Fresh from being inducted into the ARN Hall of Fame, Data#3 CEO, Laurence Baynham, outlines his route to the top with James Henderson.
In the heart of central London, Marylebone to be precise, a young Laurence Baynham earned his stripes. Scuttling between Harley Street and Wimpole Street, Baynham worked his two-street patch as a budding young salesman, servicing the thriving healthcare industry in his first professional sales role, for office equipment multinational Pitney Bowes.
“I made 40 face-to-face calls a day and achieved my target in my first year,” recalled Baynham, looking back on the early days of his working life.
In providing the foundation for a career in sales, Baynham entered the technology scene in 1985, selling accounting software to small businesses across London.
“I remember the main attraction of ICT was the higher level of professionalism and higher earnings,” he said.
“But I saw my career in sales rather than technology. I have never seen myself as a technologist but I can help organisations apply technology to gain a business outcome.
“ICT is such a fast paced industry and every year is different.”
Canadian-born, a young Baynham relocated to New York before his first birthday, growing up in the Big Apple before moving to the UK aged ten.
But in joining the ICT industry in the year that the first British mobile phone calls were made, and Apple’s original MacIntosh took the world by storm, in 1985, Baynham took the first steps of a career that would span over 30 years and more than 16,000km.
Arriving on Australian shores in 1991, the Data#3 CEO became a citizen “very soon after”, raising his young family in the sunshine state of Queensland.
“My wife Katharine and I had a young family with two girls under two and we believed that Australia was a better place to raise a family,” he said.
“This has proved to be the case and we added another three sons whilst living in Brisbane. We would never have considered five children living in London.”
In joining the system integrator three years later, the Data#3 of 1994 differed greatly to that of 2016, with less than 100 employees and approximately $20 million revenue.
“The growth that we have experienced has been phenomenal,” he recalled. “There has never been a dull moment.
“Looking ahead, my immediate ambitions are to continue to grow and transition Data#3 into an increasingly services centric business.
“But on a personal note, I have an interest in corporate governance and over the long-term will seek to help other organisations as a nonexecutive director.”
In parallel with the success of one of Australia’s leading technology providers, the industry veteran has risen through the ranks to shine equally alongside, forging out a reputation as a well-respected figure within the channel.
Fresh from taking the top role in 2014, Baynham has nudged the business towards a billion dollars in revenue, overseeing a workforce of 1100 staff, across eight offices nationwide.
While Baynham won’t sing it from the rooftops – such is his preference to honour his army of workers – the affable leader has played a pivotal role in expanding a one-time Queensland orientated reseller into a high performing ASX-listed ICT provider, steering his company through a period of great industry change.
Bringing Data#3 to the top table ranks highly among Baynham’s growing list of achievements, but it’s a different type of success that provides equal reward for the much travelled leader.
After being named Australia’s Best Company in the 2016 Employer of Choice Awards for the Human Resources Director (HRD) magazine, Baynham’s leadership was once again recognised by the wider industry, reflective of the core cultures that stand up Data#3 today.
During his tenure, and in keeping with tradition, Baynham has fostered a culture built on five core values, spanning honesty, excellence, agility, respect and teamwork (HEART).
Renowned for his business acumen and generous spirit, industry colleagues insist that Baynham represents the true meaning of his company’s motto – displaying strength, stability and innovation in equal measure.
“Leaders don’t need to be the CEO or senior managers,” he said. “At Data#3 we have many excellent leaders who are not necessarily managers.
“Some qualities of leaders that I admire are vision, humility, honesty, integrity, respect and the ability to listen. Great leaders demonstrate these traits every day.”