Women of ELEMENT: Nadin Rusinova (She/Her)

At ELEMENT, we’re immensely proud of the incredibly talented women working in our various teams. Our “Women of ELEMENT” series highlights the incredible female talent committed to redefining the future of insurance. Our purpose is simple; to increase awareness of women’s roles in a traditionally male-dominated industry, and to highlight the expertise and passion these women bring to their roles each and every day.

Our guest in this edition is Nadin Rusinova who is the Product Owner in our payments team.


Tell us a little about your background. Why did you decide upon a career in insurance?

I’ve always been working at the intersection between Business and Tech teams, and I really enjoy this role.

I still can’t say that I have preferences in a specific business field, and I have always been curious about different Products and Projects. Looking back on my career path, I can say that I’m more of a Generalist, and this helps me to jump into new domains and help the team build the product more consciously.

To be honest, I’ve never considered a switch to the InsurTech before I moved to Germany, but I remember a story which impressed me a lot and I think influenced my choice. We wanted to buy several standard insurance policies for the family after relocation, and we found that extremely confusing in Berlin. 

In the beginning, it was quite complicated to navigate between different companies that offered various insurance packages. Even though we completed some online forms, we had to visit various offices, spend a lot of time talking and choosing multiple options to include/exclude and see how it affected the price. The pricing model was very inflexible as It was almost impossible to remove items that one didn’t need because the program wouldn't allow us to do so.

After that hurdle was crossed, we received a paper contract to read and check again, with SEPA being the only payment option available. In that time, SEPA was not very popular outside the borders of Germany. This got me thinking, and I tried to understand why the process was cumbersome and difficult. 

When I started looking for a new job opportunity in Berlin, Element contacted me, it was Katarzyna, our ex-VP of Tech Product. I was so impressed with the product description and realized that lack of automation and clarity is a huge challenge for the insurance industry. I decided that ELEMENT was the right place for me to join, as it was a perfect combination of tech and business.  Working here, I see that our everyday job has an impact on customers' happiness and improves the industry practice in general.

 

What do you enjoy most about your role as a Product Owner for Payments?

I think I’m very lucky to work with great teams. I’m a very people-centric person, and it makes me happy to see how people grow within the company and how our products more mature together with us. Not only that, but I really love to engage with others to build better products and a better version of the future.

Another important aspect is seeing results. I believe it’s one of the best benefits of my role: I see how ideas are born at a very early stage and after some time and in most cases after a hard job I can see the result. I see people use our products and how it makes their life easier.

 

Your career is very impressive, what skills/traits would you attribute to your personal and professional success?

I used to study and later work in a very male-dominated sector. I see that now it’s getting more balanced across companies as compared to 10 years ago when I started my career. That’s the reason, why it’s hard to notice that we still have a gender inequity here. I see that more and more women join the tech industry and for our teams, it is not a special event when women come to job interviews for Seniors or Manager positions.

I think working in a traditionally very male sector had a very significant impact on my carrier development and my beliefs. On one hand, I understood that nobody has to make concessions to me only because I’m a female and at the same time I was convinced that there is no job for males or females only. It’s more beneficial for everyone to find a way to work together and support each other, instead of opposing people against each other based on their gender.

Of course, I worked in different environments, and I observed how the topic of Women in tech is changing. I believe now it’s not about Women only, It’s in general about humanity and respect. In a progressive and friendly environment, it is easier to treat each other with respect and care personally about human rights.

Unfortunately, there are still many companies who do not have friendly work atmosphere in their companies and teams. I think part of managers' responsibilities is to find like-minded people and build a safe and progressive space to work. Here, communication is of course a key pillar in creating this.

 

 

What is your experience of diversity in the insurance industry? And how is it changing?

I can’t say about the whole industry as I joined ELEMENT a bit more than a year ago and this is my first experience with insurance. I can compare it to other companies and traditions in tech across the last 10 years.

I'm really elated to work at ELEMENT, and I feel thankful for the support that I’m getting here. We have flexible working hours and agreements in teams when we meet to share updates or to work on some topics when collaboration is needed. In general, people are free to negotiate when they are comfortable starting or finishing the day. This flexibility for me is of utmost importance as I’m a mom, and living with children is always full of surprises. My colleagues treat me with understanding if I have to reschedule something due to a “parents’ emergency”. This flex working culture supports not only women but also men to take care of children and families proactively. I think Element is the first place where I met so many men who were back after their maternity leaves. I remember times when it was exclusively women's duty, and I’m glad to see this significant change.

Another nice surprise at ELEMENT is that my manager Anna challenges me to learn new things and bring best practices. We have a learning budget and one of our talking points during 1-1 is how to keep the knowledge and expertise in the team updated. That excites me a lot because I see it as a good investment in my personal future.

 

What advice do you have for women looking to enter the industry?

Check our career page, we are looking for people like you.

Seriously, just try it. Choose the company where you feel that you are happy, you are respected as you are, and you have the opportunity to learn.



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