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Pushing Boundaries and Rediscover your Power

Kanina Priatna is a Corporate Communications Specialist with a background in international law. She is very passionate about wellness and mindfulness, which led her to start an Indonesian wellness company, The Self Hug. In this article, Kanina shares her journey and gives tips on how you can find your voice and rediscover your sense of purpose. 

1. Can you tell us a bit about your current role working for Tokopedia?

In 2019, I joined Tokopedia’s Internal Communications and Owned Channels team, which is part of the Corporate Communications (now Corporate Affairs) division. 

Internal communications are made up of several different streams, but as the name shows, we are responsible for multiple internal communications channels and owned channels (such as Instagram and LinkedIn) that we manage alongside other teams at Tokopedia.

However, I am managing the internal corporate announcements and events. In essence, I work with other business units to help them communicate and share important information for employees company-wide. Also, I mainly support a series of Tokopedia Academy events, Tokopedia’s learning ground for Indonesia’s digital talent, in planning, communicating, and executing their technology conferences.

2. Throughout your career in Corporate Affairs, have you ever faced challenges or benefits due to you being a woman?

So far, in my personal and professional life, I’ve never faced any challenges due to being a woman. In my personal opinion (and not speaking as someone working in Communications or at Tokopedia), Tokopedia as a company has always given me, as much as anyone else, the opportunity to initiate and achieve anything. Whether it’s a professional or personal goal, the leaders and the team are always supportive.

This is one of the main reasons I joined Tokopedia and why I find it such a great place to grow my career and my leadership skills.

3. What do you think is the most significant contributor that enabled you to be where you are right now? Is there a particular skill or a particular habit, for example?

The main contributor to me getting to this point in my life is definitely my support system. At every phase of my life, whether it was graduating from high school, picking and getting into the right university, starting my first job, and finally trying out my luck as an entrepreneur, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have such a great support system.

I’m the middle child out of 3 children, so my older sister, Ghea, has kind of led the way and opened up a lot of doors for me and my younger brother, Abim. It’s also kind of funny how we started to really actively build our respective start-ups at the same time. I have The Self Hug, while she is running an EdTech called Generation Educators or GenEd. So we have similar experiences and challenges, which helps us a lot in navigating our entrepreneurial journeys. 

Also, I happen to be in a social circle with other entrepreneurs and founders, who are running their own start-ups and businesses. So I get a lot of guidance and advice from them which also gives me a lot of positive energy and keeps me moving forward.

Meanwhile, the habit that has really helped me throughout my life is changing my mindset. When I was younger, I think I saw every situation always through a similar lens. And, I was always afraid of failing. When I started my own startup, this mindset definitely changed. I learned that sometimes things we thought would work, don’t. Or they don’t work out in the way that we expect them to. So we need to be agile. As a founder, this also forced me to have an agile mindset. I had to be open to making tough decisions, having difficult conversations, and being open to other possibilities. Of course, building a business in the wellness space has also helped me to shift my mindset and take more time to reflect through mindfulness practices like journaling and meditation.

4. You also co-founded The Self Hug. Could you tell us more about this? What was your inspiration behind The Self Hug?

The Self Hug was founded in 2020 during the pandemic. Up until that point, me and my co-founder, Chrysti, who is also my best friend of almost 10 years, have always loved doing wellness activities together like working out, as well as going to yoga and meditation classes. This was our way of dealing with life’s daily stresses.

When the first wave of the pandemic hit, we immediately noticed the impact it had on our own personal well-being; it disrupted our daily lives, and fitness routines and limited our social interactions with friends and family which highly affected our mental health. We found ourselves experiencing all the elements of declining mental health: feeling irritable, isolated, and constantly anxious. Then we thought, we must not be the only ones feeling this way? 

After doing our research, we discovered that mental health awareness in Indonesia was still very low and that the country lacked the necessary infrastructures and tools to support people’s mental health and well-being. Meanwhile, conventional services that focus on people with mental health issues and challenges, such as professional counseling services, were often not affordable and accessible to all Indonesians. Therefore, we decided to create our own well-being tools (physical and digital) as well as well-being programs to improve the well-being of young adults in Indonesia.

