The stereotypically routine, number-crunching world of banking is a far cry from reality for ASB Bank’s busy Lambton Quay branch manager, Toni King. Not only has this hard-working businesswoman acquired an excellent reputation within the corporate sphere, she is also a beacon for corporate volunteers. Her many and varied volunteering roles have seen her involved in activities that are rewarding for both herself and her team, and for those receiving their help.
As a mother of two young children and long-serving manager of ASB Lambton Quay, it is hard to believe that Toni also actively participates in anything from school galas and collecting coins for charity, to organising and attending a twenty-four hour telethon. Her involvement in the TV3 ‘Big Night In’ telethon last year, where she was responsible for helping to organise the Wellington section, saw over $39,000 raised for the KidsCan charitable trust. Her hands-on style means she often gets her feet wet – sometimes quite literally. On one school trip to Lyall Bay, as supervisor for a large class, Toni managed – despite the pouring rain – to frolic in the waves with the kids!
Her team at ASB Bank are also encouraged to volunteer around Wellington. On first meeting with Toni, one notices her personable nature and optimistic attitude, traits which translate well to her role coordinating various volunteering activities at work. She uses this “pay it forward” approach to promote the importance of volunteering. “For us [ASB] it is not a business strategy… it is about giving back to the community and just getting in there.” Toni and nine colleagues recently volunteered at the Special Olympics, where, between umpiring ‘Bocce’ – the Italian sport mixing petanque and bowls – they ran a sausage sizzle for the participants. She and her colleagues also regularly help out at Ronald McDonald house running cooking classes among other activities. Making these community contributions serves not just individual values, but it also strengthens her team as a whole, who certainly adopt the ASB vision – “world class for customers, colleagues and community” – in their daily lives. She hopes that a community-focused team currently set up in Auckland, can expand to Wellington, to further encourage the community spirit within the organisation.
Toni believes that volunteers – whether in a corporate or individual context – should choose projects that are close to their hearts. Two years ago, while pregnant with her second child, Toni discovered a melanoma on her leg. Only millimetres from spreading into her system, she caught it just in time. But such a close-call opened her eyes to the fragility of life and the need to support organisations committed to such causes. Since then she has she devoted much of her volunteering to charities such as the Breast Cancer Foundation. She hopes to be involved with the recently established Melanoma Foundation, an organisation dedicated to raising funds to support victims and their families and to raise awareness about what is becoming a widespread health issue in New Zealand.
Toni’s career at ASB has evolved into something quite remarkable. She is an important patron for volunteering in the corporate financial sector. She is a great example of a woman with a wider social conscience who recognises that success comes not just from money and a career, but also from investing time and effort into causes that extend beyond herself and her business. The volunteering atmosphere she continues to foster at ASB has had a positive impact upon her staff and of course the wider community. Whether she and her team raise thousands, a few dollars, or none at all, they do it because they can be hands-on in projects and contribute their time and effort, not just their wallets. And this is certainly a worthwhile investment.