A few months ago, when we accepted that seeing someone on a Zoom call is much more likely than in-person, we spoke virtually with the humble and inspiring Rita Yates. Rita is CEO and Co-founder of Insurtech Australia: a community that encourages innovation in the insurance space. Rita talked to us about her varied and impressive career history, how to achieve innovation in business, and her values as a leader.
Rita started off as a physiotherapist in her early career, but moved into a number of different roles, from insurance, to working in several industries, to then moving into the innovation space and working with Fintech startups at Stone & Chalk. Rita believes that her ability to think differently and encourage innovation stems from her experience in a range of different industries. By looking beyond the environment we know, we can take inspiration from the way organisations in other industries work or innovate - no matter how different they seem from our ‘norm’.
After learning a lot from new Fintech businesses, and understanding how larger organisations can benefit from a startup mentality, Rita saw an opportunity to foster this culture in the insurance space - a space she had worked in in her earlier career. In 2017, Rita and her co-founders launched Insurtech Australia. Insurtech Australia aspires to make Australia one of the world’s leading markets for Insurtech and insurance innovation, by collaborating with insurers, startups, regulators and investors, and fostering an ecosystem of supportive partners and networks that help Insurtech thrive.
Rita strives to provide equal opportunities for women to highlight their influence in the Insurtech space. As quite a male dominated space, Insuretech Australia wants to provide a framework to make it comfortable for women as well as people from a range of ages and backgrounds.
Part of Rita’s success has been achieved by her ability to build relationships with many people, whether it be mentoring, speaking with potential founders, or managing relationships with partners. As a leader, Rita values communication and finding common ground with the people she works with. She believes this is a skill that will become more and more important in the future compared to traditionally desired skills, as roles become more and more automated.
Innovation can be perceived or described in many ways. In order to foster innovation in an organisation, Rita explained the importance of building a team of diverse people with fresh ideas, and having clear alignment as an organisation on strategies and innovation goals.