Jakarta. The ability to lead a tech giant while taking care of three children at home became one of the reasons Tokopedia chief operating officer (COO) Melissa Siska Juminto landed Fortune Indonesia’s 40 under 40 list.
Melissa has been with Tokopedia for almost a decade. The 34-year-old woman is juggling between motherhood and career. Leading a team and educating children are two tasks that require great responsibility and dedication.
“In parenting, there are moments when we may not like our children. But we will always love them, give our best, and make sure they succeed,” Melissa told Fortune Indonesia.
“The same goes for Tokopedia,” she said.
Melissa first started her Tokopedia journey as the accounting and finance lead in Oct. 2012. She led the team until Dec. 2013. Two years passed and Melissa became Tokopedia’s vice president of business in July 2015. Her hard work bore fruits, as Tokopedia bagged many awards, including Indonesia E-Commerce Awards 2016 and Indonesia Netizen Brand Choice Award 2017.
In Nov. 2016, she became the marketplace giant’s managing director or chief of staff. It was in March 2018 when she ascended to the COO role.
As one of the few female leaders in the tech industry, Melissa pays a great deal of attention to women’s leadership.
According to Melissa, a female leader is unique in every aspect. A woman's emotional side, if used properly, can become a powerful force in interactions. In general, women are great communicators. They are also capable of multitasking, even maintaining productivity despite shouldering multiple burdens on their shoulders. If these strengths are used properly, women can bring added value to the company.
“In Tokopedia, we truly believe in [gender equality]. So our gender ratio is almost balanced,” Melissa said, as quoted by Fortune Indonesia.
Under her leadership, Melissa has introduced a number of company policies that promote gender equality in the workplace. For instance, a three-month maternity leave, paternity leave, as well as miscarriage leave.
She also initiated a transitional leave for Nakama —a nickname for the company’s employees— who have just returned from maternity leave. During this time, Nakama can manage whether they will work in the office or at home until they find the right work rhythm.
Tokopedia also has an on-site daycare facility available in its office. As well as a pumping room on each floor. There is also a Nakamom community, in which working moms of Tokopedia can share knowledge regarding their parenting experience.
It is not just the women of Tokopedia that Melissa cares about. Every year, Tokopedia holds the START Women in Tech annual conference. As the name suggests, it focuses on empowering women and closing the gender gap in the tech industry. START Women in Tech also serves as a platform for the female leaders of today and tomorrow to further revolutionize technology together.
“A supportive community is very crucial in encouraging us to get back up from failure, regain confidence, and think more structurally because women are more emotional,” Melissa said.
Joining Melissa in Fortune Indonesia’s 40 under 40 List is Education Minister Nadiem Makarim and Gojek chief executive officer Kevin Aluwi. As well as women’s doubles pair and Olympic gold medalists Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu, seasoned actor Reza Rahadian, celebrity and businessman Raffi Ahmad.