VP heads sponsorship portfolio
by Kate Tilley, editor, Resolve
AILA has Oscar Shub, now a partner with Clyde & Co in Sydney, to thank for Steve Williams's contribution to the association.
Perth-based Steve is AILA's national vice-president and has been a member since about 1988. Ten years ago his involvement increased and he has served as a WA committee member, chapter secretary and then chair. He has also chaired WA's education sub-committee and continues to assist Tim Searle with that work.
Steve (above with his wife, Claire) is a partner in Kott Gunning's insurance and risk practice group.
In 1988, he was working in Perth firm Parker & Parker with Oscar, who was one of the driving forces in AILA's establishment in WA. He mentored and encouraged others in the firm to get involved, and that began Steve's long association with AILA.
He eventually joined the WA committee and subsequently the national board in a bid to "give something back", having appreciated the education and networking opportunities that assisted him as his career advanced.
Steve has found the past several years of helping the national board bring the chapters closer together, by achieving efficiencies while balancing the states' autonomy, very rewarding. He credits past president Sue Vidler and current president Angus Kench for making AILA more accountable and professional.
Despite serving as national VP since November 2016, Steve has no plans to follow Angus or Sue into the top job. After Perth hosts the national conference this year, he'll step down from official roles but remain a committed AILA member.
He doesn't think he has the time needed for the presidential role. "With the best will in the world, I don't think I could do that job. You need to be dedicated and acknowledge that you have the time available to do it," he told Resolve.
"I've loved my time with AILA but it's time to re-invigorate the organisation by engaging with more Young Professionals. I want to hand the baton to YPs and get them involved at state and board levels."
Like Oscar, his valued mentor of the past, Steve will be on the lookout for promising YPs. He cites WA 2017 Ron Shorter award winner Melusha Robson, who has joined the WA committee, as an example.
Steve acknowledges insurance law can be a "tight, collegiate industry" but wants to push membership into peripheral areas. "We want to broaden the reach, make sure everyone knows AILA and knows it's not just an association for lawyers, insurers and brokers, but for everyone involved with insurance."
On the board, Steve has taken on the sponsorship portfolio for the national conference and is preparing a draft prospectus. "I thoroughly enjoyed working on the last national conference we hosted in WA and am looking forward to this one. We have a great committee, led by Fiona Dempster, all working hard towards staging a great event in 2018."
He says AILA has some generous, regular sponsors who value their association with the organisation and he sees "no sign of that tradition falling away".
Outside work, Steve's a keen rugby supporter (still in mourning for the passing of the Western Force), an amateur astronomer and helps his wife, Claire, in their garden. Steve says his role is to "dig holes and mow lawns", while Claire has the green thumb.
He has two adult daughters, one in her final year at university and one teaching in the United Kingdom.