Mentorship experience enhances Northwestern alumni network in Indonesia


Edward Lontoh '01 LLM (left) and Blaise Hope '12

Born in Tokyo, Medill graduate Blaise Hope ’12 wanted to eventually return to Asia to build on his international and business interests. But after taking Professor Jeffrey Winters’ course Southeast Asian Politics—where he became fascinated by Indonesia’s economic potential and broad demographics—Hope decided to move to Jakarta right after graduation to pursue his media career.

At the Jakarta Globe and BeritaSatu English, Hope gained print, digital, and television experience with a focus on business news. While his education had prepared him to effectively navigate a changing media landscape, he sought advice on how to live and work in the country. Through the Northwestern Alumni Association’s Northwestern Network Mentorship Program—which has more than 4,500 alumni and students from 58 countries and 89 industries—Hope connected with corporate lawyer Edward Lontoh ’01 LLM, an Indonesian native who has advised him on local business and cultural practices.

“As a Westerner working in the East and especially in a subtle business culture like Indonesia’s, you are always looking for signs to divine the best approach to a given situation,” Hope says. “Talking to Edward has helped clear the mist. On top of that, he has introduced me to investors who are in a position to work with me. It's invaluable.”

For Lontoh, serving as a mentor has given him an opportunity to help a recent graduate with the transition from college to work, which was a difficult experience for him, along with many other benefits. “My participation has deepened my connection to Northwestern and expanded my networking significantly,” he says.

Hope, who became editor-in-chief of the news website Brilio English in September, sees mentorship as an extension of his education and would like to mentor Northwestern graduates who move to Asia. “There are no familiar faces when you move to a very foreign country on your own,” he says. “Northwestern ties you to people in a way that cannot be replicated. I love Northwestern and I want to be part of the network.”