Purpose, energy and teamwork.

These are the values that Esti Lestari represents as one of the top 50 women leaders in Asia Pacific. She is currently the President of Persijap Jepara, a club she acquired to empower Indonesian football and to provide more opportunities for girls. Being a strong believer and defender of gender equality, she created a women’s football team at Persijap Jepara, the first club to have a women division in Indonesia.

Among her main objectives, she seeks to improve the conditions that either men and women face in Indonesian football. In the interview, she explains how at the first trial, “we discovered many talented girls eager to play football”. Strong culture and low-interested media are some of the main barriers that stop women’s football to grow massively in Indonesia, where “more exposure, campaigns and education are the first step for growth”.

Regarding to sponsorship, she oversees that long-term and team spirit partnerships are key for finding the suitable partners for women’s football. Trust and vision, key elements to connect with sponsors who believe in a true impact for the game. A recent example is the deal reach by UEFA and VISA, a 7-year partnership to be present in European women’s football.

“We are as competitive and strong as the men”, a message that Esti uses to show media how beneficial covering women’s football can be. “We no longer needed to invite them, they were looking forward to coming”, she affirms. According to her, the key was involving and making them feel part of the game.

At a personal level, she identifies the book “Managing with a Conscience”, written by Frank Sonnenberg, as one of the top sources of inspiration of her leadership. Esti explains how she has learnt to adapt and to blend into the culture of the city and the people in order to get everyone on board, an apparent failure that led to significant success.

You can enjoy the full interview here:


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