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The value of applying for the Valerie Baker Memorial Award: Rocco Pirrello, GSA Insurance Brokers

Rocco Pirrello is the Manager, Operations and Brand at GSA Insurance Brokers who applied for the Valerie Baker Memorial Award in 2018, and was subsequently nominated as a finalist. His impressive entry led the panel to do a deal with his employer, GSA Insurance Brokers: they would send him to London to do the Lloyd’s and London market experience Rocco would have received if he had won the award, if GSA would pay for the airfares. Generously, GSA agreed.

He was asked to sum up his feelings about being a finalist.

1. What has being a finalist in the Valerie Baker Memorial Award meant to you and also to your employer, GSA?

I was and still am delighted to have been named a finalist for the Valerie Baker Memorial Award. In applying I learnt a lot about the person Valerie Baker was, and the legacy that Sheila Baker has continued. It was inspiring to learn what they have done and the values they exemplify. Being recognised for sharing a similar attitude was truly humbling.

GSA has been truly supportive throughout the journey. It’s a great place to work largely because of the trusting space it creates for you to be yourself and express your initiative. I received a host of support from the people at GSA and am truly grateful for that.

2. How do you feel about being asked to join the judging panel?

It’s an honour. I learned so much from the application process and am so excited about being selected to visit Lloyd’s of London. I’m thrilled to get another opportunity to be exposed to something new with being part of the judging panel. The judges are so passionate about the industry and I look forward to sharing in their enthusiasm. With 9 years in insurance I consider myself rather inexperienced in comparison; however I do hope that I can bring some fresh thoughts to the process. I’m also looking forward to meeting some more great people in our industry and learning from them.

3. What do you expect to learn most from the trip to London in October 2019?

I’m certain that it will be an enriching trip and I’m counting down until my trip.. My main vision for the trip is to absorb as much as I can. I would like to go into the trip with an open mind and learn how the marketplace operates, how the people in the industry relate, how clients see value in their insurance brokers, and ultimately how the global and London community values Lloyd’s. By absorbing it all with an open mind, I hope to bring back some new initiatives to Australia to further increase the value insurance brings to our community.

4. What would you say to anyone thinking about entering the Award?

Simply, make sure you apply. Often people think applying will take a lot of time but the process is not as arduous as you might first think. In fact, it was an enjoyable exercise that allowed me to reach out and speak to a number of people at GSA and in my greater network. Putting together a response served as a wonderful barometer to understand more about myself, where I am at and where I want to be. I still have my response and interview notes in the front pocket of my folder and refer back to them.

Beyond that, as a finalist I had a great experience throughout the interview process. I did some coaching with our CEO, Paul Hines and other leaders within GSA in preparation. The 1 hour interview involved a really enriching conversation with the judges – I learned a great deal from speaking with them.


More information about Valerie Baker is available here https://www.goldseal.com.au/valerie-baker-award/our-founder/ .

If you are interested in nominating a person for the Award or in applying, please go to the link on the Gold Seal website https://www.goldseal.com.au/valerie-baker-award/nomination-and-application-process/ and follow the steps as outlined.

If you feel you fulfil the brief, or you know a high achiever who does, your nomination for this excellent Award will strengthen their career in accordance with their talent.

It’s a straightforward process but any potential candidates feeling a little daunted are cordially invited to give Sheila Baker from Gold Seal a call, and she will help all comers through the application process.