Nurafina Suwadji, or Via, is the Secretary of the Board of Directors at PT SIG ASIA, a premium tuna processing company in Bitung. Via has been working for more than 3 years in the company, starting her career as a Trade Executive handling the marketing and sales of tuna products. After one year of having additional work assisting the Director, Via was promoted to become an Executive Secretary to the Board of Directors.
The responsibility of being a secretary goes beyond handling administrative tasks. Via also needs to assist the Director in trading, communicating with buyers, managing personnel, creating company regulations, and overseeing production. Via enjoys her work because she gets to meet many people from various fields and gain a lot of knowledge from them.
As a secretary, Via is often tasked with attending important meetings with government officials, corporate partners, and other organizations. “At first, I felt a little inferior, because I am just a secretary while other people in the room have high titles, sometimes director or VP.” Her deep knowledge about the company and the sector is key for Via to remain confident in those meetings, “Later, I realized that your position or gender does not matter in giving a contribution, but your knowledge does. Sometimes our own perceptions become a barrier in situations like this.”
At PT SIG ASIA, the number of female employees is more than the number of males, and most leadership positions are held by women. Via thinks that an equal and inclusive working environment is important and she believes that a person’s skills and capacity are more important than their gender or position.
From her role as a secretary, Via dreams big.
“I want to create a Women’s Forum as a way for women to share information. I think we can get different insights through this forum. At the moment, everything seems fine and we have no issue on gender equality but perhaps we are just not aware. I also want to help the male employees to understand so that they would become more sensitive about gender issues.”
With a positive attitude towards change, Via wants to show that women can have a successful career in this sector too. For her, the opportunity to make changes can start anywhere, “Wherever you are, if you want to make a better change, you can start from there.”
Photos: SecondMuse/Ina Saptiono
This story is a part of the Indonesian Women in Fisheries campaign, organized by SecondMuse and USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership, to increase public awareness of the importance of women’s role in the seafood sector. Seven inspiring women from Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia will be profiled throughout the campaign. Follow #IDwomeninfisheries on Instagram and Twitter to catch all the stories.