Several promising young brokers have reflected on their recent outback adventure, after being selected to take part in Vero’s inaugural Red Centre Experience.
The program brought together this year’s finalists for the NIBA Young Professional Broker of the Year Award, as well as previous national winners of the Warren Tickle Memorial Award.
“We’ve also got some of our Vero executives here,” said Sarah Moltzen, national manager of strategic relationships at Vero. “It’s about bringing together the group, making sure they have that strong network, learning about ourselves, testing ourselves, and giving us tools to take back into the office to share with our colleagues.”
During the three-day trip, participants saw the Napwerte/Ewaninga rock carvings, delivered goods to the remote Titjikala Indigenous community in the Simpson Desert, and negotiated sandhills to camp at the geographical centre of Australia – before making the long trip south to Uluru.
Adele May, regional manager for insolvency and turnaround at Gallagher, was among the 10 brokers invited to travel across the desert and said relationships formed very quickly among the cohort.
“The group dynamic happened immediately,” she said, adding that everyone pitched in when it came to driving duties, shared the most primitive of toilets, and then slept in the same common area.
“At night, the Vero executives told us their leadership stories about their experiences with good and bad management and how it can affect a company or team,” said May. “We realised they had worked together for something like 15 years and we saw how well they operated with each other.”
Andrew Mair, executive general manager of intermediaries for Suncorp, was among the leaders sharing stories of a lifetime in insurance.
“We’re continuing to build on the investment we’ve made into the Warren Tickle Award,” said Mair, explaining the motivation behind the initiative. “We’ve been involved for 30 years and we thought it was time to look at how we continue to evolve the value of the award, not just in terms of winning it but also how we build that network.”
Caitlin Carson, Victorian head of FINPRO corporate for Marsh, agreed and said the trip had instilled in her the importance of a strong support system.
“I think one of the most essential things you need to think about when you’re going through challenging times is not taking it all on yourself,” said Carson. “I think it’s about bringing in people who can help and working together as a team – and that’s what we’ve had to do over the past couple of days to get through it.”
Scott Hardiman, director at Bruce Chiene Insurance Brokers, also weighed in on what he’d learned from the trip – particularly when it comes to varying viewpoints.
“Dealing with customers, sometimes we get very narrow-minded on how we approach things,” said Hardiman. “This experience has improved my customer understanding through seeing how different people live and trying to build on my own personal character and how I deal with other people and understanding their situations and circumstances.”