Suncorp proudly sponsors inaugural Here On Purpose panel discussion


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Recently, Suncorp had the pleasure of supporting the inaugural Here on Purpose event; a professional networking evening for the LGBTIQ+ community.

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Suncorp proudly sponsors inaugural Here On Purpose panel discussion

Founded by Suncorp staffer, Jessica Claire, Here on Purpose is a not-for-profit community project dedicated to challenging what it means to be a leader in your respective field in Australia. Specifically, Here on Purpose aims to support the LGBTIQ+’s corporate community, creating a safe space for working professionals to express themselves and network with other like-minded individuals, in a forum on living and leading authentically.

Speaking before the inaugural event, held in the Mercure Hotel in Brisbane’s CBD, Ms Claire said, “Here on Purpose has been a dream of mine I’ve hoped to realise for over a decade now. Having worked in the corporate world most of my professional career, I noticed a distinct lack of representation on what it meant to be part of the LGBTIQ+ community in the workplace, and how to bring my whole self to work. These events intend to empower, cultivate and express purpose-driven leadership in the community, and I can’t wait to see where the success of this first ever event takes us”. 

Suncorp's MJ Bellotti and Olympian Natalie Cook

Melbourne FAICD Director and board advisor, Andrew Donovan, and Chair of The Pinnacle Foundation, Elizabeth Jameson

Big Brother contestant and farmer, Dave Graham, and Labor Senator, Nita Green

The night featured an all-star panel, discussing what it means to ‘lead authentically’, the challenges each have faced and why it’s so important to represent the LGBTIQ+ community across all facets of life. Panellists included five-time Olympian Natalie Cook, Maverick Big Brother contestant and farmer, Dave Graham, Melbourne FAICD Director and board advisor, Andrew Donovan, Board of RACQ, Chair of The Pinnacle Foundation, Elizabeth Jameson and Australian Labor Senator, Nita Green, all of whom openly identify with and advocate for the LGBTIQ+ community.

Over the course of an hour, the five panellists were guided by chair and host for the evening, Suncorp’s EGM of Corporate Affairs, MJ Bellotti. Each panellists revealed some of their more memorable antidotes associated with authentic leadership, self-belief, but also the times where they’d struggled with inauthenticity and what it means as an individual to lead an authentic life.

“[Over the years] I’ve learnt that most of the time, when you take a leap of faith, and you’re in a community that you trust, nine times out of ten, people support you,” said Andrew Donovan when recalling one of the first times he’d mentioned his husband to a colleague.

Asked by host MJ Bellotti, EM of Corporate Affairs at Suncorp Group, about the importance of creating safe spaces for self-expression and for those around you in the corporate world, Elizabeth Jameson spoke about focussing more on being an authentically ‘good’ person. 

Here on Purpose Founder, Jessica Claire

Elizabeth Jameson, Board of RACQ & Chair of The Pinnacle Foundation

I prefer to focus on being an authentically 'good' person. That’s how you make space for people, by using some of those old-fashioned values; of care, and compassion, and goodness, and kindness

Wanting to convey her authentic self in and outside of the public domain has been a key driving force to help represent her constituents says Ms. Nita Green. “For me, being authentic means being myself, but also not placing judgement on other people. I will say though, I think it’s a little bit different for a politician, I think we have [even more of] a responsibility to represent the LGBTIQ+ community and it’s something I’m very privileged to be doing... I’m a post-marriage equality politician so it’s a freer space than any other gay politician has been in before”.

“People don’t want to see me putting up a façade or what I think a politician should look like, they want to see me being authentic, being genuine. That makes my job really easy. I just have to be myself”.

After the insightful and very moving panel discussion, attendees then joined the panellists for an informal networking session, with drinks and nibbles, to share their own experiences and to connect with peers.

After wrapping up the night, Ms Bellotti said she was honoured to be included in the evening; "It’s such an important discussion to be had right now in the community. In all communities small and large. While I do not personally identify as LGBTIQ+, it is my duty, and the duty of corporations, to show support for colleagues, friends and peers. The first step toward change is to create change, and that’s what we’re doing here tonight”.

To find out more about Here on Purpose and upcoming events, check here.