Ron Shorter Award
The Ron Shorter Memorial Award was established in 2012 and is a competition to assist young insurance industry professionals to develop their public speaking skills.
Participants also benefit by raising their profile, speaking publicly on an insurance topic of their choice and meeting peers and luminaries from the insurance industry. Additionally, there are a number of prizes awarded including the Ron Shorter Memorial Award trophy.
Twenty applicants from each participating State are selected to attend the intensive public speaking training workshops and they apply the skills they have learnt to deliver a two-minute presentation on the topic they set out in their application. A panel of judges select three finalists who receive further one-on-one training and compete in the final, in their State.
At the finals, the participants present for 15 minutes on their nominated topic to an audience of 80-100 peers and luminaries from across the insurance industry and a panel of high profile industry representatives.
Past winners of the awards are:
2012 – Eden Winokur (NSW)
2013 – Patrick Williams (NSW)
2014 – Benjamin Briscoe (NSW)
2015 – Divya Pahwa (NSW) and Alex Morrel (VIC)
2016 – Tenniele Horton (QLD), Natalie Donnan (NSW) and Erica Lawson (VIC)
2017 - Melusha Robson (WA), Naazihah Jamal (QLD), Jackson McDonald (NSW/SA) & Rumesh Gnanaseelan (VIC/TAS)
2018 - Ananya Tiwari (VIC/SA/ACT) Anna Baker (WA) Scott Simmons (NSW) and Yen Tran (QLD)
About Ron Shorter
Ron Shorter was a Practice Manager at Colin Biggers & Paisley Lawyers in Sydney up until his untimely passing in 2012. He was a long‐time contributor and supporter of AILA. Ron inspired and mentored many young professionals. He recognised that the
need to confidently speak publicly was a vital skill for all insurance professionals wanting to advance their careers. The competition seeks to equip young insurance industry professionals with these skills.
Here’s what some of our past winners have said about participating in the awards:
“Participating in the Ron Shorter Memorial Award was one of the greatest things that I have done in my career. The competition encourages you to choose a topic that you are passionate about and over the course of a few months, it morphs from a few sentences into a 10-15 minute presentation that you deliver in front of over a hundred people without any palm cards, lectern or slides. I entered the competition to build some confidence and learn some different strategies to communicate effectively with a range of audiences. The prospect of presenting a speech without the “safety blanket” of notes or a lectern was terrifying at the start of the competition. But the training I received from Polaris was excellent and helped to equip me with the skills needed to tackle anything from one on one communications to conferences to presenting in front of large groups. The support from AILA, its members and the sponsors of the competition was immense and very encouraging at both the state finals and the National Conference. I also found that the competition was a great way to meet new people and learn more about our industry. Winning the competition and having the opportunity to attend the National Conference in Adelaide was a huge bonus, but I’ve taken away so much more than that from this experience. I would strongly encourage everyone to participate – there is always something more to learn!”
Tenniele Horton – 2016 Winner for QLD
“The Ron Shorter Awards experience was, in all honesty, equal parts terrifying and rewarding.
I learnt a lot in a very short space of time – both about the content of my topic (Game of Drones) as well as life-long tools for public speaking. As I moved through the stages I became a more comfortable speaker and began to enjoy the experience, even with the nerves. The Awards provide an excellent opportunity to engage in the (sometimes feared) networking game, as well as the chance to form solidarity with other young insurance professionals who you will no doubt move up the ranks with over time. If you are contemplating giving the Awards a crack, I urge you to back yourself and have a go.”
Natalie Donnan – 2016 Winner for NSW
“Participating in the Ron Shorter Award not only refined and polished my public speaking skills, boosted my confidence and gave me the opportunity to speak in front of a crowd but it also helped me develop my professional network and introduced me to new friends. The process taught me how to present a compelling and engaging speech, from the structure of my speech to how to stand (including “what the hell do I do with my hands!”.). All skills that I will continue to use and improve for the rest of my professional life. As terrifying as the idea of speaking in front of a crowd once was, I now relish at the opportunity to stand up again and speak in a public forum, to share my passion and inspire others. I encourage anyone who wishes to improve their public speaking skills to get involved, there is something for everyone to learn. Needless to say, I found the experience invaluable and I extend my sincerest gratitude to those who worked so hard to put such an incredible event together.”
Erica Lawson – 2016 Winner for VIC
“Participating in the Ron Shorter Award was an invaluable experience for me. Apart from the industry exposure and networking opportunities that comes with participating in this prestigious award, the coaching had a profound impact on my personal and professional development. It allowed me to dispel the preconceptions I had about my limitations in public speaking as I learned how to work with my strengths and enjoy public speaking.”
Divya Pahwa – 2015 Winner for NSW