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Winner Announced: 2015 AILA NSW Ron Shorter Award for Professionalism in Public Speaking

2015 Ron Shorter Award (NSW) - finalists and judges

AILA NSW hosted the final of the fourth consecutive Ron Shorter Memorial Award on 21 April 2015. 

The award was conceptualised by Mr Shorter before his untimely passing and has become a key event on the AILA NSW calendar.

The Award continues to grow in popularity. Young insurance professionals are eager to participate.  The insurance industry is keen to attend the final so they can experience the presentation of critical industry issues by young professionals who have had the benefit of public speaking training.

This year AILA NSW received a record number of applications - the final was sold out over a week in advance.

Three finalists were picked following a workshop facilitated by Polaris coaching. At the end of the workshop each participant used their newfound skills to speak on their selected insurance topic for two minutes.  Ms Sarah Mellowes of DLA Piper, one of the successful 20 applicants, said of the workshop:

"...thank you for the amazing workshop. It was such a well-run event and I learnt so much about public speaking and presenting. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience."

The 20 applicants included one reinsurer, a loss adjuster, two brokers, four underwriters and 12 insurance lawyers. Following Allianz's Benjamin Briscoe's win of the 2014 Award, it is evident that insurance industry participation is growing - which is encouraging to AILA.

The three finalists selected following the workshop were Ms Divya Pahawa from Meridian Lawyers, Mr Naseer Taseer from GT Insurance and Mr Mark Slaven from McCabes Lawyers. 

Each received further coaching from Polaris prior to the final, which was held at Colin Biggers & Paisley's offices on 21 April 2015.

Ms Pahawa blended humour with sound legal principles and key insurance coverage issues in relation to medical malpractice.  

Mr Slaven spoke passionately about the impact of climate change on the insurance industry and made recommendations as to how the insurance industry could lobby governments, educate consumers, and perhaps mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Mr Taseer spoke charismatically about the importance of insurance brokers and their critical importance in protecting consumers of insurance products.

The Judging Panel comprised Justice Nigel Rein of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Dallas Booth, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Insurance Brokers Association, and Leanne Mezrani the Editor of Lawyers Weekly. 

When announcing Ms Pahawa of Meridian Lawyers as the winner, His Honour was at pains to express how close the final decision was, crediting Mr Slaven for the substance of his presentation and Mr Naseer for his authoritative delivery as to why brokers are so critical to the insurance industry.

As regards Ms Pahawa, His Honour stated that she articulated salient facts about medical malpractice insurance which were finely balanced with humour and was the clear winner on the night. Congratulations Divya.

The Victorian Chapter of AILA has launched the Ron Shorter Award for the first time in 2015.  Applications are closing on 1 May 2015. The Award will be held on 30 July 2015 at Colin Biggers & Paisley's offices in Melbourne.  The Victorian Award is proudly sponsored by Colin Biggers & Paisley and Unisearch.  For any questions about the Victorian Award please contact Susan Vidler on (02) 8274 2811 or by emailing president@aila.com.au

The Ron Shorter Award will be back in NSW in 2016. The dates will be advised in November 2015. 

Well done to all who participated in this year's competition. We look forward to an even greater competition in 2016.

AILA NSW would like to thank Polaris Coaching for the excellent training it provides to participants of the Ron Shorter Award, and Colin Biggers & Paisley for their ongoing sponsorship.

2015 Ron Shorter Award (NSW) winner - Divya Pahawa



PO Box 4295 Burwood East VIC 3151
1300 699 140 office@aila.com.au



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