We recently interviewed Day of STEM mentor, Tzipi Avioz, to listen to her perspectives on increasing diversity in the STEM fields, emerging technologies, mentoring and being a STEM parent. Tzipi is the Director, Technology & Operations for AMP and is featured as a mentor in our Women in STEM (click here) program.
Day of STEM: How is AMP addressing diversity across your organisation?
Tzipi: AMP believes in a diverse and inclusive culture where diverse thoughts, ideas and experiences drive better ideas and solutions for our customers and a supportive culture for all employees to perform at their best. The AMP Group leadership team and the AMP Board support a diverse and inclusive workplace at all levels of the organisation and believe this will build a culture where diversity of thought is a competitive advantage, people and their ideas are respected, and innovation is fostered. We want to help all our people to give – and be – their best, so we can make a real difference to both our employees and customers’ lives. At AMP we also offer a range of programs to help our employees succeed both personally and professionally, including paid parental leave, mentoring, flexible work options, targeted development programs and cultural events throughout the year.
Day of STEM: What programs and initiatives has AMP invested in related to increasing diversity or building the capacity of the next-generation?
Tzipi: AMP has identified four key ways to increase diversity and inclusion:
- Committed and inclusive leadership – Our leaders are supported to create an inclusive culture that helps people play to their strengths and deliver the best results.
- We focus on equality when we recruit, develop, promote and reward our people, as well as recognising their performance. This includes having gender-balanced recruitment shortlists, developing female leaders, reviewing our pay and performance outcomes and providing policies and practices, such as flexible work, that support all our people.
- Decision-making and voice – The diverse thinking across our business is vital in helping us better understand our customers and helps us meet their needs. We use a human-centred design approach to listen to the needs of our customers and guide the design of our processes, products and services
- Measurement, accountability and rewards – We have set strong diversity targets and believe meeting these targets will deliver better results for our business. AMP also conducts an annual pay equity review to identify, analyse and address potential areas of inequity. This commitment is expressly outlined in AMP’s remuneration policy.
In May 2016 we began planning for a new female mentoring program for all levels pairing them with highly qualified mentors in our business. Last August, we officially launched the female mentoring program with 60 women selected in the pilot group. We’re invested in the Day of STEM platform through the Women in STEM program and present frequently at key industry and professional conferences, including the Amplify series.
Day of STEM: In three years, what new technology will dominate the Australian market?
Tzipi: From Artificial Intelligence to Chabot technology to Blockchain to the Internet of things, these technologies will dominate the Australian market and beyond. It’s important for business to think about these emerging technologies as opportunities rather than disruptions. The benefits these technologies bring to advance Australian businesses and shape their growth is very significant. Businesses need to leverage and harness the data points points driving these technologies in order to take full advantage of the unique opportunities they afford.
Day of STEM: How have mentors influenced you throughout the course of your career journey? Can you give us a good example of someone who influence your journey?
Tzipi: Mentors are immensely important but I think it’s not just about one mentor, it’s more about how we learn to grow from feedback. Our parents and teachers are mentors when we’re growing up, and later on in our careers. It’s important that we reach out to leaders that are willing to support us as a mentor or guide. There’s also the opportunity to learn from mentees. This relationship can be more effective in an informal setting as we need a high degree of comfort. At each stage of my career I’ve had one or two mentors that I could pick up the phone and ask them to discuss an issue or an opportunity! Mentors make a huge difference in your career. Recently, I was a judge at AMP’s Amplify Ignite Competition and the winning pitch cited several occasions when her mentor was key to her success.
Day of STEM: What skills and experiences does AMP prioritise when identifying upcoming and in-career talent to work within the technology function?
Tzipi: It’s important to develop specific capabilities within the technology field depending on the role you’re looking to pursue. More importantly it’s the transferrable skills that are critical, in addition to making sure the person is the the right fit in terms of workplace culture and team chemistry. Transferable skills such as being able to communicate effectively in a variety of situations, showing initiative, creativity and integrity, and being able to problem solve are all immensely valuable.
Day of STEM: Can you give us an example of an exciting project that you are leading at AMP?
Tzipi: I’m currently working on one of our strategic priorities that involves developing the data and analytics capability of our organisation. This is exciting for me as we can drive so much more value from the information we already hold within our organisations. This is our opportunity to compete in the start-up/fin-tech world, where Data is king! The ability to capture and utilize data and analytics to improve customer insights, allows us to provide better customer experiences with our products and solutions.
Day of STEM: As a parent and proponent of increasing diversity in STEM, what advice do you have for parents with children that are exploring STEM career options?
Tzipi: I think it’s important for parents to learn more about STEM careers so that they understand what’s involved if their children are interested in pursuing a career in STEM. Things are changing rapidly and to support our children we need to be informed. Alternatively, seek out a mentor/career advisor or work experience opportunity for your children to learn more about the wide range of careers that are now available for students studying STEM careers.