Things I Learned from Veronica Colondam: CEO and Founder of YCAB

Akhir-akhir ini, dia masuk Kick Andy untuk menceritakannya pengalamannya menjadi sociopreneur. Siapakah dia? Veronica Colondam! Pada hari Senin, 7 Januari 2013 usai interview visa di US Embassy Jakarta, rombongan tim delegasi ITB untuk HNMUN 2013 berjumpa dengan Veronica Colondam, founder dan CEO Yayasan Cinta Bangsa. Sebenarnya perjumpaan ini untuk urusan sponsorship keberangkatan tim kami tapi akhirnya berujung pada sharing session yang sangat inspiring and fruitful selama 4 jam!!

veronica colondamVeronica Colondam adalah kerabat dekat dari host mom Head Delegate tim kami, Baya saat AFS di Amerika beberapa tahun yang lalu. Berkat koneksi tersebut, Veronica bersedia menemui kami. Sebelumnya gue gak tau sih Veronica Colondam siapa but when someone mentioned Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa it kinda ringed a bell. Oh, itu yang sering disebut di koran atau di acara-acara perusahaan-perusahaan gede itu toh. So she’s the lady behind all that. To be honest I was expecting a lady that was all formal and kaku, ya kayak emak-emak tipikal philantropist yang reserved gitu. Ternyata, she was so smart, inspiring, amazing, so fun to talk to, dan seru banget!! Berasa ngobrol sama anak muda seumuran tapi dengan pengalaman, wisdom, dan ilmu seabrek-abrek. Meeting kami diawali dengan perkenalan singkat dan bicara tentang HNMUN, kebutuhan dana critical  (untuk berangkat, conference, dan biaya hidup), the sponsorship status quo, dan prospek sponsor/donatur yang potensial. Setelah itu dilanjutkan dengan sharing session that was pretty much thought provoking. 

Purpose dari meeting itu adalah Veronica ingin mengenali kami secara lebih mendalam jadi setelah bicara dollar kami masing-masing diminta buat memperkenalkan diri, jurusan, aspirasi hidup, GPA, and basically anything that was worth sharing, I guess. It was kinda weird that I learned more about my fellow delegates from that meeting than our previous MUN training sessions. Gue gak tau kalau Popeng tadinya pengen law school, bukan teknik mesin, atau Hans mau bisnis spa treatment products dan bikin hotel, atau Santi mau masuk International Relations, atau Philipe pengen menekuni bidang geothermal energy. It was kinda cool to learn all that. Dari setiap perkenalan, Veronica responded dengan ide atau pengalamannya. Di introduction gue I pretty much said this: I’m into cosmetics. I aspire to get a master’s degree in Cosmetics Engineering in Manhattan College, go to Business School, work in a major Cosmetics Company, and then build my own. Later in the conservation I also talked about my blog, yeah si monicantik.wordpress.com tercinta ini: my pool of thoughts, ideas, critics, and stories. I mentioned my blog statistics and how my blog covers skincare and recipes. She was impressed🙂 Who knew the product of my spare time can actually turn out to be something worth sharing? Veronica responded by telling me how the market at the bottom of the pyramid itu besar sekali. She mentioned Wangsa Jelita, cosmetics line produk alumni ITB juga, yang menjual kosmetik dan cerita. Kebetulan Veronica is Nadya Saib’s mentor. Veronica said quite bluntly bahwa meluncurkan produk kosmetik yang bersaing dengan Body Shop, L’occitaine itu challenging. Kalau orang mampu beli Body Shop ya pasti mereka mau yang lebih. So she emphasized how sexy the market at the bottom of the pyramid is. That provoked a thought in my mind and pushed me towards that cosmetics CEO dream.

Anyway other than that, since I have poor memory to tell the story in details I guess I’ll just sum up the things I’ve learned from Veronica in key points:

  • The importance of relationship and connection

“You’re all here because I’m honoring my friendship with Phyllis. In the end of the day, it’s all about relationship.”

  • The importance of sustainability

Veronica mengkritisi one-off alias acara-acara megah yang sehari doang, tapi abis itu…ya nggak ada impact. Veronica menekankan pentingnya keberlanjutan, alias sustainability. Impactnya lebih long lasting.

  • Being efficient and effective

She’s an entrepreneur, so it makes sense that she stressed on this point.

  • To bring an eternal meaning to my temporary being: the importance of legacy

Our existence on earth is temporary: keberadaan kita di bumi ini sementara tapi kita bisa loh, dengan ke-‘sementara’-an itu, membawa impact bagi sesama yang jangka panjang yaitu sebuah legacy. Di lesson ini Veronica mencontoh Ford Foundation. Tom Ford is no longer around to run the foundation, tapi melalui foundation-nya, legacynya tetap hidup. Veronica bercerita, yang dia bisa ingat dari kakeknya yaaa..paling hanya namanya, how she treated him. Kira-kira seperti itulah standar manusia kan, ya paling diinget 2 generasi ke bawah. Kalau kita punya legacy, nama kita gak cuma diinget, tapi bisa membawa impact buat sesama.

  • The correlation between achieving big and accountability to God

I think this may be my favorite lesson from Veronica. Selama ini yang ada di pikiran gue tentang achieving high things itu ya buat diri sendiri dan yaaa paling buat membanggakan orang tua lah. I never thought of it sebagai pertanggungjawaban kita sama Tuhan, as our accountability to God. Di masa-masa gue dan teman-teman lagi hot-hotnya menyusun strategi hidup berkarir buat jadi CEO, tiba-tiba boom! Gue disadarkan all of that bukan sekedar untuk kesejahteraan kita sendiri, keluarga dan calon keluarga, tapi sebagai pertanggungjawaban untuk Tuhan.

All in all, I am really grateful that I had the chance to talk to her in person. Seriously, I wish I took notes. To be honest, to me (personally) our discussion was more of a spiritual epiphany. I would love (and be honored of course) to have her as a mentor one day. Veronica Colondam is definitely the kind of woman I want to be like (tapi versi gue) when I reach her age ♥

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