Sleeping under the stars in a swag on the red dirt, not showering for three days, pushing a 4WD out of a sand dune and cooking damper from scratch – Gallagher 2014 Warren Tickle Memorial Award winner Adele May’s Vero Red Centre Experience was a total immersion.
As a Vero Young Brokers alumna, May joined 14 others plus hosts and guides to spend three days in the outback travelling the desert north of Alice Springs and back to Uluru in the inaugural Red Centre Experience program for past Young Professional Broker of the Year finalists.
Along the way they stopped off to see 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 where they could shower, eat in a restaurant and “become human again”, she says.
With the outback environment’s challenging conditions, including corrugated roads and red dirt that got everywhere, “nothing was in our control”, May says. “We lost the film crew at one point!”
But watching how 15 people between their 20s and their 50s “got off planes from five different states and mingled and dealt with each other” was the most rewarding aspect of the experience, she says.
“The group dynamic happened immediately” – which it needed to with everyone sharing driving duties, primitive toilets and sleeping in a common area. “Though on the second night we ditched the guys and the women moved to their own area,” May laughs, adding that her South Australian family’s rural background came in handy for coping with the conditions – and enabled her to win the damper competition.
“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. We realised they had worked together for something like 15 years and we saw how well they operated with each other.”
This was a valuable learning, she says, but even more so the camaraderie among the alumni, who corresponded prior to the trip to organise the donations to the Titjikala community. “We were already cooperating with each other from before the start,” she notes. “We bonded very quickly.”
This was confirmed by the tour guide who congratulated them on being easy to manage – compared to previous tour groups where some participants “got voted off the island”.
“There were no whingers in our group,” May says with pride.
The Red Centre Experience invitees were:
2019 Young Professional Broker of the Year finalists
Nicholas Daffy, PNO Insurance, Vic/Tas
Scott Hardiman, Bruce Chiene Insurance Brokers, NSW/ACT
Caitlin Carson, JLT, Qld
Jordyn Gilbert, Zenith Insurance Services, WA
Jessica Dametto, Webber Insurance Group, SA/NT
Warren Tickle Memorial Award National Winners
2018 Craig Anderson, Austbrokers ABS, NSW
Runner-up Leigh Moulden, Doreen Insurance Solutions, Vic
2016 Noel Kelly, AEI Transport, NSW
2015 Luke Chrzanowski, Tresidder Insurance Group, Vic
2014 Adele May, Gallagher, Vic
(Watch a video wrap featuring particpants here.)
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