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ARLP insights follow Indonesian leader on Fulbright journey

3 February 2021

The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation is fortunate to work with many inspiring leaders and experts overseas. Not only do they exchange valuable knowledge with our own leaders, representing often-connected industries and interests, but they regularly become friends, and a valuable part of the networks our body of alumni continue to call upon for advice and collaboration.

Febrina Prameswari is one such friend who has provided support to our Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) cohorts whose visits to Indonesia have spanned five years. Having recently been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, Febrina shares some reflections on the connection she has with the Foundation, and on her own leadership path.

Reflecting on my leadership journey, I have been very fortunate to cross paths with outstanding leaders from many different places and backgrounds, and learn from them. Spending a few months in the Australian outback in 2014 through the NTCA Indonesia Australia Pastoral Program, I was inspired by many young leaders along the cattle supply chain, and their huge contributions to their industry, families, and society. Moreover, this internship experience showed me that it is possible to be a woman leader in agriculture or in any non-mainstream operations, and to succeed and be passionate about what you do. I was also very lucky to be selected for a Short Term Award in 2017, as part of the Australia Awards in Indonesia, which taught me that education is highly beneficial and needed in the industry.

As I walk on my career path in the red meat industry, I’ve met many senior people who taught me the importance of networking with people at all levels within and beyond the industry, and that business goes beyond decision making at the executive level—it is also about inclusivity. These values have been emphasised by my last workplace, the agribusiness consulting company, PT. Mitra Asia Lestari, which has been involved with the ARLP in Indonesia. It is through this employer that I was introduced to ARLP staff, board members and leadership cohorts, and ended up being part of a program that I am so grateful to have been involved with.

I never imagined I’d be able to meet and talk with so many Australian rural and regional leaders from various sectors, hearing their stories of personal growth, and learning about their core values. Working with the ARLP team was different from business as usual, because I enjoyed every minute of the program. It was a situation where your clients become your friends, and through this two-way communication, you end up learning a lot from each other. I learned from the ARLP and its cohorts that being a leader is not necessarily a positional end-goal in a company. It is about working with our brain and our heart to have a positive impact on others, and to progress towards our own work-life balance. It’s about embracing and discussing the ‘elephant in the room’ rather than avoiding it. It’s about being genuine and original with the identities we hold.

As my journey goes along, I will hold to those values to remind me why I do what I am doing. I am now returning to school to study a Masters in International Development and Social Change at Clark University, USA, under a Fulbright scholarship. I suppose that one of the reasons I was selected as a Fulbright scholar is because I believe in the leadership values above. I hope that my Masters might be a tool for me to contribute to reducing global issues such as food insecurity and inequality. It is my aim to create positive impacts for people and communities, not only in Indonesia but also in other countries where my help and my expertise is needed.

Febrina Prameswari has spent almost a decade studying and working in the cattle industry in Indonesia and Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Animal Science, Animal Nutrition and Feed Technology (Honours) from Bogor Agricultural University, and will soon be taking her Masters at Clark University in Massachusetts through a Fulbright scholarship. She has published scholarly articles on market trends in Indonesia affecting Australian live cattle and beef exports, and has convened cattle industry and animal welfare exhibitions and seminars in Indonesia. She has coordinated cattle breeding projects and training in digital data collection. Febrina is a passionate advocate for sustainable food production.