A life without limits
"I strongly believe that having a disability doesn’t need to limit your potential."
Angkie Yudistia is a business owner, a published author and a passionate advocate for equal opportunities. And she also happens to be deaf. Rather than let her hearing hold her back, it’s inspired her to start a whole new career as a social entrepreneur helping people with disabilities.
Angkie was working as a Marketing Communication Officer when she decided to follow her heart and start Thisable Enterprise: an independent foundation that empowers people living with a disability and gives them the training and skills they need to be financially independent.
“I strongly believe that having a disability doesn’t need to limit your potential. I want to give people the tools and opportunities to work, learn and thrive. There are no limits”, she says.
One woman, many hats
As the founder, Angkie does it all. She lobbies governments as well as private and public companies, acts as mentor, manages the website and works with businesses to encourage them to support the community through corporate social responsibility programs.
She’s also the frontwoman for the business and uses her personal Instagram account to build her personal brand, network with influencers and showcase Thisable Enterprise’s success stories. She’s even inked a publishing deal and released a book about her personal journey.
There are around 37 million people with a disability in Indonesia, and many of them are unemployed. Angkie’s determined to help them live a full life, and understands firsthand how having a good education and a rewarding career can help people feel a sense of personal achievement.
For Angkie, empowering deaf and disabled people isn’t just good for them, but it’s also good for Indonesia. It means the country has even more available talent to contribute to its growth and attract foreign investment.
But not everyone in Angkie’s life was thrilled when she announced her plans to start a business. It was a financial and personal risk, and many people (including her parents and boyfriend at the time) wondered why she couldn’t just be happy with a stable job that gave her a regular income.
As for her target market (employers), she’s had to work hard to help them see disabled people as equals who can contribute just as much value.
Angkie herself had moments of self-doubt. Her lack of business experience was a concern and she didn’t want to fail and let everyone down.
But she soon realised that she could learn on the job and figured that if she did make a mistake, it was an opportunity to learn and get better.
As for her parents, they came around when it became clear that their daughter’s business was becoming a success. They now proudly boast to anyone who will listen about their entrepreneur daughter and her inspiring book.
By showcasing the talents and creativity of people with disabilities and allowing them to shine in the workplace, Angkie has helped challenge misconceptions and start a conversation around employing disabled people.
Leading, her way
In the 5 years since starting Thisable Enterprise, Angkie’s found her own working style that suits her personality and life.
She’s realised that she doesn’t need to know everything, but can tap into a network of mentors with experience in different areas.
And she credits her husband, who’s happy to pitch in around the house, with helping her achieve a healthy work-life balance. Quality time with her husband and daughter is just as important as business success, and she makes sure they always spend the weekend together—even if it means taking them with her to an overseas meeting.
Never one to rest on her laurels, her next challenge will be sustaining the momentum in Indonesia and taking Thisable Enterprise global. She’s ambitious, but still able to sit back and enjoy her success:
“Being an entrepreneur is hugely rewarding, but there can be moments when things aren’t going perfectly and it can affect your morale. Most of the time, though, I feel very lucky and proud of what I’ve achieved.”