By : Subagiyo - Astindo / Dec-2012
( Quoted from The Jakarta Post,  Dec. 15 2012 )

Elly Hutabarat understands the value, and art of delegating tasks to the right people for a company to be successful. The president of the board of the Association of Air Ticketing Companies in Indonesia (ASTINDO) realizes, she can not be a one-woman show in handling everything.  “I’ll die standing if I attempt to do it all by myself”,  the 68-year-old mother of two said in using an Indonesian expression.   “I realize that as a leader, I may have short comings or weaknesses in a particular field and so I need to ask someone else with the relevant skills to carry out the tasks.” Delegating, the head of Pantravel said, has a positive effect on all parties involved. “I feel happy because someone else does it and equally, the person responsible for the task is also happy because he or she has the required skill to do it,” she said. “For example, in relation to a ticketing issue, I entrust the head of the ticketing division to implement the task because that is his strength and he knows how to do it well.” Having completed the task the person responsible gained insight and experience, she said. “So in this case, we complement each other,” she said. Elly was appointed president of ASTINDO in mid-2009. The 500-strong association was established to help its travel agent members, either owners or executives, find solutions to business problems, enhance the quality of cooperation among members, offer training and education for members as well as provide skilled workers. Activities include meeting to organize the annual ASTINDO International Travel Fair, attending gatherings of the ASEAN Travel Agent Association, World Travel Association —of which ASTINDO is a member— and Federation of Travel Agent Association.

Elly adopts an approach of “having fun” in leading the organization. “For those in a happy state, it be will be much easier for them to achieve their task, however, for those in a tense or angry state — their workwill not be successful,” she said, adding she uses the same approach with the 20 executive board
members.  They have sacrificed their time and energy and spent money on transportation to come to our scheduled activities. Therefore, having fun to make others happy is the most suitable approach. We may be tense or engaged in a fierce debate during the plenary session but after that we have fun when we
eat dinner together.  I always try to keep our relationship harmonious.”Learning to listen She acknowledged her parents’ influence on her leadership skills. “My father taught us the value of giving. Giving is not necessarily in the form of material items — it can also be in the form  of giving happiness to others,” she said.

She learned the value of listening to others from her mother. “When my siblings and I were still children we quarreled, as often children do, and I told my mother. My mother did not say anything or took sides but rather, she listened to what each of us said. Finally, we found our own solution and realized it was unnecessary to continue the dispute,” she said.  “Listening to others is essential when handling a dispute.”She said that the management style that she adopts is influenced by the principle of “from us, for us” aswell as the association’s ultimate goal, which is to defend the interest of members. Under this principle, many travel agents are invited to sit on the ASTINDO International Travel Fair (AITF) committee, an event where agents exhibit their products and travel packages. “They enjoy the benefits of the event and we can earn money. Part of the money that members collect is allocated for training purposes as well as the recruitment of an executive director,” she said.

Elly is aware that members of the ASTINDO’s executive board are busy operating their respective travel agents and have limited time for the association and that’s why, she said, from last year the association hired a professional executive director to oversee the day-to-day operations. “With an executive director, our ideas and initiatives can be implemented. I learned from similar associations overseas, such as the Malaysian Association of Fair and Travel (Matta) and National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS), which both have a highly capable executive director,”she said.  Elly dreams of Indonesian ticketing service workers with comparable skills to those in neighboring countries, especially with opportunities for foreign workers when the ASEAN Free Skilled Labor takes effect in 2015. “Therefore, Indonesia should prepare well for this, otherwise, workers from other ASEAN countries will take control of the job market in Indonesia because they are more skilled,” she said.
Elly raised the issue with the government, and the Transportation Ministry is now preparing a regulation that requires travel agents to employee at least two staff that hold a professional certificate.“Each ASEAN country has issued a certification of profession, except Indonesia.

The certification of profession is needed when an Indonesian wishes to work overseas [in the travel agency sector],” she said.  Providing training for young people on ticketing is one of the areas ASTINDO focuses, she said.Elly says she is careful to manage her responsibilities.  “The important thing is we enjoy what we are doing. I am lucky […] that I know how to enjoy life. I think it is a blessing,” she said.  She said that her profession has allowed her to travel extensively, which she enjoys in finding something unique in each destination. “”The older I become I find one place that I like the most. Guess where?” she said.  After a pause, she added, “ Home. As you age, you really value and appreciate your own house,” she  said.

•    Place/Date of Birth: Bogor, West Java. Oct. 9, 1944
• 1991-1993: MBA Program for Executives, Indonesia Management Development Institute, Jakarta
• 1984: Management Program, Asian Institute of Management, Manila
• 1963-1968: University of Indonesia, Major in Psychology
Corporate position:
• 1996 to present: President director, Pantravel
• 2003 to present: Chairperson, Intrareps, Tourism Data Processing Company
• 1996 to present: Chairperson, Ayuberga, General Sales Agent for Saudi Arabian Airlines
• 1996 to present: Chairperson, Pan Maritime, Shipping Company
• 1996 to present: Member of the Board, PT Coca Cola Bottling Indonesia.
• 2010 to present: President, Association of Ticketing Agents in Indonesia (ASTINDO)
• 2009 to present: President, Professional Certification Body - Air Transport Distribution Services and Agencies
• 2003 to present: Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Board Member
• 2003 – 2007: President, ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA)