Lessons learnt from 2019 Warren Tickle Award Winner

By  Vero Insurance

Six months after winning the 2019 Warren Tickle Memorial Award, we sat down with broker Caitlin Carson from Marsh to find out more about her Young Broker Alumni experience, what it felt like to win the national award, and the journey which has followed.

Being acknowledged as a Young Professional Broker of the Year at a regional level was just the start of the experience for Caitlin, who was humbled to go on to receive the Warren Tickle Memorial Award last October. The award recognises a young insurance broker who exhibits an outstanding level of professionalism and integrity and is the pinnacle of achievement for Australian’s young broker community.

Caitlin Carson reflects fondly on the experience and recalls the surprise and delight in being part of the experience.

“I felt honoured to be part of the Young Broker Alumni experience and valued standing alongside my peers as I gained skills, grew relationships and connected with my peers, industry executives and members of the community,” Caitlin recalled.

The Red Centre Experience was definitely a highlight of the Young Broker Alumni experience as it enabled the 2019 Alumni group and winners of previous years to come together in Alice Springs and share a truly unique experience.

“We learnt a lot about personal development, leadership, each other, and the impact we can have on not only our customers but also community.”

In October, her success continued to be recognised when Caitlin received the Vero-sponsored Warren Tickle Memorial Award at the NIBA Conference on the Gold Coast.

“It was a shock to win the award, and honestly quite surreal as I had a huge amount of respect and admiration for the other finalists. I felt really grateful to have been given this acknowledgement so set my sights on making the most of this opportunity and award,” she said.

As the recipient of the Warren Tickle Memorial Award, Caitlin was able to take advantage of a development trip to the destination of her choice thanks to Vero. She harnessed this opportunity, travelling to the Yale School of Management’s Women Leadership Program in New Haven, Connecticut (USA).

The esteemed course was held across four days during February and connected participants from across the world to embark on a journey of discovery, leadership and learning.

Caitlin explained that each of the attendees came from different walks of life. From software experts at the very best firms, academics, doctors, nurses, journalists, marketing managers, engineers and even an artificial intelligence specialist.

Throughout the course, Caitlin and the group of women were exposed to lectures and training and tested with challenges, assignments and exercises to build their skills and leadership.

It focused on the strengths of different styles of leaders and how each individual could harness their existing skills.

“The course acknowledged that women possess certain strengths when it comes to leadership generally in terms of interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and communication. The course helped me deepen my understanding of how others viewed me and my leadership skills,” Caitlin explained.

“Yale was incredible, in terms of the content, the calibre of the lectures and the challenges. I knew I was in for something big, but I didn’t realise just how big until I had a chance to reflect a few days after the course concluded.”

“A more unexpected highlight was having dinner with the Dean in a Museum next to a full size tyrannosaurus rex fossil whilst being serenaded by an acapella group,” she said.

On reflection back in Australia, Caitlin recalled her expectations going into the course.

“I thought I’d learn some technical management and leadership skills that would benefit my team, and that perhaps I could share with other brokers.”

Instead, Caitlin returned feeling inspired and with lessons learnt that could benefit not only her career but those around her.

“The course taught me a lot about how I currently lead my team, and how I want to lead into the future. For example, according to Yale’s studies younger managers tend to be autocratic in their decision making, wanting to control every decision and often believing they are protecting their teams from stress by doing so but in fact this lowers participation, engagement in decision making, stumps development and confidence,” she said.

“I was no exception to this rule, and the desire for everything to be ‘perfect’ has created many sleepless nights. So I’ve told my team that I’ll be giving them more room to make their own decisions, and letting them develop in their own way, letting them fail a little bit in order to learn but always supporting them so they know that it is safe to do so.”

“I came away with a greater understanding of how people viewed me, and the power that gave me as a person. It has made me more confident and helped me find strength in myself that I didn’t know I was lacking.”

Caitlin’s advice to other professionals following her experience is to be realistic about your capabilities and maintain a sense of self. Seize the opportunities available to you and don’t apologise for being good at what you do.

Vero National Manager Strategic Relationships, Sarah Moltzen said that Vero is proud to work with NIBA in supporting young brokers such as Caitlin in growing their skills and harnessing their potential.

“We are thrilled that Caitlin had such a terrific experience and look forward to seeing what she achieves over the coming months and years.

“While NIBA’s Young Broker of the Year Awards may be virtual this year due to COVID-19, we will still be recognising and celebrating the achievements of emerging talented brokers.

“Development is integral for each of us and we will continue to support brokers in building their careers and servicing their customers,” Ms Moltzen said.