Alanda Kariza is an exemplary role model for young Indonesians. Beyond her work as a youth advocate, Alanda is also a behavioral economist, writer, entrepreneur, wife and mother.
Alanda made her mark as early as 14 when she published her first book titled The Dream Catcher. It led to a series of opportunities, including one to attend the Global Youth Summit. As the only Indonesian at the conference, Alanda wanted to share the knowledge she earned through areas in fundraising and media relations. Alanda has since organized iterations of the summit, written eight books and attended global conferences.
After graduating from BINUS, Alanda pursued a degree in behavioural economics at Warwick, where she received the Chevening Scholarship. In our conversation, Alanda discusses her vision for Indonesian youths and her struggles of juggling her career and life as a full time mom.
ON HER CAREER AND MANY INTERESTS
1. Tell us about the work you do as a behavioral economist. Why did you decide to study behavioral economics?
As a behavioral economist, I design interventions for organizations (non-profits, services, private companies) to positively improve the behavior of the target market.
I decided to study behavioral economics because of my work experience after college. My first job was as an assistant manager for Unilever, where I learned about consumer behavior. I learned that applying these findings help organizations to create social impact by nudging consumer behavior positively. I wanted to equip myself with the necessary knowledge to create change and social impact in the world by changing human behavior.
2. Tell us more about your motivation organizing the Indonesian Youth Conference
I wrote my first book when I was 14. I set up an NGO called The Cure for Tomorrow a year later, now known as Sinergi Muda. After having the opportunity to attend Global Youth Summit by Global Change Makers because of the work I did, I was inspired to organize a similar platform where young Indonesians are able to exchange ideas. I ended up organizing a similar event for Indonesians from 33 provinces — the Indonesian Youth Conference..
On her current routine
3. What keeps you busy nowadays?
I run my own consulting firm called Advis Lab. We just started and we are planning public classes to provide training for companies who want to learn behavioural economics. On July 26th, we will have our first online class Introduction to Behavioural Economics. As a mother, I have also been spending a lot of time with my son.
4. How do you stay informed and knowledgeable about current topics and issues?
My husband works as a media relations professional so he consumes news everyday. My husband often updates me with news during dinner when I don’t have time to read myself. I try my best only to check reliable news sources and straight from the websites. I like being on social media but sometimes it’s pretty noisy and biased especially if I read through other people’s perspectives.
ON EDUCATING THE GENERAL PUBLIC
5. There is a knowledge gap in Indonesia apparent in the way people react to different media of news. As a behavioral economist, what is the best way to raise awareness about important issues/educate others?
The best way to raise awareness or educate others is to make information easy to understand. Sometimes people use very complicated words to present information, especially when compared to fake news. Fake news is effective because it is usually told like a story, and it touches people’s emotions. Factual information tends to be presented in a complicated way. Like for lockdown, we call it PSSB (Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar), a lot of people don’t understand the term. We should use simple terms like stay home instead.
6. Reading isn’t quite a popular medium compared to podcasts, videos, etc in Indonesia. As an author of several books, did you try to reach an audience that didn’t read?
I definitely try my best to reach a wider audience. To give you an example, my best selling book Dream Catcher is a non-fiction book about young adults achieving their dreams at a young age. I wrote very short chapters for each topic and worked with an illustrator and designer to design the book. I also made an activity page so readers can be more engaged with the book. When I published the book in 2012, I thought the book was pretty innovative. As a result, a lot of people who weren’t used to reading books actually read the book. Some schools even made it a mandatory reading material. I wanted to make reading an easy thing instead of pushing people to read a serious or thick book.
ON BALANCING RESPONSIBILITIES AND MARRIAGE
7. How do you manage to balance your work/mom life?
I still find it very difficult. The most important thing for me is for my son to have a reliable schedule. I work when he is asleep. When it comes to housework, I work closely with my husband. I find it very important to have a strong support system. I know a lot of lady bosses out there who have helpers to help them achieve all they do. The stronger the support system, the more you can achieve.
8. As young women, marriage is something a lot of us think about. Even with a career, a lot of women feel the pressure from society to get married/have children at a certain age. How do you suggest young women deal with this pressure?
My advice would be to not succumb to social pressure that pushes women to get married and build a family. Because even women who get married because they want to get married still find it challenging. Some people don’t make it to forever. I can only imagine it’ll only be more difficult for those who marry because they are pressured to, not because they want to.
My advice is to not give into societal pressure because everyone has his or her own timeline and priorities. Some people’s priorities are to get married young some is to get married later. I didn’t expect to get married quite young at 24 but the timing was right for both of us. You will have your own timeline.
ON THE FUTURE OF INDONESIAN YOUTHS
10. What is your hope for the future of Indonesian youths?
I hope more youths will exercise critical thinking, and utilize technology not just to build fame/audience but also to create a social impact. Making a difference means differently for different people. You don’t have to follow other people’s advice. When people follow their own calling it makes the world beautiful.