Known for many years as a journalist and a branding expert, Ibu Linda Adimidjaja shares her experience that may help the businesses of many in Indonesia. It’s a one of its kind journey of somebody with a unique expertise like her.
Among the academics and professionals who attended the focus group discussions at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy just last year, there was a lady who was not only revered by the high ranking officials of the ministry but whose words were also sought upon by all of us.
Ibu Linda Adimidjaja stood out and clearly well-versed in food. Fearlessly she plunged into the heated discussions, bluntly speaking about the national’s current situation and the urgent need to improve our culinary world.
The government finally established the creative economy blue print that included Culinary among other vital subjects in the plan. It has now become a foundation for further development, relying heavily on what the incumbent regime will do next.
Months after the FGD, I was graced by an opportunity to visit Ibu Linda’s beautiful house on this verdant suburban, south of Jakarta. Upon finding out that I befriend a journalist who’s also at that time interviewing her, quickly we gathered and enjoyed that long awaited conversation.
Ibu Linda always welcomes everyone who would like to hear her two cents in fields of her expertise such as food, journalism, and marketing. Even so, she started it all as a bachelor of French literature first.
“Indecisive with what will I major in the uni, me and my father met a French tourist during one of our trips. His English was just sexy and I immediately wanted to learn French literature”, she reminisced and also credited for her father’s openness in regards to what she wish to achieve in her life.
Ten years of college was not a short time. It was commonly known that literature took the longest time to graduate, but not only that, Ibu Linda married at a tender age and took breaks in-between for her family as well.
Despite her unusual background with that degree, she owed her years of knowing food from her mother’s immense talents in the kitchen, as a journo for Femina and also with Nestle.
During her early years in Femina, she’s assigned from one section to another. Unable to find which part of the magazine that serves her skills best, she’s then assigned to write about interiors. “I was enjoying my part here so much and benefitted from my pastime back then when arranging my home for my parents parties”, excitingly she told us the story.
Not long after that, she’s assigned to head the culinary section of the magazine. “I was told to replace the previous editor who resigned for reasons unknown”, Ibu Linda said.
It was evident that without the need for any explanation, it became an assignment that will change her future forever.
Motivated with more responsibilities, she also made bold moves in Femina to bring the food section into prominence within the magazine.
“While Femina thrives from our recipe books, our bright journalists’ creativities were halted with so little portion about food in the magazine. I pushed the top brass with this idea and finally we got ourselves that much-deserved weekly column, all about food!” she said sharing the collective, monumental move for the magazine during her second tenure there as managing editor after some 16 years with Nestle in-between.
Meanwhile, her terms in Nestle gave her insights about consumer goods business. Her extensive experience were gained on not just by testing the recipes of various products but also at how to develop, brand, promote, and to deal with consumer complaints and inquiries.
Even now as she has reached her retirement age, she never stops traveling on behest of the government, such as the ministries of tourism, trade, and education, to help others in need.
“I travel so often to the countryside and help small scale businesses to promote their products in the best way possible”, she explained.
When she’s assigned for her provincial duties, she always bring a goodie bag filled with sophisticated product packages. “I teach everyone to always design their product appealingly and equipped it with detailed information. I told them that if they don’t do this, then consider your product left forsaken on some forgotten corner in a market”, she said bluntly but also giving the people she’s teaching to some values as well.
“If you can make it as attractive as possible, then you are more than ready to compete even with imported goods”, she continued.
Even with this, it is a long way to go. But guess what? Probably the local food product that you randomly see on the market was designed well because of one of her many good deeds. If you or anyone else like it and feel that everything’s getting better, then it’s a good sign that Indonesian products may be ready to compete in all out manner.
As we went to sleep, oftentimes anxiously thinking about what will happen in the future with our pride as a big nation, the concerted actions of people that came from many expertise are what that drives this country for a better tomorrow.
Ibu Linda Adimidjaja is one of them.
Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE April 2015 edition
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