Scholarship & Award Winners 2021
A.H.B. “Spoon” Wotherspoon Memorial Scholarship
IBABC is pleased to announce that its 2021 A.H.B. “Spoon” Wotherspoon Memorial Scholarship recipient for $1,000, is Moira O’Donoghue of North Vancouver.
Moira graduated from the Crofton House School in Vancouver this year and has been accepted to the business programs at the University of Toronto and McGill University. She is particularly interested in insurance and law as well as the synergies between business and technology.
During her time at Crofton House, Moira excelled in academics, taking various advanced classes. It was through these classes that her interest in business and technology was sparked, inspiring her to launch her own baking business, complete with a website, online ordering system, and social media following.
Outside the classroom, she has been active in many clubs and activities such as the Care Canada Youth Council where she’s helped organize events for International Women’s Day. She’s also been the deputy chief adjudicator for the University of B.C.’s elementary schools debate tournament, a senior debate-team member since 2016, a member of the track and field team, club captain for the Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders Club, and a mentor for members of the debate team. Moira also held a summer job at South Western Insurance Group as an underwriting assistant.
Moira is the daughter of Rory O’Donoghue, a branch manager at South Western Insurance Group in Vancouver.
Autoplan Brokers Legacy Scholarship
Melissa Nguyen from Vancouver is the 2021 Autoplan Brokers Legacy Scholarship recipient for $2,500.
Melissa recently graduated from Killarney Secondary in Vancouver. An accomplished student, she has received multiple awards for her academic dedication. This fall she will attend UBC to study in the business program, and she hopes to use her education to start her own non-profit organization helping homeless women find safer and secure environments.
Passionate about bettering her community, Melissa was a member of the Killarney Youth Council where she has helped fundraise for the homeless. She was inspired by Andrew Hall, founder of Mealshare, a program that aims to end youth hunger. To learn more about business and working in an organization, she joined her school’s Business Competition Club as sales manager where she built a venture that upcycled used clothes into drawstring bags. She then created the Environmental Outreach Program where she promoted upcycling to a local elementary school. This venture earned her team the Most Creative Award and raised money for the Stanley Park Ecology Society. Now as CEO of the organization, her latest project involves creating a business model for zero-waste family cooking. She says it has been a tough challenge during the pandemic, but these projects have taught her to work with empathy and have increased her leadership skills.
Recently, Melissa supported her community through her youth council which ran a food drive. She has also worked with Unite B.C. to distribute necessities to individuals impacted by COVID-19.
She is the niece of Kim Nguyen, a managing partner at Harris Insurance Services in Vancouver.
Central Agencies Ltd., Dennis MacNeill Memorial Scholarship
The 2021 recipient of the Central Agencies Ltd. Dennis MacNeill Memorial Scholarship is Jordan Thompson.
This is the first year IBABC is presenting the Central Agencies Ltd. Dennis MacNeill Memorial Scholarship. This new scholarship, sponsored by Central Agencies to honour the brokerage founder, will award $2,500 for the first year or subsequent year of a student’s post-secondary education. Applicants must show a commitment to community service and must be an employee or relative of B.C. insurance-industry practitioners. Preference is also given to applicants with a connection to an IBABC member.
Jordan is an exemplary student with multiple academic accolades who recently graduated from Brookswood Secondary School in Langley. Her high academic achievements have resulted in acceptance letters from the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, and UBC. Thompson plans to study sciences with the ultimate goal of pursuing a career in biomedical engineering. Her desire to work in STEM began in Grade 10 where she decided to pursue advanced science classes after having many positive experiences with doctors who inspired her.
She also channelled her passion for science into creating a science club at her former elementary school. She noticed that students tend to lose enthusiasm for learning science in high school, so she created a club to inspire younger students by teaching them scientific concepts through fun and innovative experiments.
Outside of the sciences, Jordan volunteers in various clubs and activities. She is an accomplished competitive dancer and dance teacher. She’s also been an active member of her school’s recreational leadership club where she helped teach leadership to Grade 7 students through physical activity. She says this experience taught her the value of helping young students become the next generation of leaders and the impact that it had on the school.
Jordan is the daughter of Barbara Thompson, a sales director at BCAA in Burnaby.
John F. Hamilton Scholarship
The 2021 John F. Hamilton Scholarship for $3,500 has been awarded to Mehtaab Singh Gill.
Despite being a busy third-year business student at SFU, Mehtaab has been an engaged member of his community, finding time to volunteer, be active in university clubs, and work part-time as a Level 1 insurance broker. His entrepreneurial drive began in high school when he created his own marketing business to help local businesses increase profits and since then has become an active member of SFU’s Beedie School of Business.
