Pioneers honoured at this year’s AICSA State Conference
People & Property

Pioneers honoured at this year’s AICSA State Conference

By Jarrod McAleese • Nov 2021

Emma Vargas of Stevens Partners and John Erskine from Conveyancing Matters and Searchlight have been named as the inaugural joint winners of the Paula Main & Michelle Lihou Award.

Winners were selected based on their contributions to the sector’s ongoing digitisation.

Vargas was acknowledged as an emerging leader within the SA property industry – a key figure within collaborative working groups as the settlement process continues to be enhanced for buyers and sellers.

“Having worked with Paula many years ago and seeing how she operated and to now, through Stevens Partners, be affiliated with what Michelle built at Goolwa Conveyancing, the respect, the knowledge and the community; it is nothing a privilege to receive this award.

“These are two women who did extraordinary things for our industry as businesswomen, conveyancers, colleagues, friends, and their promotion of PEXA among their peers was instrumental in getting as many conveyancers involved at the earliest opportunity.”

“Their encouragement and support for those around them inspired the rest of us to invest in ourselves and the industry, and to be recognised as having these same traits is very humbling.

“Looking at the list of nominees; these are the types of people we strive to be because, like Paula and Michelle, we all want more, but without the collaboration of others, the want of more will go nowhere. The turnout at our recent AICSA conference is the epitome of this. 150 people from all across the state show we are all committed to ensuring clients receive the best possible service,” Vargas said.

Meanwhile John Erskine was recognised for his exceptional contributors to the community over many years – having been a member of the AICSA since 1990.

He has been an instrumental figure in the state’s transition to digital settlements – having notably facilitated the first electronic transaction in SA.

“I’m honoured to have won this award, particularly given the respect I have for the other finalists and the judging panel. I consider myself especially privileged to have received an award in the names of Paula Main and Michelle Lihou, so highly thought of in our profession.

“I’ve always been driven to look forward and embrace the opportunities that present themselves. I have had a long and enthusiastic involvement in electronic conveyancing, both in SA and nationally.

“Today, I’m very passionate about continuing to inspire younger colleagues – it’s a pleasure to watch them develop and it gives me great personal pride to see them continue to grow within our industry and through their ventures,” Erskine said.


The Paula Main & Michelle Lihou Award

This initiative has been established by PEXA and the Australian Institute of Conveyancers – South Australia (AICSA) in memory of Paula Main and Michelle Lihou.

The pair were highly popular and respected members of the SA property community, who demonstrated exceptional leadership and genuine care for their peers.

Additionally, both women were valued members of the AICSA, with Michelle serving on the board, as well as being key figures in the state’s transition to digital property settlements.

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