More time for personal development, a win-win solution in pandemic time

Felicia Lasmana (Bearhs ELP 2021), Senior Quality Officer and Project Manager at HCV Network. Currently based in Indonesia.

In March 2021, I am currently back in my hometown so I can take care of my mother in pandemic time. While I have been working remotely for more than three years, there is no big difference in my working habit. But I truly miss is the fact that no more travelling time both work and pleasure. Especially when there was no window opportunity to get a vaccine for people less than 60 years old. Back then and until these days, partial lockdown is applied everywhere within and outside the country.

Apart from working 9 to 5 remotely with colleagues and various calls in different time zone. I managed and contributed to several projects globally through virtual sessions. One event was virtual workshop series with stakeholders from local government, Environmental and Social NGOs on the HCV landscape screening in Kapuas Hulu, Indonesia, contributing land use planning and providing the basis for implementing sustainability commitments.

All over the world, landscapes harbour important natural and social values such as intact forests, rare and endemic species and habitats, vital ecosystem services, and cultural sites. The High Conservation Value (HCV) Approach helps identify and protect these values in places where there is a rapid expansion of agriculture, forestry and aquaculture.

Globally, interest in the High Conservation Value (HCV) approach has been rising in particular in landscape and jurisdictional settings. The HCV Screening in Kapuas Hulu is one of several pilot projects with the main focus is HCV application in landscape or jurisdictional settings. I was also involved in another project to give a training session on the introduction to HCV approach to NGOs and Government representatives of Bhutan. The main goal of the remote training is to upscaling the HCV Approach to the national level including adapting HCV National Interpretation to the Bhutan context.

Participants of HCV Training in Bhutan. This Photo is owned by HCV Network and was taken by Felicia Lasmana

Both Kapuas Hulu and Bhutan remote sessions are interesting yet challenging in terms of delivery, tech issues, engagement, and time frame but very satisfying in term of carbon footprint as no travelling from both trainers and experts, which mainly came from Europe to Indonesia and Bhutan.

Before the pandemic, there is also demand to provide HCV training for various audiences such as companies and HCV practitioners or HCV Network Users globally. In January 2021, The HCV Network finally launched their digital learning platform, namely the HCV Network Learning Platform with HCV Network Users as the main target audience. I have been appointed to lead the learning workstream and manage the learning platform.

Indeed, as conservation biologist turned into sustainability practitioners, delivering online training can be a huge learning curve and challenging task. Within one year throughout the pandemic, I learn several new skills from book writing, creating documentary and video animation, managing virtual meetings, developing online training, and many more. I also increase my facilitating skills for various meetings, both internal and outside my organisation.

For myself, the pandemic is a blessing in disguise since I can join Bearhs Environmental Leadership Program (Bearhs ELP), delivered by the University of California, Berkeley. It’s the first time for the Bearhs ELP team to deliver their programme online. Although, I still expect that I can visit Berkeley in person next year or the following years if getting any opportunity.

Another silver lining, without travelling to Berkeley I have more time to learn new and to improve my leadership skills, besides meeting new people more than in real life. Joining Bearhs ELP cohort is one of the highlights of my 2021, with their growing alumni network of more than 702 members from over 114 countries, including Indonesia my home country.

With 20 years of experience, the Bearhs ELP offers a series of interdisciplinary workshops with a focus on innovation and collaboration. This is something that is needed for any conservation professional and environmental leaders in the fast-paced work environment who are continuously challenged to meet goals and seek a solution to address the world’s problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss.  

After the Bearhs ELP, I will continue my work at the HCV Network with more confidence applying knowledge and meaningful discussion from the ELP session in particular to the HCV Network Learning workstream and related environmental and sustainability project. As a lifelong learner, I am not only learning from the Bearhs ELP instructors but also my cohort. The ELP participants come from various backgrounds and specialities, from PhD students, start-up entrepreneurs, early career professionals senior-level practitioners with more than 15 years of experience, to company staff, government officials, think tank researchers and NGO activists. Within my cohort and Bearhs ELP Project, I can share and learn from my ELP cohort. For example, supporting movement and using awareness to improve environmental attitudes and showcase the importance of environmental leaders, such as my group’s project “Heroines of the Earth: Women Who Care for the Planet” with team members from Angola, Palestine, and Brazil.

Another thing I learned throughout the sessions is “a good decisionmaking rely to good science”. As environmental leaders, we are an active community of practice with strong focus on global environmental issues. The Bearhs ELP is tremendously important to create a space for global environmental leaders to exchange new ideas, nourish friendship and mentorship opportunities with close coordination from both UC Berkeley faculty and industry experts. If you have any chance to participate in the Bearhs ELP, I fully recommend and suggest applying in advance by giving a heads up to your organisation so they can give you ample time to provide sponsorship or a reference letter. 

First photo is breathtaking skyline and Piazza San Marco in Venice. It was taken in the evening during my visit in 2017. This is a throwback photo that I found when I digged through my photo archives.

This post is written for Bearhs Environmental Leadership Program (Bearhs ELP). The Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) at the University of California, Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources provides state-of-the-art training in environmental and natural resource science, policy, and leadership to strengthen the capacities of environmental practitioners worldwide.

More time for personal development, a win-win solution in pandemic time first appeared on


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