her career and demonstrated her versatility in a range of fields. At PT Mega Eltra, Widyawati led strategic initiatives that bolstered the company’s expansion and cemented her standing as a capable leader. Her innovative thinking and transformative leadership style were instrumental in making PT Mega Eltra a prominent force in the industry.

Strategic Role at PLN

Widyawati’s role as Director of Strategic Procurement 1 at PT PLN in 2014 cemented her standing as a strategic thinker in the energy industry. During her time at PT PLN, she was involved in innovative projects and was instrumental in streamlining procurement procedures and developing strategic alliances. The strategic astuteness of Widyawati greatly enhanced PT PLN’s adaptability and efficiency in the ever-changing energy market.

Pertamina Stint: A Rising Star

Widyawati quickly rose through the ranks after returning to Pertamina in 2017. She handled the intricacies of Indonesia’s state-owned businesses with grace, moving from Director of Human Resources to acting President Director. Her outstanding leadership during this time was acknowledged on a global scale, resulting in her inclusion in Fortune’s 100 Most Powerful Women and Forbes’ 100 Most Influential Women lists, underscoring her outstanding contribution to the energy industry.

Presidential Appointment

In a historic move, President Joko Widodo named Widyawati President and Director of Pertamina in 2018, recognizing her ability to lead an organization that generates over $54.6 billion in revenue annually. Not only has she led Pertamina to financial success, but she has also made significant contributions to the energy industry. This honor is a testament to the enormous progress she made in changing and strengthening Pertamina’s standing internationally.

Recognition and Awards

In addition to her achievements in the workplace, Nicke Widyawati has a global impact. As President, Director, and CEO of Pertamina, she led the company’s efforts toward sustainable development, winning awards like the Bintang Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award in 2023. The excellent leadership of Widyawati has not gone unnoticed. Honors like the Indonesian Women’s Award and Fortune’s designation of her as one of the World’s Most Powerful Women in 2018 and 2021 bear witness to her influence.

Personal Style and Feminine Leadership

Amidst the corporate rigidity, Widyawati stands out with her vibrant attire and casual batik shirts—a deliberate choice to express her femininity in a male-dominated environment. This distinctive personal style not only challenges traditional norms but also fosters an inclusive workplace culture, encouraging authenticity and diversity within Pertamina’s leadership. With the PERTIWI Community, she aims to boost women’s representation in various positions and functions within Pertamina beyond fashion.

G20 Leadership and Global Recognition

The impact of Widyawati went beyond business domains. During Indonesia’s presidency in 2022, she took on the position of acting chair of the G20’s energy task force and made noteworthy contributions to the recommendations regarding sustainable energy. She established herself as a major player in forming policy for a more sustainable and energy-efficient future thanks to her dynamic leadership in this crucial international role, which attracted attention from all over the world. 

Commitment to Sustainable Development

Widyawati’s leadership at Pertamina demonstrates her dedication to sustainable development. She supports environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices, which are in line with the SDGs. Under her direction, Pertamina has created a thorough roadmap for the energy transition and won important accolades like “Best Industry Marketing Champion 2023” for its continuous dedication to sustainability. Beyond the corporate world, Widyawati actively engages with academic institutions such as Universitas Pertamina, highlighting the significance of equipping graduates with skills related to sustainability.

International Accolades

International accolades, including the Aramco Trading New Silk Road award and the 2021 Asia-Pacific Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) award, underscore Widyawati’s global influence. These prestigious honors not only highlight her exceptional leadership but also affirm her commitment to fostering gender equality and sustainable business practices, making her a recognized force on the international stage.

Conclusion

The life of Nicke Widyawati embodies fortitude, vision, and a dedication to shattering stereotypes. Widyawati’s journey from modest beginnings in Tasikmalaya to recognition on Forbes’ international platform encourages aspirational leaders, particularly women, to follow their dreams without fear. 

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