Name: Christopher Lawe
Title: Vice President
Oranisation: Fraser, Fontaine and Kong
Christopher David Lawe, a notable figure in Jamaica’s skill development and financial services sectors, is the Vice President of Individual Life at Fraser, Fontaine and Kong insurance brokerage. With over 20 years of experience, including a significant tenure at Sagicor, Chris is recognized for his sales expertise and record-breaking achievements. His early career accomplishments earned him the title of “under 30 power player” by the Jamaica Observer. Chris holds multiple industry certifications (LUTCF, FLMI, AIRC, ARA, ACS) and was a consistent qualifier for the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) as an advisor. He has served in leadership roles in various industry associations and as a board member of the Caribbean Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. As a co-author of industry publications and a member of GAMA Global’s Caribbean Division task-force, Chris has made substantial contributions to the industry at a regional and international level. Leading his sales team, the “SPARTANS,” he emphasizes excellence and consistent performance. Outside work, Chris is a dedicated father, an air pilot, a boat captain, and enjoys travel and performance motor vehicles. His remarkable career and dedication to mentorship make him a respected and influential figure in the industry.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Christopher's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
The diversity of personalities and lack of personal drive and accountability.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My journey to leadership was fueled by a natural inclination towards improving any scenario, coupled with strong people skills, drive, and a rejection of complacency. My out-of-the-box thinking and obsession with efficiency have been pivotal. Starting as a commissioned advisor in the business, I quickly excelled, reaching top ranks within a few years. This success led to a transition into management, where my true potential emerged. In this role, I effectively communicated and motivated my team, inspiring them to aim higher. I focused on developing a robust team culture and prioritized the welfare of my people. This approach propelled us to unprecedented success, consistently setting new records in the industry and solidifying our position as the highest-producing operation in the company, and me by far, the top earner in the field. My leadership style is defined by guiding others towards excellence and continually striving for breakthrough achievements.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My day kicks off somewhere between the chirping of birds and the rush hour – that's 5:30 to 6:30 AM, depending on when the world demands my presence. I then dive into some form of physical exertion – a workout, a brisk walk, or a run, because who doesn’t like to start the day with a bit of adrenaline? Breakfast is a casual affair, ranging from a Yeti-filled coffee on the go to an occasional egg and bagel. If I'm lucky, my housekeeper whips up an omelette or a delightful local ackee dish.
The bulk of my day is a juggling act with meetings, calls, and messages – think of it as a marathon with brief sprints. These sessions are interspersed with my various business ventures, requiring a masterful balance of focus and flexibility. Kid pickups are on my calendar too, a few times a week, often trading boardrooms for backyard excursions or other kiddo activities. This dad duty can chew up 3-4 hours, leading to longer evenings, with work stretching up to 10 or 11 PM. But on lighter days, I might be home by 4 PM, ready to engage in what I call ‘nerd work’, socialize, or simply chill – usually with an iPad in my lap for some light multitasking and idea creation.
My days are a blend of hectic and harmonious, balancing hard work across various aspects of life, but always with a keen eye on the many hats I wear – professional, father, social and often homebody.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
The old adage "You're only as good as your last song" often echoes in my head, in my father's voice, as I carefully try to craft my answer. It serves as a poignant reminder that the journey doesn't stop with one success; our most recent achievements are what linger in people's minds. But I don't just stop there. This mantra morphs into a broader mission for me, especially as a father. It's about crafting a legacy for my two boys, showing them that greatness isn't a one-off event, but a continuous pursuit.
As the commander-in-chief of my household, it's my duty to lead by example. I want my sons to witness not just past triumphs but a living, breathing legacy of excellence. The lesson here? My greatness should be an ongoing show, not a rerun of past episodes. It's only when the curtains finally close on my life's stage that my story can truly aspire to be legendary. So, every day, I strive to add another hit track to my life's album, ensuring it's a chart-topper right until the end, i do it for me, i do it for my boys.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
"‘Not Nice’ is a book that, admittedly, wasn't the smoothest of sails through its pages or audio waves. Yet, it's been nothing short of transformative for my leadership approach. The core lessons from this read have helped me to untangle emotions from my decision-making process. It's like getting a pair of glasses that suddenly brings everything into sharp focus – suddenly, decisions are less about being 'nice' and more about being right.
This book has been instrumental in sharpening my ability to view decisions through a lens of objective analysis, always aiming for the greater good. It’s about understanding that the best decisions aren’t always wrapped in a pretty bow of niceness. Instead, it's about making choices that are solid, swift, and, most importantly, sound, even if they don't always win the popularity contest.
In essence, ‘Not Nice’ has equipped me with the clarity to navigate the often murky waters of leadership, ensuring that my compass points towards effective and impactful decisions, rather than getting lost in a sea of emotions and external perceptions."
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Here's a refined version of your advice to a leader, blending sincerity with a dash of wit:
"Find your purpose. We often get caught up in the quest for passion, overlooking the fact that purpose is often the wellspring from which true passion flows. Lean in, stand out, and remember, greatness never sprouted from the comfort of sitting on your laurels. Be more than a follower in the herd; carve your own path. It’s in the pursuit of a meaningful purpose that you’ll ignite a passion powerful enough to fuel your journey to greatness."