The 2018 ALPA Fairfax Media Agency Award winner was announced at the ALPA AGM dinner on October 19. The award went to Jake Kennedy from Elders Clermont. Jake has been an agent for five years and was the Queensland finalist for the national judging. I was on the Queensland judging panel for the award this year and it was reassuring to meet such strong talent in the Queensland candidates. The future is in good hands if the candidates are any indication.
The Agency Award has evolved over the years however it is still true to its roots in that it recognises a person who works in the agency industry with less than 10 years’ experience who demonstrates strong marketing initiatives, client service focus and most of all integrity in their work.
I was fortunate to win the award in 2011 when it was called the Mike Nixon Award. The prize is an agricultural study tour of western Canada with Quadrant Tours and includes the Calgary Stampede, various saleyard visits and $1000 spending money. This really was a trip of a lifetime and a tremendous prize for someone still making their career as an agent. The marketing opportunity the award offers is also valuable. Media coverage, networking and career progression opportunities are all a part of the rewards.
The Agency Award offers the same prizes as the ALPA National Young Auctioneers Competition, which is popular across the nation. So why is it that some years we struggle for entries? I believe nominating for this award is a good opportunity to articulate who you are, how you operate and to hone your pitch. This is useful in being clear on your practice and clear about what you offer clients. The flip side of this is for employers or supervisors. If you have someone in your team who fits the criteria then encourage and mentor them. If they win they bring great publicity to your business. If they don’t win then they have gone through a process that will bring more focus to their work.
Now is the time to start thinking about the award. Referees are important. They need to be available for a telephone conversation; they need to be articulate – able to talk about the difference you make to their business; they need to know what you have said in your nomination – send them a copy when you submit it; and they need to be reminded when it gets close – when you have your interview date call you referees and remind them they should expect a call. Do some research on who is on the interview panel, understand their background – it could come in handy answering questions. Cultivate a positive profile and a positive presence in the industry. There is not much to lose and plenty to gain if we start working now, whether supporting a colleague to enter or preparing to enter yourself.
- Stephanie Whitaker is a member of Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association (ALPA).