Home Is Where The Heart Is: Meet Josefhine Chitra
Here's the story of Josefhine's return to Indonesia after studying and working in five countries.
By Aifelya Azzahra | Edited by Pamela Chan
Growing up in Jakarta, Indonesia, Josefhine Chitra has always been interested in public policy in technology and technology for development. Studying and working in five different countries—from Indonesia, Taiwan, the US, the UK, and Germany, she has worked as a researcher, communications consultant, freelance journalist, and a lecturer.
With her master’s degree in development management from the London School of Economics under her belt, as well as a stint as a researcher in Berlin, Josefhine decided it was time to head home. The deciding factor: To have her solid support system, whom she sorely missed, close by. “During my research project in Berlin, everyone at work seemed to have their own social circle. I felt lonely at the time and thought it’d be better for me to return to Indonesia and have my own support system nearby.”
Today, it’s been over four years since Josefhine joined Gojek and now she’s our Head of Public Affairs at GoTo Group, a journey that has been both a big thriving and learning opportunity for her. She recalls, “I actually wrote my master’s thesis on technology’s involvement in informal sectors, with a case study on Gojek’s sharing economy model. Little did I know I’d get to be a part of this company.”
Jose (as her teammates call her) works to build and guard Gojek’s reputation through risk mapping, research, and mitigation efforts on several issues, including public safety, labor welfare, environment, and gender equality.
One project she led at Gojek pertained to Women’s Safety Issues. She witnessed that female customers and driver partners were more prone to experience both verbal and physical harassment at night compared to their male counterparts. To respond to this, her team created a standardized guideline and training module on how to recognize and avoid sexual harassment, and this guideline can be easily accessed through the Gojek app.
Despite working through the turbulence of a pandemic, she initiated and procured a joint research collaboration between Gojek and UN Women on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on female microentrepreneurs. “This is one of my proudest works because my team really did it from scratch,” she explains.
Working as the Head of Public Affairs has given her a 360 degree view of financial technology and technology sector in Indonesia. Stakeholder management, research partnerships, advocacy, and negotiation are her everyday duties. Outside of work, she is a Chairwoman at Indonesia Mengglobal Foundation.
When asked what her favorite thing about working at Gojek is, she’s ready with a whole list which includes: smart colleagues, flexibility in work arrangement, a culture of compassion, and the huge drive to make a real social impact. “I don’t think there are many companies that have people who truly serve with their heart while also respecting each other’s boundaries at work. This is the culture that has made me stay until now,” she explains.
Finally, Josefhine encourages Indonesians abroad to apply their skills and experiences gained abroad to make a real difference in Indonesia. She states, “In developing countries, there are many challenges. But challenges are where opportunities abound.”
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