International outlook, traditional values
Yuri grew up in downtown Jakarta, but spent her last year of high school in America. It was a life-changing experience. She has always felt grateful to her parents for making it possible - now, as her son enters his teenage years, she is particularly admiring of their open-mindedness and willingness to encourage their children’s independence.
At the time, spending a year in America seemed the obvious thing to do: Yuri’s older sister had already spent her last high school year in Philadelphia. But although it may have seemed the obvious thing to do, actually obtaining a scholarship was far from easy. The application process lasted at least a year and involved, among other things, four separate interviews, one with the whole family and one with various native speakers, as well as lengthy correspondence, including correspondence with the potential host family.
Yuri embarked on the process with enthusiasm and was ultimately awarded a scholarship, but there was no choice of school. She found herself in a little town in Mississippi with a population of 200, all speaking with a heavy Southern accent. After life in Jakarta, one of the largest, most chaotically vibrant, cities in the world, and a school with more than 2,000 students, it was a culture shock. Nevertheless, from the outset it was a positive experience; in fact, Yuri was treated like a celebrity: everyone was curious about her; everyone wanted to talk to her. She remembers being surprised at being asked whether there was TV, or electricity, in Indonesia, and thinking, at the time, that perhaps Americans were not as sophisticated as she had imagined.
One of the interesting things for her was the fact that the father in her host family was a preacher at the local church. It meant that she went to church with the family every Wednesday night and on Sundays and learned about Christianity at first-hand. It was a valuable experience. She firmly believes that religion should be a matter between the individual and God, and that if it were, there would be no religious conflict in the world.
After a year in America, she returned to Jakarta with a much broader outlook, but little idea of what she might do with her life. She had always been good at Maths at school, and really enjoyed it, and her father, who was a Marketing Manager, was encouraging her to study economics or finance. As there was little time to make a decision, she simply followed his advice and enrolled in a Finance Management Course at the Indonesian School of Finance & Economics.
It wasn’t a course she found particularly inspiring though, and it was while working on her thesis - a comparison of the financial management strategies of two companies - that she first came into contact with Rouse. A friend of her sister was working there and said that her boss, Nick Redfearn, was looking for someone to teach him Indonesian. Yuri began giving Nick weekly lessons, and later gave lessons to Sara Holder as well. That was the beginning of her relationship with Rouse, a relationship that has proved to be so rich and rewarding for both parties. Yuri says she has spent half her life at Rouse and really grown up there.
After her time in America, and having grown up in a household that over the years had hosted exchange students from Canada, the Netherlands and Bermuda, Yuri felt immediately at home in the Rouse environment. And when, after a year, Nick offered her a permanent position as a translator, she jumped at the opportunity.
Before coming into contact with Rouse, she had never even heard of Intellectual Property, but gradually her interest in it developed and after a couple of years she had moved from translation to trade mark filing. Along the way, she undertook the IP Office’s IP Consultancy course and now she manages the Trade Mark team.
Family is important to Yuri and, although she might find it difficult, she will certainly try to ensure that her children have the opportunity she had to study abroad. She reflects that perhaps, at least in part, the close relationship she enjoys with her parents is due to the fact that they gave her freedom and a chance to develop her independence. They still live nearby and have been very involved in their grandchildren’s lives. Yuri’s children have great love and respect for them – and now, they are beginning to feel a sense of responsibility for them as well.
Between work and family, life is full. Much of the weekend is spent taking the children to their various activities: Yuri’s son, Kenzie, to drum lessons and computer coding sessions, her daughter, Qian, to piano and gym. Yuri is encouraging, but says she doesn’t push her children academically. In her view, academic brilliance is not everything – she has seen too many academically brilliant people she does not consider successful either professionally or as people. Her wish for her own children is that they develop emotional intelligence and respect for others. She believes that anyone who is emotionally intelligent will somehow have a great and successful life
Family holidays are usually spent in Indonesia, visiting places the children have learned about at school and are curious to see, or places of historical interest such as ancient mosques or the 9th century Buddhist temple of Borobudur in Central Java. Yuri usually travels abroad to attend a Trade Mark conference each year, this year it was at New Orleans, and likes to take an extra day or two to learn about and experience the city she is in, wandering the streets, getting to know the place. She is quite happy travelling alone - it’s time for reflection, and time for herself.
Yuri joined Rouse in 2000 but says she still finds it exciting: she is still learning something new every day. She’s one of those ever-curious, yet well-grounded, people and she’s managed to find just what she needs: she’s working in a challenging international environment, but at the same time firmly grounded in her own traditions.