Integrity is hard earned and easily taken away: Gaining integrity is no easy feat. Like trust, it cannot be achieved when it is the goal. Time and consistency in doing things the right way make a successful leader.
I had the pleasure to interview Anthony Denier. Anthony is the CEO of Webull Financial, a commission-free trading platform which offers online stock trading, ETF trading, real time market quotes, and comprehensive market data from more than 100 exchanges and 90 countries worldwide.
Thank you so much for joining us Anthony! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was the type of child that would take things apart to get an understanding of how they worked. A tinkerer, you could say. I would lie underneath my neighbor’s car watching him as he would fix his ’73 Oldsmobile. If someone had thrown out an old VHS recorder, I would fish it out from the trash, take it apart, shock myself a few times along the way, just to see how all the parts worked together. Perhaps even get it working again. My success rate was about 50%. I still have this curiosity today. During my first job on the trading desk at Credit Suisse in New York, I was never satisfied with just buying and selling. I wanted to know what happened after the trade was placed and how that trade affected the bank and the larger economy as a whole in which I was participating. I believe that questioning and being able to understand how things operate on a micro and macro level is what brought me on this specific path to start and build new businesses.
Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?
Webull is both a US and Chinese company. Our technology team is based in Hunan, China, while all of our customer-facing and brokerage operations are in New York City. A major challenge we had to overcome early on was the language barrier and cultural divide between east and west.
Despite some continuing challenges with agreeing on staff meals, I have found that when the whole team has a clear path to understanding goals that need to be achieved and we work together seamlessly. Also, our Chinese is slowly getting better every day in the New York office.
What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?
There are so many factors, known and unknown, that lead to anyone’s success, like family and friends, mentors, and your environment. For me, I think one of the greatest factors is my ability to adapt and empathize with those around me. Being able to see multiple paths toward the same goal, but choose the one that empowers all those around you instead of just yourself can be a very powerful way to lead.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Don’t be afraid to fail: We learn lessons in many ways throughout life, but none stay with us more vividly than our failures. Learn from them and grow.
2. If you’re the smartest person in a room, then you’re in the wrong room: There is no one person that knows it all. I have found great success in surrounding myself with individuals who add to the conversation and work environment.
3. Admit when you don’t know: As a leader, you don’t always have to come up with the solution. Admit you don’t know and peel away layers of the problem. The solution will present itself eventually.
4. Excuses are a lazy person’s answer: Blaming someone or something is just a waste of everyone’s time. Own your mistakes and grow from them.
5. Integrity is hard earned and easily taken away: Gaining integrity is no easy feat. Like trust, it cannot be achieved when it is the goal. Time and consistency in doing things the right way make a successful leader.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
The work — life balance is always a difficult road to navigate, which is why the two should not be mutually exclusive. Foster a workplace that is fun and open. If a flexible work schedule is not possible, allow for home to come to the office by having family and pet events at work.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Networking is vital to expanding your list of contacts and opportunity in business, and through the years, you meet certain people that have this uncanny networking skill. My friend and attorney is one of those people. Back in 2016, I was the CEO of a small brokerage firm. I was looking for an opportunity to grow the business by utilizing more technology, and he connected me with a FinTech company out of Hunan. One year later, I became the CEO of Webull Financial. This was not the first time he connected me to amazing opportunities. Be sure to have these networkers in your life as you never know when great things will strike.
What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
Goals are rarely ever achieved, because as soon as they are within reach they morph and move further up the field professionally. Personally, my energy is always focused on being the best father and husband I can be first and foremost. That will never go away.
What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?
I hope people can look back and see that we created a company that rewards excellence, but is also fair in its understanding of an individual’s need for balance. I hope customers will feel that their user experience and empowerment are being put before our profits.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
We currently sponsor trading and investing educational programs, as well as trading competitions where users can use virtual currency to become more confident and knowledgeable in managing their own finances. I think making yourself more financially independent allows you to spend more time with things you are passionate about, and that truly can enhance anyone’s life.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthonydenier/
Twitter — https://twitter.com/webullglobal?lang=en