Thursday, October 24, 2019
International Announcement
IWIRC Announces 2019 WOYR Asia Award Recipient

The Asian IWIRC networks are delighted to announce that Ms Jacqueline Walsh of Borrelli Walsh is the 2019 winner of the IWIRC Woman of the Year in Restructuring (Asia) Award ("WOYR(A) Award").

The WOYR(A) Award complements IWIRC International's pre-existing award programme, Woman of the Year in Restructuring Award, which has been administered internationally since 2006.

The WOYR(A) Award is open to any female professional in the restructuring and insolvency industry based in Asia, including, lawyers, judges, bankers, accountants, turnaround managers, restructuring advisers and academician. Nominees could be actively engaged in or recently retired from the restructuring industry. The criteria for the WOYR(A) Award requires nominees to have inspired and/or skilfully led a restructuring or insolvency team, displayed exceptional leadership, made an extraordinary contribution to insolvency/restructuring, including the growth of women in the industry, and shown evidence of "going above and beyond" so as to have made a difference, including through mentoring, training and publications.

The WOYR(A) Award 2019 finalists and winner were announced during the INSOL One Day Seminar which took place in Hong Kong on 18 October 2019. Together with the winner, Ms Jacqueline Walsh, the other three finalists were Ms Yuri Sugano, partner in Japanese law firm Nishimura and Asahi, Ms Mei Yen Tan, partner in Singapore law firm Oon & Bazul, and Dr. (h.c.) Mamta Binani, Advocate and Insolvency Professional from India who runs her own firm. During her acceptance speech, Jacqueline (known as Jackie), who also happened to be Co-Chair of the INSOL One Day Seminar in Hong Kong, thanked her fellow finalists and last year's winner, Marie Rowbotham, for "continuing to raise the bar for women." 

She also thanked her fellow founding partner of Borrelli Walsh, Mr Cos Borrelli, and their Borrelli Walsh team and attributed her work successes to creating a work group dynamic, saying: "Not everyone is the same but everyone is dynamic. It is very important to invest time and energy in work relationships and developing/building up a strong team at the firm. This includes a close-knit group of colleagues and the lawyers and barristers. A quality team produces quality work."

Jackie has over 23 years in insolvency and corporate restructuring and moved to Hong Kong in 2000.She co-founded Borrelli Walsh, a leading independent insolvency, restructuring and forensic accounting firm, in 2006. She has advised on some of Hong Kong's largest and most complex corporate collapses, including Akai Holdings Limited, China Forestry, and China Medical, bringing successful professional negligence claims and other legal claims against advisers, lenders and directors.

Although being an IWIRC member is not a criterion for winning the award, it was notable that all four finalists had made significant contributions to IWIRC in their local networks and across Asia. Jackie herself was the Co-Founder of IWIRC's first Asian network, IWIRC Hong Kong, together with Aruni Weerasekera, who presented the WOYR(A) Award to Jackie at the ceremony on behalf of IWIRC and sponsor, Vannin Capital. During Jackie's time on the IWIRC Hong Kong Board, the network grew considerably in size and influence during that time, with increased membership, support from sponsors and recognition from the restructuring and insolvency community. The growth and success of the Hong Kong network during Jackie's tenure was the springboard and motivation for the birth and development of its sister networks across Asia. Jackie was a co-recipient of the IWIRC Fetner Award for Outstanding International Member in 2009, which recognises the contribution of an international (i.e. non-US) member or network of IWIRC, that has made an exceptional contribution to IWIRC, either through efforts over the previous year or over a period of years, and has worked tirelessly and diligently to grow IWIRC beyond borders and given generously of their time to strengthen and expand IWIRC. Since stepping down from the IWIRC Hong Kong Board at the end of 2011, Jackie has continued to support and advocate for IWIRC, not just in Hong Kong but as it expanded to Mainland China and Singapore, by encouraging female employees of her firm to register with IWIRC in their respective cities and also by always being available to provide generous sponsorship for events in those cities.

Jackie acknowledged the role that IWIRC has played in her career, first as a young lawyer in the United States where, as she recalled, "IWIRC introduced me to women who became my mentors" and now, as a seasoned Insolvency Practitioner in Asia, Jackie noted that IWIRC has allowed her to "mentor rising women." She noted that "IWIRC Hong Kong has been a source for networking and work and helped me meet other like-minded women - many of whom are my closest friends."

The WOYR(A) Award 2019 was kindly sponsored by Vannin Capital, which sponsorship comprises the award itself and a donation of the equivalent of US$1000 to the charity of the winner's choosing. Jacqueline, who is based in Borrelli Walsh's Hong Kong office, chose the charity Feeding Hong Kong, a local charity which is committed to reducing waste and feeding charities by rescuing surplus food from Hong Kong's food producers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers, which would otherwise go to landfills and delivering this to community programmes like crisis shelters, after school programmes, food banks and senior centres. In her acceptance speech at the WOYR(A) Award ceremony, Jackie expressed her thanks to Vannin Capital for its generous sponsorship of the award.

The sub-committee for WOYR(A) Award comprised members of IWIRC Asia' Board and the IWIRC networks in Asia. The adjudication was a two-stage process, with a first round of adjudication done by the sub-committee and directors of the IWIRC Asia Board, whilst the second round was done by pan-Asia group of senior industry representatives - Joan Janssen from the Singapore Ministry of Law, Justice Hima Kohli of the Delhi High Court, India and 2018's WOYR(A)'s recipient Marie Rowbotham. The sub-committee would like to thank all of those involved in the adjudication for devoting their time and effort to the selection of the finalists and ultimate winner. The sub-committee were grateful for all the nominations received for this year's WOYR(A) Award and were both amazed and inspired by the work and contributions of this year's nominees, who are true trailblazers in the restructuring world, tireless advocates for women in the industry and who all embody the very spirit of the WOYR(A) and live by its ideals every day in their professional lives. It is hoped that next year's WOYR(A) Award programme will receive even more nominations from across Asia, whether by self-nomination or otherwise, so that the valuable contributions of women in the restructuring and insolvency industry in Asia can be acknowledged and celebrated.

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