While the 2020 Australian Mortgage Awards undoubtedly looked a bit different from the usual black-tie soiree, the industry proved its commitment and creativity as people celebrated the night in their respective homes, offices or in virtual hangs across the country, bringing the same high level of enthusiasm to the event as felt in years past.
In fact, many of the evening's winners highlighted the ways in which COVID-19 and the associated social distancing restrictions have actually brought their teams closer and deepened their relationships across the industry.
According to La Trobe Financial Broker of the Year - Commercial award winner, Greg Pierlot, the pandemic has facilitated greater collaboration and support among his team – a sentiment the group carried into its digital AMAs watch party.
“I was extremely delighted to win this prestigious award given the high quality of the candidates that were nominated,” said Pierlot, the principal broker at Melbourne’s The 500 Group.
“We watched the awards as a team via Zoom, and whilst unable to be together, we were still able to celebrate as though at the awards night.”
Pierlot's enthusiasm was matched by FBAA Broker of the Year – Independent, Kris Menon; Menon, tuning into the event from his home, shared that he shouted so loudly upon the announcement of his win that he scared his 23-year-old son who was in another room.
“I couldn’t believe what had happened because the competition was huge. I did not give myself a chance … I was pleased to be in the top 10,” he said.
“I went for a long walk because my heart was beating so fast.”
Showing the true depth of the close-knit interpersonal connections that mark Australia’s finance industry, Choice manager Rob De Bari rang Menon to congratulate him on his win – from his hospital bed.
For other winners, the awards going digital enabled the night to become a family affair. Belinda Gibson of TM Finance Group watched the proceedings at home, with her daughter by her side.
When her firm was named 2020 Brokerage of the Year – Diversification, the two of them “leapt from their chairs screaming”.
Aaron and Bernadette Christie-David of Atelier Wealth celebrated being named Brokerage of the Year (1 to 5 staff) at home with their two-year-old child.
“The Key Media team did an incredible job to make the AMAs special, and we’re so happy for the winners and finalists who were recognised,” said Aaron.
For more AMA coverage, check out Issue 17.21 of Australian Broker – out Monday, 2 October