More highlights on TEDxJISSalon: Women in Leadership

Note: This is a continuation from the previous highlights of TEDxJISSalon: Women in Leadership where it is only about the panelists.

The first panel discussion was held by Erin McKee and Meilyn Tan regarding their balancing act in terms of responsibility of education and communication. An audience member asked, “What is the definition of having it all?” The answer was, “It depends. It depends on where your vision of success comes from. Don’t abandon having that vision of success when others tell you to do so. Instead, be driven from what others think because it should be you, making the decisions.”

Intersectionality is the idea that social identities intersect to create something different than its component identities. Kelley Akhiemokhali and Ramona Carter discussed intersectionality and the frameworks that might be missing from it. They engaged the audience members by providing them with small sticky notes and sharpies to everyone and let them share their thoughts on the intersectionality by sticking the notes on the wall.

When you hear the word hero, you would immediately think of a firefighter, lawyer or a male face. However, Step Vaessen and Robin Bush showed the audience their unexpected female heroes. Vaessen first spoke of Musdah Mulia; a fighter for LGBT rights, human rights, women’s rights and the first woman to get a PhD and be appointed research professor. Furthermore, of Rosita; she lost all her children in the Indian ocean tsunami and let go of her children physically when the waves came rushing. She had given up on life and had been living in a tent for quite a while, however she demanded that she got her house back. Afterwards, she helped young children and the families who were affected by the tsunami. They are examples of somebody who made the impossible, possible.

Bush spoke of her helper, Sukini, who helped raise her son and daughter, giving her children love and food when Bush couldn’t be there. Additionally, Vaessen spoke of her helper as well, Tini, who took care of her son. At four in the afternoon, Tini went to university until nine. Afterwards, she did her homework and wakes up at five everyday to do her homework again. She did this for four years, and the week before the salon, she graduated from her school.

Women in leadership does not always mean leadership in corporate positions, but staying strong in the face of adversity. A hero or a leader does not have to be high profile nor necessarily a man, it can be anybody, anywhere. Women are still facing many problems such as inequality, but change is possible. To go against conventions and expectations, to be yourself, that is the very basic core of everything.

This article was originally written by Nadine Zahiruddin and has been edited by Claudia Mak.

Highlights from TEDxJISSalon: Women in Leadership speakers

9am. Everyone is excited to see what they will be receiving after the salon. As more and more people entered the room, the more smiles were spread across their faces. Finally, the moment for the salon to begin; everyone took their seats on the grey sofas and the salon officially began with some introductory words by Sanghyeon Cheon.

The first speaker was Erin McKee, who spoke after watching a TED talk by Anne-Marie Slaughter which was called “Can we all “have it all”?” What stood out the most to the audience was when she said, “To all the women out there, you can be an amazing leader; that is available for you. You need to set your goals and work hard. But you have to decide, what is the most important right now? You have to make the choices but be happy with the consequences that you get.”

Mrs. McKee is the USAID Mission Director to Indonesia. She also has a daughter, Caitlin, in tenth grade. When her daughter was five years old, McKee was asked to go to Iraq alone and she chose to go. Her peers asked her, “how can you abandon your family?” She brought up the idea whether or not the same question would have been asked if her husband had gone? Currently, it is still very hard to see women in leadership, however, Erin McKee proved to be the epitome of having everything, a career all the while raising a family.

Often when you hear the word leader, there is often the notion of corporate and you think of someone with a business suit. However, Amy Smith offered the audience of the salon a different perspective of the leaders she has seen in her life. Smith is currently working on a project which documents ladies in Indonesian markets who are called buruh gendong; these ladies are often unseen. These ladies carry 60+ kilos on their back everyday to provide for their families. Through her project, Smith conveys that you don’t have to be corporate to be a leader and that there are often leaders in the world that go unseen.

Vivian Ng, the first female student council president at JIS in a decade, spoke about how internal factors such as lack of confidence, the sacrifices involved and the fear of imperfection are reasons why fewer girls take the lead in JIS student councils. She shared advice from her older sister, “Not believing in yourself will be your biggest regrets” and ended with a challenge for all of us to “Compliment at least one girl and tell her she’s doing good.”

It’s still very hard to see women in leadership, however, through the speakers in the salon, we are able to see through different lenses of different people a variety of women in leadership. The salon was held in anticipation of the main event: Crossing Paths in January 2018. 

Coming up: highlights from the Salon panel discussions.

