Benjamin Surya Prakasa
Chairman & CEO
Hometown: Bogor, Indonesia
Interests: Comparative religion, globe-trekking, praying, helping others, and self-improvement books
Languages: Indonesian, English, Thai, Javanese, and Sundanese
I was born in Bogor but grew up in Tasikmalaya, a mid-sized city near the southern coast of West Java. From a young age, I had to be resilient to help provide for my family. My mother made beautiful, delicious pastries, and it was my job to sell and deliver them to customers. We did not have much growing up, and it was very difficult to balance school and work. However, from that experience, I learned many crucial leadership skills that I carry with me to this day, including time management and organization skills, networking and communication skills, and financial and supply chain planning.
When I was a young man, I moved to Jakarta and immediately started buying up all the chemistry textbooks that I could get my hands on. Coming from a less developed area with little scientific research and suddenly gaining nearly unlimited access to Jakarta’s scientific resources, I wanted to take full advantage to explore my deep-seated passion for pharmacology and to find a way to commercialize it. Months of non-stop studying chemistry and pharmacology, I finally gathered enough money to set up a makeshift laboratory in my home. Consequently, I immediately got straight to work to be able to concoct a formulation that would cure fungal infections because it has greatly plagued my community back in Tasikmalaya for as long as I could remember. After a few years of trial and error, I finally perfected the formula. It was highly stable, safe, and effective. I quickly raised enough capital to start both of my firms: Manggalla and Meccaya Pharmaceutical in 1982. Since then, we have gradually grown to be one of Indonesia’s most trusted names.
I have always been a firm believer of having a purpose, which in my case is to gain the most in life. That is why I constantly try on new experiences. Usually, this is expressed through my travels — physically, mentally, and spiritually. My favorite destinations include Chiang Rai, Kyaikto, and Lumbini Sanskritik. Among my favorite authors are Gary Chapman, Karen Armstrong, and Viktor Frankl. Throughout my accomplishments, my crowning deed will be the completion of Stupa Padmasambhava, which will bring prosperity to the livelihoods of the people around the world.