How the UniSuper team is mentoring generation next

When we put our hands up to volunteer, we don’t necessarily do it because we have the time—we do it because we care.

At UniSuper, all full-time employees have access to three days’ Community, Culture & Wellbeing Leave each calendar year. Those three days – to be used consecutively, separately or in hours – could be taken to celebrate cultural holidays, to focus on wellbeing, or to volunteer, among other activities. Collectively, they’re things that mean something. 

Stats show a progressively increasing uptake of this leave by UniSuper employees—313 leave entries were recorded from 1 June 2023 to 31 May 2024, compared to 174 in the same period the previous year. 

The range of causes for which UniSuper employees have volunteered is broad, including Salvation Army shops, cleaning up in nature, blood donation and other health-related pursuits. UniSuper employees made 17 donations to the Australian Red Cross’ Lifeblood program in May, taking the total number of donations across the business for FY2023-24 to 177—it’s estimated this could save as many as 540 lives. 

“On several occasions, we’ve managed to make 20 donations in a single month. Achieving this again would be fantastic, as it would bring us to the milestone of 200 donations for this financial year,” UniSuper Strategic Reporting Specialist Dom Walzer, the driving force behind our Lifeblood contributions, said. 

Meanwhile, led by long-serving employee Marion Maiolo, the UniSuper team raised around $4,600 for the Cancer Council as part of Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea in June. This was Marion’s 12th year organising the event.

Several other UniSuper employees have focused their efforts on education and mentorship, putting their hand up to volunteer with Inspiring Girls. Established in around 32 countries globally, this is a new charity to Australia. It connects industry role models to high school aged girls, encouraging aspiration and resilience. Let’s meet some of our role models. 


“I manage risky business!” Christie says with a chuckle. Indeed she does. 

A warm and bubbly personality, Christie manages the Cyber Resilience team at UniSuper. It’s responsible for developing engaging ways to teach employees how to use technology safely, both at work and at home amid heightened cyber threat. Internally, her team might be best known for its famous phishing fire drills, ensuring employees are on the hook for cyber vigilance. 

“A lot of that is around how we engage safely online. Our program is really focused on online safety at home and at work,” she explains. 

Christie has begun volunteering with Inspiring Girls as an industry role model, delving into how interest in cyber security can be moulded into a career opportunity. It’s an evolving profession – think security and AI, among others – and more roles are becoming available than there are people to fill those roles.

Now a 30-year IT veteran with seven years specialised in cyber security, Christie is passionate about pathways and opening young minds to professional possibilities. Christie doesn’t have a specialised IT degree herself—rather, she’s grown her skillset in a variety of roles throughout her journey with UniSuper and elsewhere. 

Having found her way into IT almost by accident, Christie’s own professional role model encouraged her to take the next leap into IT security with some simple, yet powerful, words: “She said, ‘what’s your career aspirations, and what do you want to do?’ I asked, ‘what do you think I should do?’

“She said, ‘you can do whatever you put your mind to’. 

“Something I really want to get out of being part of this program is opening girls’ eyes to the different options that they’ve got. You don’t have to put that pressure on yourself at 16 or 17 to decide what you want to do for the next 30 or 40 years.”


From the moment you begin chatting with Manager, Select Advice Renae Anderson, her passion for improving financial wellbeing is as infectious as it is palpable. You may have even witnessed this first-hand as a UniSuper member.

Renae speaks about financial wellbeing – and in particular, financial literacy – with such enthusiasm. She’s channelling that enthusiasm into improving financial literacy in teenagers through Inspiring Girls, with whom she’s volunteering as an industry role model, similar to Christie.

Renae’s involvement with the program is twofold, however. She’s also working closely with Inspiring Girls to pitch financial literacy programs to high schools, an ongoing passion project she’s previously explored with friends of her 14-year-old daughter.

“I’ve been working with the Financial Advice Association of Australia (FAAA)—I’m on the Financial Planning Education Council (FPEC), and we’ve designed a workshop for teenagers around basic financial literacy,” Renae explains.

“With Inspiring Girls … we’ve designed this workshop with FPEC, hoping to take it into high schools, but it’s actually not that easy to get into high schools. So I was hoping that using their connections and networks that are already established, or if I’m there already, how I might be able to build in some basic financial literacy. 

“I’ve been talking to them (Inspiring Girls) about that for a while, and they’re really supportive—but at the same time, the curriculum is already jam-packed, it’s already approved by the schools. But what they said was, while they’re pitching their program to schools, they’d be happy to also pitch my program.”

Renae hopes the program finding its way into schools will yield similar results to what she saw in her test cases, setting up a generation of financially confident women. 

“I just saw the response in the girls then. It’s pretty special to see someone start somewhere and end somewhere quite different with how they feel about themselves,” she recounts.

“You just know that you can leave such a strong impression at that age.”


At 26, ESG Analyst Ines Ivankovic is the youngest UniSuper industry role model to volunteer with Inspiring Girls. Her role in our in-house Investments team brings together her strongest professional passions: finance, investments, and sustainability. 

“To have that overlay of trying to make an impact that matters to the world, which is that sustainability piece, is really cool,” she says proudly.

It’s really the perfect role for Ines. With a mathematical mind and a keen interest in numbers and money, finance was a clear pathway for some time—though the more specialised move into ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) came about a little later.  

Though Ines identified and followed her professional pathway early, she recalls a lack of access to industry female trailblazers at school. Her young age means she’s an excellent candidate to help fill that void. 

“The reason I’ve applied (with Inspiring Girls) is to change this narrative and give younger girls the opportunity to be exposed to women working in different sectors to what we’re typically taught to pursue in high school or primary school,” she explains. 

“Investments has historically been a male-dominated industry. If I want to help change this, I think engaging with young girls and inspiring them when they are just starting to understand the different career paths available to them is instrumental to driving more numbers in this industry.”

Much like our other two role models, one simple driver underpins Ines’ involvement with Inspiring Girls: “I find a lot of fulfilment in helping others …  it’s amazing to be a part of a program that is trying to empower the next generation of women.

“Even if I’m just a little cog in this huge story, that would be amazing.”

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