Awards and Scholarships
Awards and Scholarships

We believe in recognising our Speaking Industry’s top achievers across a range of expertise and contribution and do so annually at our National PSA Convention. Of course Members and Guests are welcome to register for whole or part of Convention, ensuring they also secure their Gala Dinner and Awards Tickets for the Saturday Evening!

Professional Speakers Australia has five key annual awards and one scholarship as follows:

We Want to Receive Your Award Nominations for 2021!

Nominations are now open for our Annual PSA Awards:

Now is the time for PSA Members to nominate a fellow PSA Member for the Keynote, Educator, Breakthrough or Nevin Award or an Industry Partner for the Industry Award, for their success, to see them acknowledged by their peers and rewarded for their commitment and achievement.

Each Award is shown below – please read them carefully and think about whom you believe are deserving nominees. Self nominations will not be accepted. Anyone you nominate will have the opportunity to accept or decline their nomination and they will be required to complete a submission.

Keynote, Educator, Breakthrough and Industry Awards

  • If you wish to nominate a PSA member for the Keynote, Educator or Breakthrough Awards or an industry partner for the Industry Award please email before Wednesday 16 December 2020 and submit their name, email address and the award for which they are nominated. The Secretariat will then contact the nominee and provide them with the submission form to complete.

Nevin Award

  • If you would like to nominate a PSA member who you believe has demonstrated worthiness for PSA’s most treasured accolade, the Nevin Award, then please read the criteria, complete the nomination form and email to by Monday January 11 2021.

We are seriously concerned to ensure that transparency and objectivity are the bywords of our Awards process. All judging is overseen by selected credentialed Convenors and an Awards Chair.

Please direct any enquiries regarding the PSA Awards to the PSA Secretariat 1300 739 993 or

The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship

The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship 2021 is open for applications. PSA welcomes applications for the 2021 Kerrie Nairn Scholarship for Public Speaking from speakers who are new to the speaking profession and display potential in the field of professional speaking. PSA members are ineligible to apply. Please read the criteria, complete the application form and email to by Friday January 29 2021. Please direct any enquiries regarding the Nairn Scholarship to the Chair, Helen Mac, at


The process by which our Award winners are chosen is a rigorous one. Prospective recipients are nominated by their peers, who are then invited to submit a detailed application form demonstrating their skills, track record and influence, depending on the criteria provided for each Award.
The Applications for each Award are evaluated by a confidential panel of independent judges, who themselves are known for their relevant expertise, overseen by a Convenor for each Award. They make their assessment individually online, with their scoring unknown to each other. The whole process is overseen by an Awards Chair. The judges have the unenviable task of selecting one winner. Each year we have a large number of nominees across the range of Awards, making the selection of our winners more difficult than ever.

The Speaker Hall of Fame

The Speakers Hall of Fame is designed to find and put the spotlight on people who demonstrate the exemplary. These people have committed within themselves to the everyday disciplines that lead to mastery. They constantly refine and develop their ways to communicate so others may be enriched. They are raised up so that others might see what excellence looks like in action. And they themselves are encouraged to continue to be great role models sources of inspiration, points of reference and diverse images of excellence for us all. They are leading lights in our profession.

All winners are determined by a selection panel of highly regarded peers against a range of criteria, which they are required to rate highly on every criterion.

The Speakers Hall of Fame includes recipients of:
  • The Nevin Award
  • Keynote Presenter Award for Excellence
  • Educator Award for Excellence
  • Presenters of Excellence Awards

The Nevin Award

The Nevin Award is our association’s most cherished honour. It is awarded annually to a member whose outstanding contribution to Professional Speakers Australia and to the speaking industry over the years have earned the utmost respect, honour and admiration in the Association and the profession. They are a Professional Speakers hero.

Their selfless acts of sharing, guiding, supporting and inspiring other members and growing the industry embody the spirit of John Nevin, the founder of Professional Speakers Australia, formerly known as National Speakers Association of Australia. Their commitment to excellence as a professional speaker provides a role model for us all.

