Anne Ridwan is a familiar name in the Indonesian ad industry having worked in many of the biggest network agencies in Indonesia from Ogilvy to Leo Burnett, Saatchi and Publicis. Today Ridwan is the CEO of INOFITbio, creators of myDNA. myDNA is a genetic interpretation company that decodes the information in genes to help people to live better lives. Its team of experts work together to provide genetic interpretation of your body and explain its relevance, in a way that people can easily understand. This then helps consumers to make more informed decisions about which diets may be best suited to a certain body type.
Ridwan left the ad agency land in 2018 after a year with Ogilvy. Since then, she's busied herself wearing multiple hats and taking on roles with FAB and GoJek. In a conversation with Marketing, she says it wasn’t the long hours or the lifestyle that wore her down, but rather the need for more and finding her purpose. “I think you have reached a certain place in your life that probably you felt a little stuck and then you start questioning whether this is something that you want to do for the rest of your life,” she says.
Hear more of her journey here.
Marketing: You pride yourself who likes fluidity and time to pursue your passion. We see that you are very involved in coaching and you also hold some part time commercial and agency roles with Gojek. That must not have left you with a whole lot of free time for yourself. How do you still find the balance?
This is what I learnt from one of the master coaches in Indonesia. He said everything has to be a life by design, so you design what kind of life you want to have and you put all the things around that because otherwise you will just be doing things that you have to do but never have the chance to make things that you want to or have time for yourself to grow at a personal or professional level. […] I designed my life like that because that’s how I want it.
When I was running an agency, my life before was full of meetings, concalls, dinner with clients, dinner with teams and it was quite exhausting sometimes. So I wanted this current life, and I made it happen.
Marketing: Running an ad agency is more than a fulltime job, it takes over your entire lifestyle. So was the lack of time and the non-stop work culture ever a reason for you to leave the ad agency world and take on a more health conscious industry?
I don’t think so. I was always very passionate [about advertising]. Anyone who has been in the advertising agency for more than 15-20 years should be really passionate about it. So the long hours was not an issue and I think it was really more towards where [after a point] I didn’t know what else that I could do.
I think when you reach a certain place in your life, you probably feel a little stuck and then you start questioning whether this is something that you want to do for the rest of your life or you want to add on to that with something that is your real passion. I think [for me] it was more more of that which led to the decision of maybe I should take a break from really running an agency and look into what I want to do for the rest of my life and make my life more meaningful.
Its not like my life in agency wasn’t meaningful but when you come to a management position and you are tasked to transform agency, all you do is that and it is all about numbers and restructuring to the point that I personally lost my purpose to be honest. It was like “I know I can do this, and I am good at doing this but is that all that I want to do?" And I didn't so and I wanted to find a new meaning. I know it sounds cliché but I did come to that.
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