Colin Law is a well-known local business person, both for his role of Executive Manager Business Banking with CommBank, but also for his commitment to the community.
He fell into banking after high school, as his mum thought it was a safe job. He’s carved out a career that allows him to learn from over a thousand different local business owners and the opportunity to build relationships with leading entrepreneurs and innovators.
Colin was the Founder of the crowdfunding initiative for the Surfest Women’s Pro Event, established the Wine and Dine for Disability Fundraiser for ConnectAbility and is on the committee of the Newcastle Tourism Industry Group.
• Tell us a little bit about your career path?
When I left school, mum sort of pointed me in the direction of banking because she thought it was a bit of a safe career. I couldn’t afford university, so it seemed like a good thing to do at the time. From there I just have not escaped; I stayed in banking the whole time.
Probably looking back with reflection, a decent dose of curiosity and getting to know the right people in the right place, saw my progress to Branch Manager at 21. I had four moves in that time. Then again, through another relationship, I ended up in Melbourne working in strategic project work, going back to Newcastle for family reasons. I ran a corporate banking team, a business banking team and branches in that time and now I run the business banking team for the CommBank.
• What motivates and drives you?
It’s interesting reflecting on that question. I think at the end of the day, if I look at everything that I do, it’s the opportunity to help people.
About 15 years ago, I read Stephen Covey’s The 8th Habit and part of that talked about the whole person paradigm. With the team that I was running with at that point in time, we came up with an acronym for HELP and each letter represented one part of that whole person paradigm. At the time it probably didn’t mean as much to me as it does now.
What I really like doing is coming to work every day and having the chance to work to help people – our clients, the people in my team and the people in our community. That’s been the number one driver.
• What do you think has shaped your leadership style?
There have been many things. I think getting older is one of the things that’s shaped it the most. But, again, the consistent thing that’s been there throughout my career has been relationships. When doors were open and I had that curiosity that I talked about and peeked through them, it was the people who I knew or who knew of me that allowed me to step through them when others didn’t. If I think about that now, whether it’s with family, friends, community or business; we do business with each other or we have friends and it’s all by some relationship. So, the one thing that’s centered to everything that shapes my leadership style is very much based on my relationships.
• What is one action or task you insure you incorporate into your diary each week?
I think it’s definitely relationships. I make sure that whether I make time each week to meet new people, whether that going out to a client, meeting someone in the community I’m interested in getting to know, or just reigniting a relationship with a contact that I’ve established some time ago.
• What local business leader do you find inspiring?
There’s probably not any individual, but it’s a group of people who do common things. They are people who are really purpose-driven, people who are really clear on how they want to make a difference and they just go about doing it. I think the other thing is that they’re humble in the way that they do it.
When I reflect on some of the achievements and probably what is a Newcastle or Hunter sort of paradigm is that people just get stuff done and you often find out about it once it’s happened. To me, they are the people who inspire because that’s the way I think change and long sustainable change for the good is made, because it’s being done for the right purpose.