My partner Constable Sharnelle Cole, Sergeant Chris Mulhall and I, were ambushed and all shot multiple times by Nigel Parodi. Some of the challenges I would confront over the coming years were two rounds of facial reconstruction surgery, battling post-traumatic stress, and fighting a 10-year legal battle for criminal compensation.
A key turning point came in 2006 when Queensland Police Academy Sergeant Paul Trinder, asked me if I would mind speaking to his squad of recruits and pass on any lessons from the shooting, that may benefit these soon to be ‘first responder’ police officers. I agreed and spoke to a group about the shooting for the first time in my life. I played the audio of the shooting taking place, drew a diagram on a whiteboard to explain how events unfolded, spoke for an hour, and left the recruits with four lessons. The positive feedback on real life lessons from someone who had lived the experience, led to more requests to address police recruits. Word of my speaking began to spread within police circles. In 2010 I was asked to talk to police officers at Charleville, my first speaking engagement outside Brisbane. Then word of my speaking began to spread outside the police. In 2012 I received a request to speak to Energex employees, my first public speaking engagement.
In 2014 I met speaking coach Michael Alafaci, who introduced me to Professional Speakers Australia, where I learned of an amazing development opportunity, The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship for Public Speaking. I soon learned though that professionals already earning a full time living from speaking, were applying for the scholarship. I fell into a slump and thought, ‘What chance do I have, I’m just a copper.’ However, I had learned that feeling sorry for myself got me nowhere, only action got me somewhere. So drawing on a powerful line from an inspiring movie, ‘Get busy living or get busy dying‘, I got busy living! I picked myself up, put pen to paper and applied for the scholarship. And guess what, I learnt that I was more than just a copper, I was an emerging speaker, because Australia’s professional speakers—who gather once a year to award the prestigious Kerrie Nairn Scholarship for Public Speaking—selected me to be the 2015 scholar!
This year at the Professional Speakers Australia Summit held on the Gold Coast, I was requested to speak on the scholarship experience, prior to the announcement of the 2016 scholar, Chinmay Ananda (‘Congratulations mate, I look forward to supporting you on your amazing scholarship journey that has just commenced’). Today, I posted on YouTube this talk. I posted a short clip ‘In my very expensive trousers, there is a small hole…‘ and the full talk, ‘The Kerrie Nairn Scholarship Experience‘.
It has been wonderful with the support of my 81 year old mum Eileen and 84 year old dad Alan, some very special police colleagues, such as Inspector Dave Stevenson, Inspector Mark Harvey, Research Officer Neil Robson (… and many others), and Australia’s professional speakers, to turn every police officers’ worst nightmare, from a negative experience, into a positive one!
Thank you all.