The Underwriting Agencies Council’s 16th annual Sydney Expo was a huge success.

There were 65 exhibitors and more than 300 brokers filled the exhibition area, with many staying on for lunch and to hear guest speaker Corporal Mark Donaldson VC.

The Expo, hosted in conjunction with NIBA, was at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel.

In a first for the harbour city’s key UAC event of the year, one lucky broker won $5,000 of travel, courtesy of Flight Centre.

Stefanie Farrell, Account Executive with Eagle Insurance Brokers in Kempsey, NSW, was the “stoked” winner.

Corporal Donaldson told an inspiring story of his journey from being “a wild, rambunctious country lad” to being awarded a Victoria Cross by Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle.

He set a goal to get into the Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment then trained extremely hard and made sacrifices to achieve his goal. He then began pushing to achieve “the next rung on the ladder of excellence”.

He said good leaders create leaders through exhibiting commitment, communicating clearly and being calm, even on the battlefield.

Corporal Donaldson was awarded a VC for rescuing an injured Afghan interpreter during a battle against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan in 2008.

During the lunch, Pen Underwriting CEO Paul Lynam was presented with a UAC lifetime achievement award.

UAC Deputy Chair Lyndon Turner said Mr Lynam was “a UAC warrior”, who saw the need for an organisation like UAC and was a champion in establishing the council and its now highly successful expos.

During 2003 and 2004, Mr Lynam was UAC’s Chairman.