Now more than ever, employees are driving a paradigm shift in the workplace, demanding greater attention to mental health and wellbeing. Chrysti Luckynelly, Business Development & Marketing Executive at a top-tier international law firm in Indonesia and Co-Founder at The Self Hug, shares her story on being a full-time business professional at a law firm and promoting well-being through her wellness startup, The Self Hug.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your current role working for a law firm?
Since 2018, I have been exposed to Business Development and Marketing Communications in Law. I am currently working at one of the most prominent global law firms based in Indonesia. BDMC in the legal industry is different than in other businesses, even though the goal is mutual: to grow client opportunities. Instead of focusing on one-time sales transactions, we help lawyers build bridges and relationships that will benefit the firm in the long run, such as strengthening the firm’s and the lawyer’s profile and participating in client development activities such as events and pitchings.
In Indonesia, the legal industry is prohibited to advertise ‘commercially’ and I think that’s what intrigues me the most. The challenge is to be creative and think outside the box. While we still maintain a firm reputation through legal directories, in a modern world, we are now able to combine and leverage social media and CSR initiatives to strengthen the firm branding. At the firm, I am also part of their social media as well as I&D well-being team.
2. Throughout your career in business development, have you ever faced challenges due to you being a woman?
I’ve never experienced gender bias when it comes to my role in business development. However, generally speaking, companies should treat women and men equally regardless of their gender. Being treated equally means having the same opportunities to grow and excel in their career. I often find it disturbing to hear that companies ask about personal plans such as ‘getting married’ and that plan is perceived as ‘company’s challenges’. Women should not choose between having a career and starting a family. Women can do both if they want to and “we have freedom of choice” as one of my colleagues urged.
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?
Some people might perceive me as daring, that personality comes from collective experiences and evolves over time. For example, I am always nervous when it comes to public speaking but I do it anyway, I am always anxious when it comes to the deep blue ocean but I surf and dive anyway, I am scared of the unknown but I jump in anyway. Being bold really pushes me to get out of my comfort zone and builds my confidence. Also, I am surrounded by people that also encourage me. That helps tremendously. So having courage is what enabled me to be where I am today and continuously learn from it.
If you ask me about particular skills or habits, it is practice resilience and gratitude but keep that in mind that being resilient and grateful is not always about bringing good vibes or positivity all the time because that is not realistic. We are all human and like it or not, there are always fears/problems that we have to face. By practicing resilience and gratitude, they keep us in a growth mindset.
4. You also co-founded The Self Hug. Could you tell us more about this? What was your inspiration behind The Self Hug?
In November 2020, The Self Hug was co-founded by myself and Kanina, who is my best friend whom I have known for almost ten years. The inspiration came as a collective where we both were in different stages in our lives but had a mutual interest in wellness and self-development.
Personally, 2020 was a tipping point and the biggest life lesson of my life. A whole new world kind of opened to me when my mental health suffered due to constant changes in my personal and professional life. I had no choice but to take a step back and really ask myself what kind of life I wanted to live. I put my thoughts and intentions in my journal.
Journaling has always been something I am familiar with since I was a kid– we called that ‘diary’. Then, when I was in university, I started to enjoy reading self-help books or watching inspiring videos. I listed down some prompts in my journal and practiced them. For example, prompts from “Happiness of The Pursuit” by Chris Guillebeau and the philosophy “Ikigai”. I found journaling is a ritual that makes me feel whole and free. Writing down my thoughts and feelings in a paper helps me to get clarity on how I think, feel, and how I want to move forward, and every time I journal, I like the feeling of being in control of myself.
Moreover, there are scientific benefits from journaling to our overall well-being. Hence, raising awareness about the benefit of journaling practice and providing the tools that cater to the needs of Indonesian adults have always been our purpose since day one.
We are overjoyed that in just 8 months, we have sold over 1000 journals across Indonesia and collaborated with over 30 communities, corporations, and retailers. We have also recently launched a supportive wellness community with 100 people joining in less than 3 months. We are now the 12 of us and we hope that The Self Hug will be more than just a brand but a ‘human brand’ that is deeply connected to people’s lives and stories and truly creates an impact in their daily lives.
5. With your work at The Self Hug, how is the current progress of companies in Indonesia when it comes to nurturing their employees’ well-being?
You can clearly see the difference in how individuals/companies see mental health and well-being compared to a decade ago. Although the negative stigma surrounding mental health in Indonesia is still very strong, I am amazed that many companies are currently making baby steps to support their employees’ mental health and well-being— initiating wellness events and providing access to counseling. Especially because of this pandemic, they have awoken and already started down the path of culture change and this should be the moment to be intentional towards mental health issues at work.
6. From your perspective, how can companies better support the women in their team – given that they might be prone to certain gender biases or mental health challenges?
Based on an Oxford University study, women are up to 40% more likely to experience burnout than men. Especially during the pandemic, women have to juggle between roles in their career and at home — WFH, being responsible for their household and helping their kids with school work. Women have to work harder to function in everyday life, show up to feel confident, and rise to their daily obstacles as a result of the extra work and challenges. That being said, women are resilient and they can rise as stronger leaders and the companies’ support is important. They need to take more consistent action to promote employee well-being, especially women by acknowledging their achievements at work and investing in their mental health and women’s health benefits.
7. As women, how can we better support other women in the workplace?
We should always support women’s resilience. Check-in on each other’s well-being by simply asking “how are you?” and celebrate each other’s accomplishments and encourage each other to go for their visions.
8. What do you think are the powerful habits that make a successful woman?
To me, powerful habits include planning, setting priorities in your journal, and visualization. While we take action and work towards our goals. We also need to remind ourselves to rest and recharge. Rest is also productive (a reminder for myself too). One more thing, always stay a student, keep learning, sharing, and surrounding yourself with people that are inspiring, positive, and empower you.
9. What do you want to achieve next?
Talking from The Self Hug point of view, our mission is to help individuals and corporations overcome their well-being challenges by providing more scalable unique tools and programs to advocate the importance of overall well-being in personal and professional lives.
Our next step is that we need to focus on and implement the top-down level approach, which means engaging with corporations and organizations. As to the workplace, we believe that combating stigma and addressing mental health challenges require equal efforts and commitments, not only from the employees but the employers.
Many people think that when I co-founded The Self Hug, I will move away from a corporate career to a life of well-being and balance, and happiness. No. I came back and I thrive to help advocate and address this issue.
10. Do you have any tips for Fempresses working towards a goal or facing well-being challenges in the workplace?
We are in the era of ‘hustle culture’. Working hard should not be confused with overworking. Suppose you feel like you have a stressful and unhealthy work environment and you are not ready to speak up to your manager or colleagues. In such situation, you should start establishing boundaries and learning when to say “no”, join a support group outside of your company, or just seek help from trusted people but find something that works for you. When you feel exhausted and need some space, writing down your thoughts and emotions in a journal is always helpful.
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