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JobSmart talks With Bill Clarke

He was appointed Managing Director of Scotiabank Jamaica in 1995, after a twenty-seven year career in the Bank. He rise to the top has been exceptional from the early days as a teller. He is one of the most respected executive’s in Jamaica, who introduced several initiatives in Scotia Bank. William ‘Bill’ Clarke, speaks with Amitabh Sharma on his journey to the top.

Early days
I had an ambition to go to England to study law. It was in 1968 when I left high school and joined the job. I had to earn money to pay for the fees.
I joined the bank as a teller; it was a small branch in St. Ann with a staff of 12 to 15. I was lucky to have a great mentor Jeane Williams, who took interest in me and encouraged me to do multi tasking. I had a chance to learn a lot from her.
I spent three years in that branch, I worked in the Spanish Town and Red Hills branches of the bank.

Charting growth
After this stint, I was transferred to the audit department where I spent 13 years. During this time I had the opportunity to work overseas also, this was the greatest era for career development. Audit gave me a idea of the entire system, this is something that I would like to do again, if given a chance.

Stint abroad
I spent around 13 years in the audit department and then went to Canada for a three and a half year stint. This was the time that I went through the key areas of business.

I never attended a university, I got all my qualifications through distance learning, I went to Harvard Business School and did International Senior Management Program/ Advanced Management Program. I also got a Diploma in Management Science from Institute of Canadian Bankers and have been a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers (FICB) since 1985.

Initiatives taken
I have always introduced various programmes to enhance the organisational knowledge base. One such initiative is the Annual Lecture Series, where we invite guest speakers to share their experiences.
I believe in open communication, a strong focus on training and development, I believe that the best talent in the country are the women; there are 69% women in Scotiabank Jamaica.

I do not believe in being a member of any blue collared club, instead I would like to see what tangible contribution I can make to the society.

His mantra
I have always loved challenges; I am a sworn workaholic and always try to push myself hard that is the reason that I bury myself in work. I think that 100% is not enough…being on the top is a tough job, when you are on the top you can only go down.
Coming from a humble background, I was lucky to have someone who believed in me, I had no choice but to do well.

Advice to new comers
There are opportunities for those who are educated and can multi task, as the banking sector has evolved into a place for providing a broad spectrum of financial services. The clients are sophisticated and seek options for their investment dollar.
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