The University of Newcastle, Australia

Noni Purnomo named Indonesia's Australian Alumnus of Year

Monday, 13 May 2019

Businesswoman, philanthropist and entrepreneur Noni Purnomo is the 2019 Australian Alumni of the Year.

Gary Quinlan, Noni Purnomo and Kevin Hall

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Dr Gary Quinlan, Indonesia’s 2019 Australian Alumni of the Year Noni Purnomo and University of Newcastle Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Engagement and Partnerships Professor Kevin Hall.

Supported by the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, the Indonesian Australian Alumni of the Year Awards are the most distinguished honours given to Indonesian nationals who have demonstrated achievements at a local, national or international level, through exemplary leadership, integrity, innovation and hard work.

Ms Purnomo received the 2019 Australian Alumni of the Year honour at a gala event in Jakarta.

Graduating from the University of Newcastle in 1995 with a Bachelor of Engineering, Ms Purnomois the current President Director of Blue Bird Group Holding, known as the largest taxi service in Indonesia.

Recognised for her contribution to her profession, community and Indonesia, Ms Purnomo oversees the group’s business portfolio, which includes passenger land transportation, logistics, heavy equipment trading, property and IT supporting services.

Blue Bird Group taxis own approximately 39,000 vehicles and employ 50,000 drivers and staff in Indonesia – a long way from the fleet of 25 taxis the company first started with in 1972.

Founded by Ms Purnomo’s grandmother Mrs Mutiara Djokosoetono in the garage of the family home in Central Jakarta, Blue Bird Group Holding now includes Blue Bird Taxi, Silver Bird Executive Taxi, Golden Bird Limousine, Car Rental and Big Bird Charter Bus in Jakarta, plus several other taxi companies in over 20 cities in Indonesia.

Ms Purnomo has been involved in with the family business since she was a young girl, initially serving in the maintenance department of the Group’s Passenger Transportation Division.

She demonstrated her strong work ethic by juggling two jobs; working as a marketing researcher at the Jakarta Convention and Exhibition Bureau in the day and dedicating her evenings to the Blue Bird Group.

Her interest in the field of marketing led her to pursue a master's degree in finance and marketing and she used her education and practical experience to build the Business Development Division in Blue Bird Group Holding, focusing on corporate strategy, communications, business process improvements and IT.

As Blue Bird Group Holding President Director, Ms Purnomo believes balancing corporate growth and good corporate culture is one of the important success factors and she embodies the strong values of the company; integrity, hard work, perseverance and care for employees and society.

Ms Purnomo founded Blue Bird Peduli (Blue Bird Care – a philanthropy division of Blue Bird Group), launching the ‘Women Empowerment Project’ to over 40,000 wives of Blue Bird group drivers and employees, providing them with small loans and training to start their own businesses from their homes.

Blue Bird Peduli’s scholarship program has provided more than 20,000 scholarships to the children of Blue Bird drivers and employees supporting their education through schools and universities.

Ms Purnomo also personally supports 120 children and is a founding member of Angel Investment, empowering women entrepreneurs through investment, mentoring, and creating networking opportunities. She is also heavily involved in Endeavour Indonesia, where she mentors new talent and entrepreneurs.

Serving on several national and international boards Ms Purnomo is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organisation and has served in various capacities on several organisational boards since 2003. She is a member of the board of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australia-Indonesia Institute.

She was also listed in Forbes’ 2015 ‘Power Women in Asia’, 2017 Globe Asia’s ‘99 Most Powerful Women’ and as the ‘2017 Endeavour Indonesia Mentor of the Year’.

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Dr Gary Quinlan and University of Newcastle Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Engagement and Partnerships Professor Kevin Hall attended the gala event where Ms Purnomo was awarded the top accolade. Dr Quinlan was last year awarded the University of Newcastle's Alumni Medal for Professional Excellence and holds an Honorary Degree - Doctor of Letters 2007 and Bachelor of Arts 1973.

Recognising excellence

Do you know an outstanding friend, colleague or family member who should be recognised for their personal and professional achievements? Nominations are currently open for the University of Newcastle’s 2019 Alumni Awards, so if you know of someone who is doing great things in communities around the world, submit an application to help celebrate their success. Nominate online:

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