Ziad Abdelnour is a Graduate of the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania and is a financier who has been involved since 1985 in over 125 transactions worth in aggregate over ten billion dollars in the investment banking, high yield bond and distressed debt markets. He is also a political activist, lobbyist and philanthropist on behalf of his homeland Lebanon. Last but not least, he is the author of Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics and blogs extensively on the web. With such an extensive finance background, we felt it would be beneficial to interview Ziad Abdelnour to get a better idea of personal branding in an industry that is notoriously an ‘offline’ world.
Q1: How would you describe your personal brand?
I would describe my personal brand as pretty unique as it blends both the business and the political perspectives along with a real keen insight of global geo-economic and geopolitical trends. I am pretty much a wealth creator while at the same time a very deep thinker and intellectual, a combination that is not usually found in Wall Street financiers who are much more raw in nature.
Q2: How do you position your brand and what certain avenues do you explore to market yourself?
Writing books truly established my credibility as a thought leader. I also launched a blog on my company website three years ago. At first my partners objected, saying we’d have to post once a week to keep our constituents abreast of current trends. But that was the point. In just two years, the blog became one of the most widely read blogs in finance, and now I have two company blogs and six personal blogs. You can launch your own blog simply using Tumblr or WordPress.com, just be sure to offer meaningful content.
Improving your personal brand can also be done away from an online capacity. Many people fear public speaking, but speaking in front of a live audience can be a great way to become a thought leader. Whether you’re a keynote or a panelist, or even a virtual speaker at an online conference, you can share your experiences and ideas with others and build your reputation. Plus, the leads you can generate at conferences are face-to-face, often converting into real business even faster than online leads.
Q3: Did you find it hard to publish your own book? A lot of people might find this to be a tall task. How was the process?
Luckily, the barrier to entry isn’t too high. My first two books, Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics and Ending Syria’s Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role were published by a traditional publisher, and I’m currently working on a third book Economic Warfare: Secrets of the Powerbrokers. I strongly recommend reading Guy Kawasaki’s APE: How to Publish a Book.
Q4: Any other advice you might have as a thought leader?
Never rest on your laurels. The world is your oyster. Your time on this planet is limited. Go make the most out of it for posterity and to empower millions of people the world over.
About the Author:
Ziad Abdelnour is the President and CEO of Blackhawk Partners, a New York based private equity ”family office” that focuses on originating, structuring, advising and acting as equity investor in management-led buyouts, strategic minority equity investments, equity private placements, consolidations, buildups, and growth capital financings in companies and projects based both in the US and emerging markets. Ziad can be found on Twitter and be sure to check out one of his blogs here.