Doretha Dian has been the general counsel of global technology giant Siemens’ Indonesian unit for about 18 months, leading a legal team in negotiating big-ticket contracts, managing disputes and ensuring regulatory compliance. An in-house counsel since 2007, she has led legal teams in the infrastructure and technology sectors, including at ABB Indonesia and Elsewedy Electric. Before joining Siemens in 2022, Dian was the head of corporate and commercial legal at leading Indonesian real estate and healthcare company PT Lippo Karawaci Tbk.
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you're a general counsel based in Asia who'd like to be featured in this series, please email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALB: What have been some of your highlights from your time in charge? And what are some leadership lessons you have learnt?
Dian: Navigating complex legal challenges and resolving critical issues has been a significant highlight that brings me immense satisfaction. From negotiating high-stakes contracts to managing company disputes and ensuring regulatory compliance, each accomplishment has deepened my conviction in the importance of diligent research, effective communication, and a proactive approach.
These experiences have not only provided personal fulfilment but have also yielded valuable leadership lessons along the way. Among these lessons, one that stands out is the significance of building strong relationships and fostering open communication with stakeholders at all levels. I have come to understand that effective leadership hinges on establishing trust, actively listening to diverse perspectives, and promoting collaboration to achieve shared objectives.
ALB: Apart from legal work, how do you participate in your company’s business?
Dian: Apart from my legal work, I actively engage in various aspects of my company's business to contribute to its success. This includes developing in-depth product knowledge, fostering strong connections with other business units, and embracing a sense of ownership. By understanding our products, I provide valuable insights from a legal standpoint while appreciating the intricacies of the business. Collaborating with colleagues from different departments helps identify potential legal issues early, facilitating proactive risk mitigation.
ALB: How important is the company’s culture, according to you? What kind of internal culture are you looking to foster both within the team, as well as your business as a whole?
Dian: The company's culture is paramount to me as it sets the foundation for a cohesive and successful organisation. A positive and inclusive culture fosters collaboration, innovation, and employee engagement, ultimately driving overall performance and success. Within my team, I aim to foster a culture of trust, open communication, and continuous learning, where everyone feels empowered to contribute their ideas and perspectives. Additionally, I strive to promote a culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, creating an environment where every individual feels valued and respected.
At the broader business level, I seek to foster a culture that encourages cross-functional collaboration, embraces adaptability and change, and prioritises our employees' well-being and professional growth. By nurturing such an internal culture, we can create a vibrant and fulfilling work environment that attracts top talent, retains employees, and ultimately achieves long-term success.
ALB: How would you rate the current standard of legal services available in your jurisdiction? What do law firms do well, and what could they do better?
Dian: The current standard of legal services in our jurisdiction is generally commendable, with law firms playing a vital role in providing valuable legal expertise and guidance. However, we always strive to improve our collaboration with our partners. Law firms could enhance their responsiveness and efficiency in addressing client needs, further streamline communication channels, and embrace technology to facilitate seamless collaboration and information sharing. Overall, law firms are an essential component of the legal ecosystem, and by continuously striving for improvement, they can further elevate the standard of legal services and better meet the evolving needs of clients.
ALB: How have your legal requirements evolved recently (generally or due to the pandemic)? How does that change the way you use external counsel and other legal services providers?
Dian: Recent times, including the impact of the pandemic, have brought about notable changes in our legal requirements. These changes have influenced how we engage external counsel and other legal services providers. We now seek legal partners who demonstrate agility, adaptability, and a deep understanding of evolving legal landscapes. There is an increased focus on virtual collaboration, efficient communication, and leveraging technology for seamless remote work. Additionally, cost-effectiveness and specialised expertise in remote work policies, cybersecurity, and contract negotiations have become crucial factors in selecting external legal support.
ALB: When it comes to cooperating with external lawyers, what qualities or capabilities do you believe are the most critical to the work and a sustainable long-term cooperating relationship?
Dian: When collaborating with external legal counsel, certain qualities and capabilities are indispensable, both in terms of the work itself and establishing a sustainable long-term cooperative relationship. These include strong legal expertise, excellent communication skills, and a deep understanding of our business and industry. It is important for external lawyers to exhibit responsiveness, proactivity, and the ability to provide pragmatic solutions tailored to our unique requirements. Building trust, upholding confidentiality, and showcasing unwavering dedication to our objectives also play integral roles in fostering a successful and enduring collaboration. Ultimately, a collaborative approach, adaptability, and a shared commitment to achieving favourable outcomes contribute to the longevity and viability of our partnership with external legal counsel.
ALB: Where would you like to see the team five years from now?
Dian: I aspire to see a team that has grown in both size and expertise, with individuals who are driven, adaptable, and possess a deep understanding of the intersection of law and technology. I envision a highly collaborative and inclusive team culture that fosters innovation, continuous learning, and the exchange of diverse perspectives. Additionally, I hope to see our team recognised as trusted advisors and strategic partners across the organisation, contributing to key decision-making processes and driving legal and ethical excellence. Together, we will navigate evolving legal landscapes, embrace emerging technologies, and proactively address challenges to protect our company's interests while promoting its growth and success.
ALB: What motto do you live by?
Dian: The motto I live by is "Adapt, learn, and thrive in the face of change." This motto has guided me to seek opportunities for personal and professional growth, to be proactive in staying updated with emerging legal trends, and to approach challenges with a mindset of curiosity and resilience. I realised that in the dynamic and fast-paced world of technology, where laws and regulations constantly evolve, staying adaptable and open to new knowledge is essential.