John Helstowski




(08.12.1945 – 19.04.2016)

It is with great grief and loss that we are informing you about the sad demise of John Helstowski.

John will be remembered as a visionary and inspiring leader, who touched many lives. John was instrumental in successfully rolling our many initiatives in Nokia, such as leading from the inception of GNOC, GNSC and GDC India.

John will be missed dearly.  At this hour of loss, we wish peace and courage to his family. May his soul rest in peace.

A Great Leader

Googling “Great Leader Characteristics”… and I see them in John.
…Has a Positive Attitude
…Takes Responsibility
…Develops those around him
…Exhibit confidence
…Uses his Intuition
…Has a Sense of Humor
…Shows Commitment

That’s the reason why I will remember him as a Great Leader.

-Firman Sukmantara-
Nokia – GDC Indonesia


Memorial Service of John Helstowski

On Wednesday, 20 April 2016, a Memorial Service for John Helstowski was held in Heaven Funeral Services, Jakarta, before his body flew back to United States on Thursday, 22 April for a funeral and burial in his hometown, Albany, New York.

Among the people who came to pay their respect to late John Helstowski are :

Rudiantara, ICT Minister of Republic of Indonesia

Dian Siswarini, CEO of XL Axiata

Danny Buldansyah, Vice President of Hutchison 3 Indonesia (H3I)


Along with  other >100  people who share their deep condolence and reminiscing the life of John Helstowski.


RIP John Helstowski

(GDC Indonesia Team)


Dear Pak John Helstowski,

I should have been wrote this to you when you retire from Nokia last month… 😦
To share you my feeling working with you…

Do you remember that we met first time on mid of 2008…?
When I’ve just hold a manager role for the first time as well…
On the initial startup of MS project of Siemens Com Indonesia…
We, especially my self, learned lots of things & best practices from you…

Then after couple of years later…
When I took over the role as CoC Head Indonesia, several time we had call…while you’re still there in GNOC India…
While the distance is there, in every conversation we made, I always gained something great from you…

Then finally, on last year, I was very happy when you endorse & trusted me to work for you in GSD APAC role as your direct report…!

It’s really an honor to me, since everyone in GDC wanted you as their boss… 🙂
Not just because of the position, but more because of your-self

I also remembered you said to me: “Najib, about the seat arrangement, you may seat anywhere you liked or over there at GDC managers seating area”.
However I insisted to get the seat next to you, right beside you!
Do you know why? ‘Coz I believe I would get a lot of lessons, learning and inspirations from you later on.

And… it really does!

Over the last year till your last day in Nokia, we sat side by side at 4th floor.
We talked many things…
Not just discussion about work, but also sharing about life…
I learned a lot of good things from you…

Topics about your parents you proud of, about your families, about Jakarta, about peoples, about industry, about Indonesia, about India, about USA, about government rules, about ARMY, about President, about interesting or funny things on your trips, about your younger era, about business, about gadgets and also about faith & religions…
Were some of the topics we chit chat right on your desk…with those yelling as well as laughing…

I knew that sometimes you need someone to talked with…
And I’m happy that I’m a good listener to you, John… 🙂

Patient, honesty, forgiving, self controling, commitment and dedication… are some of values I learned from you…

It was really great moments knowing you and being your subordinates and your friend…

You’re the BEST Boss I ever had in my professional career….!

Furthermore, to me… you’re not just a manager…
But you’re also like a father, who protecting and guiding me & all of us here…on how to work, live and survive…with discipline and love….
And you even like a grandfather, who always cherish us & caring us very much…

Last but not least, you’re a Great Leader… who grown and taking care your peoples…

One golden sentence that I always remember from you in many occasions and meetings, is:

“Whatever it takes, Please always TAKE CARE your peoples!”

To me, that’s really shown A True Leader character you have, and Inspiring all of us…!

Good bye, Pak John…
I’ll miss that big voice beside me… 😦

Thanks a lot for everything!
You’ll always be a memorable friend, coach and inspiring leader for me…


–There is one thing I really regret to myself, but….. let it be my own sad… :~(


A Memoir of John Helstowski

Written by : Ludy Irsan, Head of Radio Stream – GDC Indonesia

“Good Morning John !” I greet him with enthusiasm. “What’s good about it” He replied. Ever since I always greet Big John with “Morning John!” only 🙂

I will surely miss that. I will also miss that loud voice in the office corner. That sound he made when he laugh at your jokes. All the life stories he told over and over but you will never get bored of. The way he threaten to beat us with his walking stick which he never did (we eventually always laugh at it, not even scare anymore) 🙂

I’m one of the unfortunate person who have very short moment, only 4 years to work and learn from him. I see him leaders among leaders, war generals, a role model and the most important thing : a father to his team. He deeply cares about his team, the level of affection that you will get from your own father. He stands in front of you to take all the coming bullets.  He will shout at you when you made a mistake, but he will never shout at you in front of other people. He will take responsibility of your mistakes, as a father take a responsibility of his misbehaved children. He is the type of Leader who rate his success as the success of his team. He often told us : “Treat your team as your children. You would love to see your children to be succeed right ?”  List of successful names such as : Rudiantara (Minister of ICT, Republic of Indonesia), Dian Siswarini (CEO of XL Axiata), Danny Buldansyah (VP of H3I), who once were his apprentice, prove the quality his Leadership and Mentoring ability.

I once had a trip with John. It was a long haul flight, Jakarta to Lisbon, which took around 14 hours of flight. John sat beside me in economy class, even though he has the exceptional approval to take the business class. I questioned this to him, and he replied : “If everyone need to suffer, I need to suffer as well”. Even though that I know he feels very uncomfortable flying coach (of course you all aware that John is very big) and even need seat belt extension. This is the type of leadership that we can only imagine and see in Hollywood movies.

For me personally, John had given a lot of opportunities for me. To grow to what I have become now. He given me trust, empowerment which makes me learns a lots of new things. His life lesson change the way I see things, the way I see life itself. So he was a mentor for me in life not only work.

Rest in Peace Pak John. May your soul rest peacefully in heaven. You are gone but not forgotten. Your life lesson, your legacy, will stays with us.

Till we meet again Pak.