This article was originally written by Yuna Kim and has been edited by Claudia Mak and Amit Khanna.

TEDxJIS Salon: Women in Leadership

The salon will be held on October 7, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This event promises to be a series of lively discussions about the experiences of the participants in leadership positions. Discussions will focus on girls in student council, the complex topic of intersectionality, and the “unexpected heroes” who demonstrate the crucial roles of women in crisis response.


Tim Carr

Recap on TEDxJIS: Frames Unframed

Sweaty palms, somber chatter, a coffee break. And then, the speakers took a deep breath and sat down on the grey chairs. The white light dimmed and the spotlight illuminated the signature red TED carpet, accompanied by the stringed fairy lights that draped against the walls of Jakarta Intercultural School’s Melati Theater on February 4th, 2017. Jaewon Sim, director of TEDxJIS, stood by the podium and opened the event with heartfelt words and a captivating voice.

“The theme “Frames Unframed” could not be any more relevant when in the last two years, we have witnessed so many cases of bigotry and the rise of divisive rhetoric. This conference is about encouraging the youth to think outside the box” said Jaewon SIm. “This is where we escape from our comfort zone for a while and learn to un-stereotype and tackle some of the big issues of our society from brand new perspectives. TEDxJIS is also about science, humanitarian aid and so many other topics, too. TEDxJIS Conferences have always been — and will always be — the platform for the free exchange of ideas of different disciplines, and the annual gathering for this city’s forward thinkers.”

The speakers of this conference ranged from current JIS students, alumni and teachers, along with other Jakarta locals who wished to provoke thought and highlight new perspectives towards stereotypical ideologies.

Kaashvi Sehgal – student, debater, humanitarian – opened her talk with the question: what does service mean to you? “The line between service and charity is blurred,” she said as audience members sat forward, captivated by her words and photographs of children on the powerpoint slide. She strode on the carpet with a smart black skirt. Embedded in her diction, Sehgal turns the spotlight on the social workers who do service for the sake of pity or self image; she redefines the meaning of service by encouraging volunteers to exert effort into doing service to change lives and achieve excellent objectives.

Most of the student speakers at the TEDxJIS conference were humanitarians and advocates for service. Once Sehgal stepped off the carpet and received an ovation, Sabrina Hartono stepped onto center stage. Her intricate words were laced with passion and experience, stunning audience members who sat at the edge of their seats. She began with three words: “everybody is selfish.” In her talk, Hartono talks about how a person’s selfishness can be beneficial towards the act of serving the community, in a sense that one can turn their selfishness into an act of kindness to help others; thus, she refocuses the mindsets of people and had them realize their mission. She also referred to her pilot project – Forgotten Voices – and even sold her books (written in both English and Bahasa Indonesia) after the conference.

Besides service, TEDxJIS featured speakers like Prithika Madhavan, a former JIS alumnus who is a user experience designer at IBM. She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear before talking about breaking out of the oppressive society that forces individuals to conform. Cameras huddled around the carpet and captured her in her black dress. Her speech prompts individuals to “un-frame [their] lives to make themselves happy” instead of simply remaining by the public norm that defines the extent of success.

“I want to thank all of you for your continued support of our program. While I will be passing on the role of leading our conferences to the rest of our team, this won’t be the end of my participation in the TEDx program for sure. I believe that my experience in leading the TEDxJIS team will act as the foundation as I continue to take part in the TEDx program in university”, says Jaewon Sim.

“I have been lucky enough to work as the Director of our organization for the last four years. Looking back at 2014’s inaugural TEDxJIS conference (which I believe, was the first ever TEDx event to be held by an international school in Indonesia), so much has changed.”

“We started off with 20 people in the audience and have grown to have a full seating of a 100 attendees. I do believe that TEDxJIS has become an integral part of life at JIS and it has taken so much effort — from all of us in the TEDxJIS team — to bring our organization to where we are now. We all know that it takes a village to pull off a TEDx event.”

“Our team has successfully created a platform, a series of premier conferences, where Jakarta’s forward thinkers can gather to share their Ideas Worth Spreading. So for that I thank the committee. It was wonderful to work with you for the past year to prepare for this conference.”

The director of TEDxJIS Conferences, Jaewon Sim, will be graduating from Jakarta Intercultural School in May 2017.

This article was originally written by Natasha Sondakh and has been edited by Jaewon Sim and Dhiraj Narula.