In 2019 he founded the SFU Real Estate Club in where he serves as president. In addition to this, he’s also been a part of various other clubs and extracurricular activities such as the SFU Business Administration Student Society and SFU JDC West, a prestigious undergraduate business competition in western Canada. At university, he has volunteered as a financial literacy mentor with Enactus SFU where he visited secondary schools and educated youth on saving, investing, and setting SMART goals.
Outside university, Mehtaab has found multiple ways to give back to his community. Having played many sports in high school, he began coaching basketball at a local elementary school and then moved on to coach at the bantam level at Southpointe Academy. Today, he serves as the head coach for the junior boys’ basketball team at Seaquam Secondary. For many years he has also been involved with the Akal Academy Surrey, a non-profit organization that provides education to students in rural India.
While attending school full-time and volunteering, Mehtaab is a part-time insurance broker at Westland Insurance in Delta.
John M. Toomer Scholarship
Bethany McKay is the 2021 recipient of the John M. Toomer Scholarship for $5,000.
Bethany is currently a first-year student at the University of the Fraser Valley in the Bachelor of Arts program. Her goal is to complete a Bachelor of Education degree and become a teacher so she can inspire students as her teachers inspired her. Her experiences as a junior cabin leader during summer camps taught her how to be a positive leader and helped develop her decision-making and teamwork skills. Her biggest inspiration to become an educator comes from her own teachers; to this day she remembers their names and the lessons she learned from them.
Since high school, Bethany has been a dedicated volunteer who has understood the significance of being an engaged member of her community. She currently is a youth leader with a local church and has been engaging with youth online during the pandemic to help them stay connected. In her final years at Walnut Grove Secondary, she mentored Grade 8 students to help them transition to high school life. In Grade 12 she also worked as a student aide and assisted teachers in the classroom to support student learning. Outside school, McKay has volunteered with the Fraser Valley Gleaners Society, a non-profit organization that utilizes lower-grade vegetables from local farms to create dried soups that are distributed to people in need.
Bethany is the daughter of Alison McKay, a senior claims examiner at Mutual Fire Insurance in Langley.
Vancouver Insurance Association Scholarship
The recipient of this year’s Vancouver Insurance Association Scholarship for $1,000 is Sophie West.
Sophie is currently working towards a bachelor of business administration degree at the British Columbia Institute of Technology while working as an office manager at F. Adams & Associates Insurance Services in Vancouver. She hopes her degree will enhance her management, marketing and administration knowledge to further her insurance career.
Throughout her life, Sophie has been actively engaged in her community. At the age of six she joined the B.C. Girls Choir and remained a member for 13 years. She later transitioned to Zephrya, a women’s choir, for another three years. As a member of these choirs Sophie travelled across the globe and in many cases was responsible for younger choir participants; through these experiences she learned many valuable skills such as discipline, teamwork and commitment.
In addition to choir, Sophie is passionate about the theatrical arts and has enjoyed volunteering with the local theatre and film community as a scenic artist on three short films. She has also volunteered for the Arts Club in the costume department. These opportunities taught her valuable organization and time-management skills that she applies in her role as manager.
Recently, she volunteered for the American Montessori Society where she worked remotely as a course coordinator and helped set up courses on its online platform Canvas. Through this opportunity she’s been able to collaborate with educators around the world and learn about their culture and teaching methods. This role has strengthened her communication skills and taught her to become a self-directed, globally conscious individual.
CAIB 1: Santbir Minhas Award
Hao Luo, Citistar Insurance Agencies in Vancouver, was awarded the Santbir Minhas Award of $500 for the highest mark on the CAIB 1 exam in B.C.
CAIB 2: Reliance Insurance Award
The 2021 recipient of the $500 CAIB 2 Reliance Insurance Award is Setareh Tamaddon from Poco Insurance Agencies in Port Coquitlam.
CAIB 3: Renate M. Mueller Consultants Recognition Award
The $500 Renate M. Mueller Consultants Recognition Award for the highest CAIB 3 mark in B.C. was awarded to Yi Cheng Kuan from BCAA in Burnaby.
CAIB 4: Park Georgia Insurance Agencies Recognition Award
For the highest CAIB 4 mark, the $750 Park Georgia Insurance Agencies Recognition Award recipient is Lily Yip from Collingwood Insurance in Vancouver.
Ken Underhill Award
The 2021 $1,000 Ken Underhill Award for the highest cumulative mark on all four CAIB exams completed in the prior calendar year is awarded to Jakob Grabe from the Federated Insurance Company in Burnaby.