Nevin Award Recipients

  • 2020 – Ian Stephens CSP
  • 2019 – Donna Hanson CSP
  • 2018 – Graham Harvey CSP
  • 2017 – David Staughton CSP
  • 2016 – Helen Macdonald CSP
  • 2015 – Michael McQueen CSP
  • 2014 – Brad Tonini CSP
  • 2013 – Rodney Marks CSP
  • 2011 – Kevin Ryan CSP
  • 2010 – Anne Riches CSP
  • 2009 – Lindsay Adams CSP
  • 2008 – David Penglase CSP
  • 2007 – Glenn Capelli CSP
  • 2006 – Sarah Cornally CSP
  • 2005 – Martin Grunstien CSP
  • 2004 – Colin Pearce CSP
  • 2003 – Matt Church CSP
  • 2002 – Colin Brockman CSP
  • 2001 – Keith Abraham CSP
  • 2000 – Robyn Henderson CSP
  • 1999 – David Julian Price CSP
  • 1998 – Max Hitchins PM
  • 1997 – David Griggs PM
  • 1996 – Catherine Palin-Brinkworth CSP
  • 1995 – Lisa McInnes-Smith CSP
  • 1994 – Walter Dickman CSP
  • 1993 – Winston Marsh CSP
  • 1992 – Doug Malouf CSP
  • 1991 – Ron Tacchi CSP

Keynote Presenter Award for Excellence (KPAE)

This award acknowledges speakers who have the capacity to engage a diverse variety of audiences, captivate them with their style, delivery and humour and deliver a message that conveys their expertise. Being a keynote speaker means you need to be able to sound the ‘key note’. This means to deliver a message that engages an audience at an emotional level, but which is built around the broader theme of the event and the client’s objectives of content and engagement.

Nominees and awardees are people who have been speaking for a sufficient amount of time to have reached a significant number of audiences. Often there is a breadth of experience demonstrated as they present to varied cultures and demographics.

Nominees have a broad experience and can work well regardless of the nature of the audience. They can often accommodate a varied audience including those who are highly educated and are high achievers as well as those who are found on the frontline of business and service industries. However they may have a niche specialty and deliver their message in such a way as to make it very memorable. The Keynote Presenter of the Year is most likely to be able to teach, entertain and create a unique message, which is delivered in a unique way. However this award also encompasses those who also educate, challenge people’s thinking or inspire predominantly through humour or music but are booked in the Keynote Speaker position.

Keynote Presenter Award for Excellence Winners

  • 2020 – Colin James CSP
  • 2019 – Rowdy McLean CSP
  • 2018 – Amanda Stevens CSP
  • 2017 – Lisa McInnes-Smith CSP, CPAE
  • 2016 – Jason Fox CSP
  • 2015 – Michael McQueen CSP
  • 2014 – Matt Church CSP
  • 2013 – Glenn Capelli CSP
  • 2012 – Keith Abraham CSP
  • 2011 – Rodney Marks CSP
  • 2010 – Catherine DeVrye CSP
  • 2009 – Amanda Gore CSP
  • 2008 – Allan Pease CSP
  • 2007 – Bruce Sullivan CSP
  • 2006 – Peter Sheahan CSP

Educator Award for Excellence (EAE)

This award acknowledges presenters who have continued to reach diverse groups with deep content through diverse methodology over many years in a training, facilitation and one-on-one format.

Nominees and Awardees play a variety of roles with a wide range clients. Often there is a breadth of experience of presenting to different cultures and demographics. Nominees have a broad experience and can work equally as well with top-level corporate groups, education groups and community groups.

The Educator Award of Excellence recipient is a learner, teacher, designer and deliverer of educational experiences of consistently high quality and originality.

Educator Award for Excellence Winners

  • 2020 – Ian Stephens CSP
  • 2019 – Keith Abraham CSP
  • 2018 – Alison and Darren Hill
  • 2017 – Andrew Horabin
  • 2016 – Max Walker CSP
  • 2015 – Steve Simpson CSP
  • 2014 – Lisa McInnes-Smith CSP
  • 2013 – Michael Grose CSP
  • 2012 – Ian Hutchinson CSP
  • 2011 – Matt Church CSP
  • 2010 – Terry Hawkins CSP
  • 2008 – David Penglase CSP
  • 2007 – Colin James CSP
  • 2006 – Glenn Capelli CSP

Presenters Award for Excellence Winners

Key role models and pioneers of the the industry who were recognised at Professional Speakers’s 20th Birthday celebrations in 2007.

