The Trailblazer | Suncorp Group’s Innovating Women
Innovating Women is a series sharing the candid stories and viewpoints of women working across the business at Suncorp Group. It offers individual perspectives on the shaping of careers and attitudes, what the private sector can do to build a more gender equal future, and the strategies they employ to foster innovation in the workplace.
At Suncorp Group, we’re determined to advance gender equality in and beyond our workplace. We’re immensely proud of the work we’re doing to ensure women are represented at leadership level. Since 2018, Suncorp has maintained at least 50% representation of women across all leadership positions.
When it comes to the Gender Pay Gap, we’ve made great strides but know we still have work to do. According to The Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the Financial and Insurance Services industry has the third highest gap in Australia, currently sitting at 19%. Suncorp’s Gender Pay Gap is 18.1%, and we’re aiming to reduce this to 15.5% by 30 June 2025.
Innovating Women explores career paths and turning points, barriers to equality, and how these women are championing innovation at Suncorp.
#Nandini Prattipati | Product Design Specialist, Consumer Insurance, Product & Portfolio
A strategic risk-taking success story, Nandini Prattipati was never going to thrive in a professional ‘comfort zone’. Through her tenacity and boundless curiosity, she has carved herself a rich and rewarding career that challenges the traditional corporate ladder. We’re all just along for the ride...
#Tell us a little about yourself; who inspired your unorthodox attitude towards a career path?
"I was born in India and moved to Melbourne, Australia when I was four. It was shortly after graduating from university that I started with Suncorp. I was looking for somewhere I could invest and grow long term. I didn't want to jump around; I looked for culture and longevity in terms of future opportunity and career growth. I’ve now been here just over seven years, and I've had a wild ride having had roles across Distribution, Claims and Portfolio teams. Early in my career I was presented with two choices; a ‘traditional’ pathway (graduate, complete a graduate program and roll into a permanent role) or choose the unknown. I chose the latter, which landed me my first leadership role. I’m a naturally inquisitive person, so learning and being challenged are key drivers in the types of roles or skills I gravitate to. I want to challenge myself even if that means jumping in the deep end.
The second was realising that not every role is the ‘perfect’ role - it can’t be everything you want. I accepted a role that was 70-80% of what I could work with or wanted, and it turned out to be one of my favourite experiences to date. I am an extrovert but that doesn’t have to be everyone’s personality trait to be able to make an impact.
#Thinking about what the private sector can do to accelerate an open, safe and equal future for women, what do you feel would be the most transformative commitments we could make?
"Whilst we’ve certainly made progress there is a long road ahead to achieving equality in the workplace. A few things come to mind, especially for working mothers / primary carers: implementing ‘blind’ recruitment screening (removing name, age, and gender) so skillsets and accomplishments are a primary focus in the hiring process. Additionally, continuing to support flexible working arrangements so that primary carers don’t have to make a choice between being a parent and pursuing a career.
Statistics also show that women feel less confident in making large financial decisions. When designing or thinking about product offerings, we need companies in the private sector to be actively thinking about accessibility, inclusivity, and vulnerable groups, designing in a way that supports education and increasing confidence in financial literacy."
I’d like to think my experience can show that you don’t have to do something a traditional way to grow in your career; by broadening your horizons and being open to opportunities you hadn’t considered or don’t seem obvious to your own experience and natural skillset can be advantageous.
#Tell us about a piece of work you've been involved in while at Suncorp that has helped or is helping to disrupt "business as usual" and create a more equal future for women
"For me it hasn’t been one instance, but rather several small, perhaps unorthodox, ways of doing things that have helped drive a more progressive culture in the workplace, certainly in the insurance sector. Being open to new experiences in areas unfamiliar to me has allowed to me work where you might typically find less women on core project teams. For example, last year I was brought onto an innovation data and technology piece that aimed to utilise data to create an 'uncommon' customer experience in insurance. I’d like to think my experience can be reflected to other women as an example that shows you don’t have to follow a traditional path to grow in your career, but instead by broadening your horizons and being open to topics you hadn’t considered or don’t seem obvious to your own experience and skillset."
#How do you encourage innovation in your team, and have you found that it has paid off?
"To be innovative, there are a few key attributes which create the right environment for creativity to flourish: determination, openness, and courage. Determination to find a way and get up when things don’t pan out, openness to hearing and exploring ideas that are different. Courage to do things differently even if it goes against the grain or might not be the way things have been done before. You can’t be creative in a big way 100% of every day (there isn’t enough time, money, or bandwidth), so creating a space to explore different options and being able to fail safely and quickly is so important when trying to foster innovation. You can’t get everything right all the time, but you can learn from failure, giving you the ability to combine these learnings into innovative approaches."
#What advice do you have for those who might not be used to thinking about gender equality in their work?
"If it’s not a conscious thought process or consideration already, it’s the small things that can make longer term shifts. If you’re not a cheerleader or advocate, don’t be a hurdle, either. Take time to understand how the other individual is processing information or consider their circumstances - especially if they are different from your own. Every person learns and is driven by different things, not every individual’s strength can be unlocked or even approached in the same way. Being able to individualise approach or understanding their circumstances helps to unlock potential is very rarely a one size fits all.
Just because something has been done in a certain way in the past doesn’t mean that’s how it needs to always be done. The world we live in has changed significantly so take what has worked well and adapt that to the workplaces of today."