Being a tech leader in Southeast Asia is a tough and competitive position – especially being a female lead given the gender disparity in the industry. Part of Tech Collective’s mission over the years has been to shine a light on the diversity in the industry and highlight those making waves in their field.

With this in mind, we had a chance to speak to Isabella Kusumawati, the Vice President & Managing Director for Southeast Asia at SUSE, and boasts 17 years of success in sales management, including new market and business development for top tech companies such as Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft. She is an award-winning salesperson and also an active member of the Business Women Network. Isabella is also the local ambassador for SUSE’s Women in Technology (WIT) for Asia Pacific Japan and Greater China. SUSE is perhaps best known for its Linux-based operating system and a global technology leader in the space.

This section is aimed at better understanding her journey and how she plans to make her mark on the tech industry in Southeast Asia.

We speak to RS Components’ Eileen Yap about her journey in the tech industry

Her entrepreneurial journey started at a young age when at 14 she set up a trading business at her parents’ home and carried on from there.

If you can’t find Isabella in the office, she is likely practising yoga or watching historical documentaries. Here is what she had to share.

Sell us your company/service in 300 words

With 28 years of leadership in true open-source, SUSE is the only independent open-source company with the biggest communities in the world. Working with over 5,000 global partners, with more than 20K Certified Systems and more than 10K certified applications, SUSE propels enterprises ahead of the pack by enabling enterprises to innovate everywhere.

SUSE helps business to build a robust foundation in the modern IT landscape by:

  • Simplifying and optimizing existing IT environments
  • Modernizing applications and infrastructure to prepare for the future computing world
  • Accelerating and scaling through digitization

SUSE has solutions to power your hybrid cloud IT architecture that gives you consistent, reliable, secure operations of business-critical workloads on-premises and in the cloud. SUSE also enables cloud-native transformation by harnessing the power of containers and Kubernetes to help you innovate faster and keep up with the changing demands of your business. And as edge computing is becoming a key pillar in customer-centric digital transformation strategy, SUSE makes IT operations at the edge possible anywhere with the highest level of security, safety and compliance. 

SUSE also has a support team available 24×7 whenever you need us. With more than 25 years of open source experience, we provide deep technical expertise to help you quickly troubleshoot issues. And finally, you can be assured that we will be with you every step of the way; SUSE support is transparent, proactive and honest. At SUSE, we are obsessed with our customers success. We want you to be an innovation hero for your customers.

What is stopping you from having the largest company in the world?

To be honest, it is not about racing to be the largest company but about delivering our value, passion and commitment to our customers, employees, partners and community in everything that we do. To be successful doesn’t mean that we will be the biggest company in the world. For me, success means helping others to be successful as well.

We should remember why we are here, our vision and mission. Our vision is to be the leading, most innovative and trusted partner in providing true open source technologies for the enterprise to simplify, modernize and accelerate traditional, cloud and edge solutions. 

We love to become human even with every limitation that we have and that is the beauty of the collaboration while embracing the uniqueness of each of individual, show mutual respect and teamwork. I believe that everyone is actually good at something, regardless of who they are, what is their background, education, etc. Those are not defining the future, but the attitude is. Be kind, be humble, and living our values every day. We call it as LOVE – Living Our Values Everyday.

LOVE has been created by our employees, and they sit at the heart of our culture representing SUSE.

If you could change one thing about the tech industry in Southeast Asia, what would it be?

Providing more support and equal opportunities for women in technology and leadership. And to be honest, it is not only in the tech industry.

There is a lot of tradition that restricted women’s rights to have a higher career than a man. Many perceptions exist that “this a is man’s world” in certain industries. It has always been my goal to become an aspirational leader who brings an impact to communities and societies.

 I would like to say this to all the women in the world, to encourage them to the fact that they are equally precious, smart, and intelligent. Dare to dream big. Work hard to achieve it. Think big, dream as high as you can, and nothing can stop you to reach your dreams.

This has motivated me to become a local ambassador for SUSE Women in Tech (WIT) for Asia Pacific Japan and Greater China.

Name one person in the region, who is making a difference in technology?

There are so many people who caught my attention, especially in becoming a trendsetter in Southeast Asia or Asia. One company that caught my attention is the GOJEK team, as I believe success belongs to the team not only one person.

They founded GOJEK in 2010 as a call centre for bike taxis (or ojek in Indonesian) in Jakarta, the capital city in Indonesia, which is famous for their traffic jams especially during the peak hours and in the CBD area. The value propositions that GOJEK offered is to provide efficiency and a trusted network to get credible drivers and establish a standard pricing mechanism. They launched many services outside of bike taxis on their platform which easy to use and establishing such a big network effect. Enormous investment from many companies has helped evolve GOJEK into this gigantic business network and even expanding their business outside Indonesia. This has allowed them to have a lot of impact, create a life-changing income stream for many to support Indonesians.

What would you want people to remember you for, 100 years from now?

I would like to be remembered for creating fair and life-changing income job opportunities that impact many people, especially those who are in need. As well as someone who contributes to communities and societies to create a better world for children and the younger generations to come.

Sponsored content