Elizabeth Tripp “fell into” tech, but now, she’s tackling it with gusto. As Principal Business Architect at The Hanover Insurance Group, she wears many hats: business professional, technology leader and “translator” of technical jargon to her business colleagues. Discussing her career journey, Tripp says that “I naturally gravitated toward the technology space. It was not only incredibly rewarding work, but my skill set suited it well.”
The Hanover is known for supporting career moves like Tripp’s, with their strong commitment to developing, advancing and retaining women. This approach has certainly benefited Hanover employees.
“Over my decade at The Hanover, I’ve certainly seen more women hired into roles traditionally held by men,” says Tripp. “It is encouraging to see these efforts start to become more ingrained in the fabric of our culture, and I am thankful for the women who championed this work ahead of me, making the path a bit easier to walk.”
We spoke with Tripp about her passion for her work and how she uses her confidence to boost herself.
Tell us about your job.
My job involves working closely with both my business and IT counterparts to align technical solutions with business needs. This translates to broad responsibilities like formulating multi-year perspectives on business objectives and how they relate to investment strategies or collaborating across the enterprise to ensure strategic alignment with my counterparts.
Day-to-day, this means bringing our business and IT partners through project pre-work or partnering on solutions for initiatives. I have been in this role for about two and a half years, and it’s been exciting to see the business architecture practice continue to evolve at The Hanover as our organization has grown in size and connectivity.
What first got you interested in pursuing a career in tech?
Frankly, I fell into it! I started at The Hanover as a business analyst supporting our acquisitions while working on our business integration team. In that space, I had the opportunity to work across almost every aspect of the insurance value chain, from distribution and product development to operations and technology. It became clear through each of these integrations that the path to success was creative problem solving, rooted in listening to our business partners.
As each of these small businesses grew and our team started specializing, I naturally gravitated toward the technology space. It was not only incredibly rewarding work, but my skill set suited it well. I love digging in deep with my business partners, exploring with them to figure out exactly what they need, being able to translate their needs into technical requirements and then working through the execution of the project to see those needs come to life.
What excites you about your current projects?
I’m currently supporting our specialty portfolio at an incredible time in its maturity. Our specialty division was built over the past 15 years via the acquisition and startup of a dozen or so unique businesses, resulting in a technology portfolio that’s complex and broad.
As these businesses have matured, we’ve been working to consolidate their technical footprints to more modern product suites capable of supporting their needs. We are amid both our next big shift away from our legacy platforms for a few more business units and building our next-generation capabilities for some of our businesses sitting on more mature technologies.
It’s very cool to discuss how to move a business out of an Access database and explore what new APIs we can develop to enhance our digital distribution capabilities within the same day. No two days are the same, and it’s exciting to think about how different our technical landscape will look over the next few years.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced as a woman in tech?
The combination of being young and a woman has led to a perceived lack of credibility or respect at times. Fortunately for me, I was raised by an incredibly strong mother and surrounded by strong female figures, so confident behavior was modeled for me from an early age. Additionally, I’ve mostly worked alongside individuals and teams that have respected me for the work I produce, regardless of my age or gender.
So, when I’ve faced someone who’s dismissive or more overtly disrespectful, my foundation holds strong; I speak up when I believe something needs to be said and trust my abilities.
Does your company provide any resources or programs to support women in your field?
The Hanover is very committed to inclusion and diversity efforts. Some of these efforts have manifested into business resource groups such as Women in IT (WIT) and Women at Hanover ([email protected]) or sponsorship for women’s leadership conferences, while others evolved into longer-term strategies focused on the advancement of women in both hiring and career development practices.
Over my decade at The Hanover, I’ve certainly seen more women hired into roles traditionally held by men. It is encouraging to see these efforts start to become more ingrained in the fabric of our culture, and I am thankful for the women who championed this work ahead of me, making the path a bit easier to walk.
What is something you’re especially good at at work?
A colleague once asked me if I had “translator” on my resume, and not because of a hidden bilingual superpower. The analytical side of my brain has always driven me to ask a lot of questions so that I can understand exactly how something works or precisely why it’s done a certain way and how that fits into the bigger picture.
Developing this ground-up view allows me to both effectively communicate business strategy to my IT partners, including the technical implications, as well as distill seemingly complex technical jargon down to the impactful takeaways for my business partners. This ability to speak both “languages” fluently has served me well as I’ve moved between roles in the business and IT.
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
To paraphrase: “No one cares if you’re right; they care if they’re heard and valued.”
When I first started my career, eager to prove myself, I fell into a practice of racing to the “right” answer and dragging everyone along with me. I correlated my value to the organization with my ability to get to the answer first. Putting this advice into practice completely changed the way I approached my work and relationships with the larger community. I shifted from hearing people speak, anxious to tell them that I had already solved their problem, to listening to both the explicit request and the implicit unasked questions. Not only have I learned so much more through this approach, but our teams have been able to make much more collaborative, inclusive decisions, leading to more productive and aligned outcomes.
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