  • Walter Dickman CSP
  • Doug Malouf CSP
  • Ron Tacchi CSP
  • Winston Marsh CSP
  • Lisa McInnes Smith CSP, CPAE
  • Allan Pease CSP

Breakthrough Speaker of the Year Award

This award is designed to recognise and identify emerging speakers who have achieved recent extraordinary prominence and success.

Nominees and Awardees are individuals who have captured the attention and fascination of the marketplace. More than simply an overnight success or flavour of the moment, the winning speaker may well have been speaking for an extended period of time but has recently gained traction or achieved a breakthrough.

  • 2020 – Sally Foley-Lewis
  • 2019 – Daryl Green
  • 2018 – Mykel Dixon
  • 2017 – Rabia Siddique CSP

Industry Partner of the Year Award

This award recognises a bureau consultant, PCO, meeting planner, AV provider or other industry partner who goes above and beyond. It is our way of recognising and thanking our industry partners who have supported the speaking profession in a remarkable or unique way.

  • 2020 – Wise Connections
  • 2019 – Saxton Speakers Bureau
  • 2018 – Claxton Speakers
  • 2017 – Celebrity Speakers

The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship for Public Speaking

In May 2005 our much loved and respected member Kerrie Nairn passed away. In her honour and with generous Australian Government funding, The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship for Public Speaking was established.

The Scholarship was funded from 2006 to 2010 by the Commonwealth Government through the Quality Outcomes Program, administered by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013 the Scholarship was fully funded by Professional Speakers. The Scholarship provides support to help an emerging speaker to develop further as a professional speaker. The Scholarship enables the recipient to develop the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in the professional speaking industry.

From 2015, after a short hiatus, the Scholarship will continue to be provided by Professional Speakers, supported by generous donations from a number of our most senior members. The Scholarship was initially open to Professional Speakers members (affiliate and provisional)^. With these membership tiers ceasing on December 31, 2018 the PSA Board in conjunction with the Scholarship Convenor Helen Macdonald, agreed to make the Kerrie Nairn Scholarship application open to non-member aspiring speakers, with the new additional criteria that the applicant must be able to demonstrate they would be eligible to qualify for Professional Member status. ^PSA Professional Members and CSPs are not eligible to apply.

The Kerrie Nairn Award is worth more than $15,000 to boost the Scholar’s professional development. The winner of The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship is selected for their ability to:

  • personally and professionally develop as a speaker and become an outstanding professional leader as a result of this Scholarship
  • assist a community-based or NFP audience of their choice to boost their knowledge and competence, in areas such as leadership, public speaking, community support or business skills
  • actively participate in and contribute to PSA at a Chapter or National level
  • be an effective ambassador for and strengthen the speaking industry, in general.

The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship winner for each year will be announced at the Annual Professional Speakers Australia Convention.

To learn more about the benefits of applying for the Kerrie Nairn Scholarship, even when you are not successful, listen to an interview with 2011 applicant Margaret Bornhorst.

Kerrie Nairn Frequently Asked Questions.

The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship Scholars

  • 2020 – Jenny Wynter
  • 2019 – Sarah Morse
  • 2018 – Daniel Merza
  • 2017 – Kirryn Zerna
  • 2016 – Chinmay Ananda
  • 2015 – Daryl Green
  • 2013 – Lachlan Cooke
  • 2012 – Neryl East
  • 2011 – Sonja Falvo
  • 2010 – Steve Francis
  • 2009 – Jason Fox
  • 2008 – Dale Elliott
  • 2007 – Alicia Curtis
  • 2006 – Jennifer Harwood

Phone: 1300 739 993 or 03 9844 5511 | | P.O. Box 448 Warrandyte, Victoria, 3113 | Fax: 1300 766 673

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