5. As the CEO of The Self Hug, you are a leader. What do you think is the most important aspect of being a leader?

I believe that there are several important factors that make a great leader. With The Self Hug, I’m definitely learning as I go, and I am learning from my co-founder, my team, and my peers every single day. However, from my experience so far, having a clear vision, being able to communicate and convince the team of that vision, and having empathy are key to leading a team in a meaningful and effective way. 

As our team grows, it’s important that we are able to communicate why mental health and wellness is a fundamental problem in Indonesia and the world, and how we at The Self Hug intend to solve this problem through our holistic wellness tools and programs. Also, the start-up world attracts and often requires employees to have an entrepreneurial mindset and can-do attitude, which sometimes makes us forget that at the end of the day, we are just humans and of course, we make mistakes. I think it’s been important for me to be empathetic towards myself and my team members as well. 

6. The Self Hug is all about holistic well-being. What do you think is the significance of well-being in the workplace and to success?

I think it’s first important to define well-being as not a state, but an active pursuit. At The Self Hug, we define wellness as 8 different dimensions of health; namely mental, emotional, social, physical, spiritual, financial, environmental, and occupational wellness. Holistic well-being defines these dimensions as interdependent – meaning that how you feel or perform in the individual areas of wellness reflects your overall well-being and happiness. 

We can take ourselves as an example. On the days when we are feeling emotionally low or absorbed by negative emotions such as stress or worry, we might feel less motivated to work, less engaged at work, and unable to perform very well. This negative emotion affects the way we process information and make decisions, and engage with our co-workers. Over time, this can negatively impact your progress and success at the workplace. 

At The Self Hug, we work with communities, corporations, and startups to host tailored well-being programs to boost employees’ productivity, performance, retention, and overall well-being and happiness.

7. What do you wish for the future of women in Indonesia? How is The Self Hug planning to contribute to this future?

My biggest wish for women in Indonesia, or for Indonesia’s future women leaders, is for us to continue to push the boundaries that society has placed around us, use our voice for good and continue to take actions to make an impact. However big or small, and not only for the women out there but for men and children as well. As a collective, we have so much power to achieve even greater things.

Through The Self Hug, we want to empower other women who are passionate about a cause to not be hindered by their lack of experience or by what other people will think about you. Whether you go after that business idea or not, what matters is not what other people will think of you, it’s what you will think and feel about yourself. You will only regret the things you don’t try!

8. At The Self-Hug, you empower others to rediscover their sense of purpose. Could you tell us what rediscovering your purpose means to you and why is it important?

Yes! When Chrysti and I started The Self Hug back in 2020, we kept coming back to this phrase: Rediscover your power. We knew the benefits of wellness and mindfulness as they are stated in articles and research, but we kept pushing each other to understand what it means for us.

In the end, we came to the understanding that for The Self Hug, wellness and mindfulness were all about rediscovering your power – your ability to change your habits for the better, transform your outlook on life, improve your relationships and reach your goals. For us, helping people find their purpose and reach their goals through wellness practices and mindfulness, helped us to find our purpose and place in the world.

9. What would your piece of advice be for Fempress who is empowered to develop their sense of purpose? What action can they take to rediscover their purpose?

For me, discovering your purpose is an individual process that brings different people through different paths. At least, this was the case for me. My life experience has been amazing – being able to travel the world and learn new languages because of my dad’s job as a Diplomat for the Indonesian Embassy was amazing, but it also brought me a different set of challenges and struggles. It doesn’t make them less important or significant, it was just my journey to finding my purpose, now with Tokopedia and The Self Hug.

Some advice that I might share with other Fempresses is: explore, ask questions, try, fail and keep going. A quote I live by: sometimes your biggest barrier to success is you! If you believe in something, go for it and the rest will follow. It will be extremely tough, but you will learn and come out the other side a much wiser and better person. And this is something you will never regret!

Behind every successful person is clarity of purpose. Learning how to find your purpose in life is a lifelong journey, but once your purpose has been discovered, you’ll find that your life opens itself up in ways you never thought possible.

Are you ready to commit and change your life, Fempresses? Leave your thoughts below and follow Fempire for stories from more inspiring women!

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