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The Gentlewomen Series: Mita Hutagalung


The Gentlewomen Series is an ode to women who we look up to and have shown incredible strength during these unprecedented times. They are partners, professionals, breadwinners and mothers. They are also now teachers, psychologists, and homemakers. All achieved with the uttermost kindness, gentleness and grace.

 

A conversation with Mita Hutagalung is like taking a trip down an inspirational lane sprinkled with empowering advice and reflection worthy values.

A fierce, independent single working mother with an affinity for taking on challenges and overcoming limitations as she branches her influence into various fields. From running her fashion company, BY ARRA (with an incredibly loyal following fan base) to releasing a deeply personal song about life bringing hope in throve of the pandemic.

In spite of her many pursuits, she knew her life's calling has always been about making an impact on the lives of others, a valuable lesson her late father instilled in her.

"He is someone who really enjoyed life and possessed a great joie de vivre, treats it with gratitude and appreciates the little things. He did not complicate things, taught me to always do good and never give up despite life's challenges." 

Being the true gentlewoman Mita is, she continuously wants to uplift other women to excel in whatever their heart desires. For those close to her can vouch that she is an expressive soul who brings love and humor into the things she is passionate about, you feel joyous and reminded of what life is all about. 

The Multifaceted Soul

What does being a gentle woman mean to you?
A gentle woman is someone who is strong, resilient and independent. A woman who is not easily swayed by the views of others. There comes a time in life, where people will underestimate or doubt a woman's ability in a certain fields, but as a gentle woman I think this is a challenge one must overcome.

In order to do this, you need to have strong principles and remain focused on your goals. 

A gentlewoman is someone unafraid to be compared with men as she is determined and tough. In my opinion, she will help create gender equality both in the present and future.

At the same time, a gentle woman wants her female counterparts to move forward along with her in a purposeful way. She is someone who has a kind heart and wants to uplift others to excel in whatever they set their minds to.

Being born into a family of businessmen, what drives you the most?
I yearn for challenges because it makes me motivated to achieve new goals or overcome obstacles. A problem-free life does not exist. I believe if your life has no problem, then you are not truly living. 

You are an entrepreneur, fashion designer, singer, art and music enthusiast, what would you say is your life's calling?
Whether I am wearing the hat of an entrepreneur, a fashion designer or a single working mom, I want my life to be filled with purpose. To make a significant impact on the lives of others, transforming my life into a masterpiece. 

For me, fashion is also an important form of expression. I launched a capsule collection that incorporated constructive phrases like 'Indonesia is stronger than coronavirus,' and 'Life: Breathe, Positivity, Smile, Goodness, Healthy', which fell in perfect alignment with the message of my new song as well.

How does your faith play a role in your journey?
My journey of faith starts with gratitude. I visualize my journey of faith as a road filled with sharp curves, potholes and detours that lead to wondrous views. 

I start my day with a positive mantra which goes something like ‘God, thank you for today. I can still breathe, I am happy, I want to make people smile, and I want to be a blessing to myself and others.’

This helps me conquer the day with a more relaxed and clear approach. I believe that good things happen when they are meant to, everything is working according to God’s plan for me.

What is your ideal "me time" session? How do you unwind after a hectic day?
An ideal ‘me time’ includes pursuing my hobbies, like creating music on the piano or simply settling down with a good book. I also love spending quality time with my daughters over some ice cream and play time with our dog, Senna. To me, having a pet is the perfect way to battle stress as I feel her unconditional love for me and my family.

My Father, My Hero

The world is healing, if we were to learn from this past year has your perspective and attitude for life changed?
I learned to survive in all situations and conditions, especially as a leader of my fashion company, BYARRA. My attitude for life remains the same, I am grateful for all the things God has blessed us for as this life is only a stint of what is to come next. 

However, my perspective on life has changed slightly for the better. I believe the pandemic can be a positive thing for those who want to think positively. A lot of people have discovered other capabilities other than what they normally do, such as baking and selling online. Others are more exposed to nature (biking or hiking in remote places) and truly find themselves.

For me personally, I learned after 30 years that I had the capacity to write and release my own song!

A song that I named 'life', dedicating it’s lyrics to people who have recognized the abundance of blessings in their lives, and how they can share these blessings with those around them.

Who is your role model and inspiration? Why?
My father is my role model. 

He is not only a father to me but also a mentor, a friend, and a leader who becomes a role model for everyone around him. He treated everyone the same regardless of their status, one of the many reasons people respected and appreciated him.

He is someone who really enjoyed life and possessed a great joie de vivre, treats it with gratitude and appreciates the little things. He did not complicate things, taught me to always do good and never give up despite life's challenges.

When my father passed away last year, my world turned upside down. I lost a big part of me as I used to seek his advice whenever I encountered tough situations. 

Early on in life, he taught me to persevere and to work hard for what I want. Family business is one thing but creating your own path is another. I am grateful that he inspired me to push beyond my limits, for the sake of myself and my younger siblings.

Even though he is long gone, his kindness lives on amongst those who knew him.

It warms my heart when people come up to me and tell me stories about how he helped the communities around him. He is a great representation of the phrase ‘You reap, what you sow’. In other words, ‘what you give, you get’.

What important lessons do you remember most from your father? 
To be observant of my surroundings, to be quick-witted, to explore my creativity and translating my visions into action are values that my father instilled in me growing up. This has helped me seize numerous opportunities throughout the span of my career.

Given your dad is your biggest inspiration, what would be the values and lessons instilled by him that you would like to teach your daughters?
I want to show my children the importance of giving time to things in life that matter the most to them. As a single working mother, I try to include them in my everyday office life as often as I can. I want to show my daughters what a strong and independent woman looks like, teaching them the values that my father taught me. To pave their own paths, regardless of their family background.

I constantly remind them to appreciate the little things, recognizing the value that even a single cent withholds, and encouraging them to move forward. For example, my daughters tend to feel discouraged when they cannot draw a certain thing, and that is when I step in to remind them to keep trying until they get it right. The true failure is in giving up. 

*This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.



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