Shane Black’s mother always insisted that he finish his dinner.
Maybe you had a mum like that too.
As a former NSW police officer and the current head of Sydney-based Pearl Finance Group, Shane knows how such simple requests can make huge impacts on your life.
He proudly attributes his large stature to never having to go hungry in his household growing up. He also began to understand as he saw more of the world how important good nutrition is to the quality of life for so many. This understanding is what inspires Shane about Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #2: Zero Hunger.
The Importance of Nutrition
Shane grew up in the small country town of Dunedoo, NSW, about 300 km northwest of Sydney. After losing his father and family home at a young age, his mother went suddenly from stay-at-home mum to working multiple jobs to make ends meet – all without a formal education.
She had grown up in post-World War II Australia, at a time when food was not as readily available as it is now. It was easy to take for granted as a child how hard his mother worked to make sure that dinner was on the table, but as he began to venture out and experience the world it became clear to Shane what motivated her.
“It wasn’t until years later that I realised that it was the fear of hunger that drove her to work so hard to make it all work. She really didn’t want me to go hungry, like she had.”
Another woman influenced Shane too.
His wife, Hong, is a daughter of Vietnamese immigrants. That gave Shane an opportunity to see Vietnam and its culture on family visits. It was there, by comparison to his own family, that he was able to see how differences in diet and nutrition can affect the health and physical development of different people.
And when he went on a trip to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup football championship, Shane’s eyes truly opened – not only to the importance of nutrition and food security, but to the idea that he could make a difference.
Driving through rural South Africa with friends, lost and nearly out of fuel, Shane found himself in a township – something they were warned against. After his group inquired about fuel, a resident of the township quickly returned with several milk cartons of petrol, and then they were on their way, none the worse for wear. This simple act of kindness, done with such humility and without any expectations for return, taught Shane that anyone can help anybody, anywhere.
“You don’t need to be well off, rich, or famous to make a positive impact on someone’s life. You don’t need anything fancy to get started – just start where you are and do what you can. At any one time, an action that may feel small to you may have a gigantic impact on someone else’s life,” he reflected.
Shane knew that wherever he was in life, he could make a real impact on people’s lives. And that was what he set out to do when he started Pearl Finance Group.
Shane’s philosophy on business success is a concentric one that he refers to as “Me-Us-Them”.
At the center is the business owner and his or her family. This is the “Me”. Far from being a self-centered view, the notion of ensuring that our own needs are adequately met not only frees up resources for those in need, but also gives us the freedom to leverage our additional success in the service of others.
The success of the business should first benefit those in the business owner’s local community, or “Us”. This expanding vision of success subsequently allows both the business and its surrounding community to turn its attention to the needs of the world at large – including those with whom they may never have direct contact – “Them”.
“Align everything you do in business and life with making a positive impact on you, your family and your team, your local community and the wider global community,” Shane says.
From the very beginning of going into business in 2014, he has tried to implement this philosophy. It wasn’t until he found B1G1, however, that he was truly able to put his vision into motion.
Since then, he has made over 100,000 impacts globally – including his favourite B1G1 project providing clean drinking water to families in Cambodia. Shane has a unique way of involving his clients at Pearl Finance as well. For every dollar he saves a client through his services he contributes 1 day of support for selected causes.
An Ambitious Goal and Beyond
Shane’s goal is to make it to 1,000,000 impacts through B1G1 in the next two years, but his passion won’t let him stop there. He will continue to look for new ways for his success and that of his clients to benefit others. He is also building a culture of giving within his company by letting his team select causes in their local regions and involving clients in the process as well.
When Shane sees his young son, William, he sees someone with his whole life ahead. Not only does Shane want to see William live a happy, healthy, and successful life, but he wants to instill in him the desire to pay that success forward to others and continue the legacy of making positive change in the world.
For Shane, it’s not just leaving a legacy; it’s living it each day and leveraging it in every way to make a real and lasting impact on our world.