Technology and Management Solutions  
November 2021
In the November 2021 Newsletter
  Give While You Live / The Tandean Rustandy Story / Events

Give While You Live

This philosophy was communicated by Mary Ann Casey. She's a 2021 University of Colorado (CU) Alumni Award winner who was honored for her trailblazing diplomatic career during which she became the first woman U.S. Ambassador in North Africa.

That same philosophy has been put into practice by Tandean Rustandy, a 1987 graduate of the Leeds School of Business. Through his generous gift, the new Rustandy Building now connects the Business and Engineering buildings on campus. Thanks also to the many others who contributed their time, talent and treasury to make the Rustandy Building a reality.

Rustandy Ribbon Cutting
Rustandy (center) at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Below is his timeless story, originally shared in the May 2018 Szczurek Success Strategies newsletter and reshared now.

The Tandean Rustandy Journey

How do you want to be remembered? Tandean Rustandy, an inspiring rags-to-riches entrepreneur, is known for setting his own higher standard of contributing to others. He states, "I believe all can benefit. Ask how I can give, how I can serve. When you go into business, determine how you can contribute to others."

Tandean Rustandy was born and raised from humble beginnings in a small town on a river in Indonesia. There was no clean water and no electricity. In an amazing turn of his life, he went on to build a successful, socially responsible, 'green standard' ceramics business with 3000 employees in five locations throughout Indonesia. Having celebrated its 25th anniversary in business, Arwana Citramulia is now the #1 ceramics firm in Indonesia and #14 in the world. Rustandy is pursuing his passionate purpose.

Rustandy's Practical Pointers

1. GET EDUCATED. Luckily, his mother supported the concept of education. Rustandy received a good education — High School in Toronto, a B.S. in Finance in 1987 from the University of Colorado Boulder, Leeds School of Business, and an MBA in 2007 from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. Rustandy was the first in his family to graduate from college.

2. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND STAY IN TOUCH WITH PEOPLE. While working on his undergraduate degree and washing dishes to help pay his way through college, Rustandy made good friends. One friend actually lent him money to pay his last semester of tuition. They are like brothers now. When Rustandy travels, he chooses to take the train. "I can afford to take a limousine, but that cuts me off from people. It is important to see the real world so you can remember who you are serving."

3. PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT. After graduating from the CU Leeds Business School, Rustandy got involved in a timber business in Indonesia. It made him a multi-millionaire by the age of 25, but it was damaging the environment. He decided to move on and start a socially responsible business. His current business, Arwana, is an eco-conscious company that received the Green Industry Award from Indonesia's Ministry of Industry for six years in a row, 2011-2016. Arwana is also the first company in Indonesia to obtain ISO 14001 certification for its environmental management system.

4. HELP THE DISADVANTAGED. Rustandy chose to locate Arwana where he could help the poor through creation of jobs in manufacturing tiles. He now provides jobs, healthcare, and education for his employees. It hasn't always been easy. His firm almost went bankrupt during an Asian financial crisis, but he has stayed true to his values.

5. GIVE BACK. Rustandy says, "Everyone has responsibility to help the next generation." A $20 million gift from Tandean Rustandy, supports expanded research and programming in social innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago through the newly named Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation. He also made a $6 million pledge to support innovation at CU Boulder. "Our aim is to elevate our efforts in entrepreneurship, innovation and design in new, refined and disruptive ways in and outside of the classroom," said Sharon Matusik, Dean of the Leeds School. "To have Tandean step forward with this meaningful investment to continue our long tradition of entrepreneurship helps further not only our momentum with curriculum advancements, but also our world-class reputation."


Tandean Rustandy says, "Stay in touch with people to stay connected to life. Ask how I can I help. Especially encourage young people to ask how they can contribute." He quotes Helen Keller, "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart."

Upcoming Public Events

November 24-29, 2021. Join up with Theresa in the Chicago suburbs. I'm available on Wednesday, Friday, and Monday. Contact me at to schedule a meeting.

November 30, 2021. #GivingTuesday. In line with the 'Give While You Live' theme, consider participating in this global day of giving by supporting online your favorite non-profit organizations. Two of my favorites are the Colorado Women's Education Foundation which helps women attain economic self-sufficiency through education, and Girl Scouts of Colorado, which builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. What are your passions to support? In Colorado, it's called Colorado Gives Day on December 7, 2021.

December 9, 2021. IQ Awards. This event honors the hottest innovations in Northern Colorado. 4:30 PM-7:00 PM MT in Boulder, CO. Theresa is a judge. Learn more and register.

Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D.
C-Level Global Executive, Corporate Director, and Colorado CIO of the Year

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Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D.

Technology and Management Solutions

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