Val Baker Award Finalists Announced

Mon, 27/03/2017

The finalists for the prestigious Valerie Baker Memorial Award have just been announced. The Valerie Baker Memorial Award recognises excellence in professional practice in the General Insurance intermediary sector, including both broking and underwriting agencies.  It is awarded nationally and is sponsored jointly by Gold Seal, AIMS and the Steadfast Group with notable support from Lloyd’s Australia and Lloyd’s of London.

The 2017 finalists are:

1.     Karyll Dean – PSC Connect

2.     John Farrell – Steadfast Taswide

3.     Karen Hardy – ACME Insurance Brokers

4.     Maria Parry – Austcover

The winner will receive a career enhancing opportunity to see first-hand how the London Market operates. The prize includes:

  • Expenses-paid trip to London - business class air fares and accommodation
  • An education experience tailored to the winner’s special interests
  • Career enhancing meetings and networking with key underwriters and brokers
  • Thorough familiarisation of Lloyd’s of London and meeting with senior managers

“The achievements of each entrant and the finalists in particular help underline the high esteem the Valerie Baker Award is held in by the industry” said Sheila Baker, Managing Director Gold Seal, “The Valerie Baker Award is of great personal significance to me, and more importantly, it’s wonderful to see the talented professionals who are nominated for the Award.

“I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of all the nominees in submitting the application. They always say that it was a very hard job to talk about their own achievements. I know the winner will be a testament to the Australia insurance intermediary sector” Baker continued.

Here is a snapshot of the finalists’ achievements:

Karyll Dean – PSC Connect

Karyll has been an active part of the underwriting and broking fraternity for over 25 years, going from strength to strength during that time. Following 5 years she took out to go travelling, her decision was to return to the Insurance industry at a time she could have chosen just about any career. She has been part of PSC Connect since 2011, and has overseen its successful growth to the organisation it is today.

John Farrell – Steadfast Taswide

John has been with Steadfast Taswide for over 8 years and during that period has progressed from Account Executive, to State Sales Manager and now Shareholder and Director.  In 2016, John was nominated for the NIBA Broker of the Year and was runner-up in the Victoria/Tasmania region.

Karen Hardy – ACME Insurance Brokers

Karen opened the doors of ACME Insurance Brokers 21 years ago and has become of one the industry’s success stories. She was named as an Elite Broker from 2013 to 2016 by Insurance Business and was on the Insurance Business Hot List in 2014 and 2015. She is highly regarded by her industry peers and her loyal client base.

Maria Parry – Austcover

Maria has been with Austcover for an astounding 29 years, rising from Receptionist to CEO in that time. She was the Warren Tickle Award winner in 1995 and in 2016 NIBA’s Student of the Year. She is an accomplished manager and leader, determined and resilient and has an outstanding reputation throughout the industry.

Finalists will be interviewed by the judging panel:

·       Chris Mackinnon, General Representative Lloyd’s Australia

·       Jim Rudkin, representing the Steadfast Grou

·       Martin McAvenna, representing the AIMS Group

·       Sheila Baker, Managing Director of Gold Seal.


Following the interviews they will select a winner based on both their interviews, references and application.

The prize is taken up in London to acknowledge and underline the importance of London Market knowledge to Australian intermediaries and due to Valerie Baker’s affiliation and achievements there.

The award will be announced at a function to be held at Lloyd's Australia's premises on 11 May 2017. 


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