A bunch of us just got back from Denver where the second annual Financial Blogger’s Conference was held. The event was a homerun and I encourage everyone to attend in 2013! Phil from PT Money and his team did a wonderful job putting the entire event together. I’ve probably attended around 20 conferences so far in my career, and this one is right up there in terms of fun, learning and professionalism!

There are so many topics to discuss:

* Maximizing the experience

* Relationship building

* How nobody can get along with everybody (upcoming post on Financial Samurai)

* Saving money, given all the travel, accommodation, and festivities

* Working with potential new customers

But for now, I want to focus on the topic of leadership.


For some people, leadership comes easily. They have dynamic personalities that just draw other people to them. In the online world, such personality can be gleamed through writing styles and more frequent dialogue over forums, comments, and emails. In the offline world, you’ll often see the most charismatic, attractive or tallest people become leaders. In the end, online leaders are judged by their actions and not by their appearances.

Meanwhile, leadership doesn’t come naturally for many others. Its not easy putting yourself out there for others to criticize. It’s easy to start second guessing everything you say or do as a leader until you fall by the wayside. By default, those bloggers with the biggest web presence are often considered leaders of the community. But, if you listen carefully to folks such as JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly fame who now blogs at More Than Money, he will tell you that he is an accidental leader. He just wants to write, but through all the love the online community has provided, he is now a frequent keynote speaker and leader.

People often assume you have to be an extrovert to be a leader. The media likes to spotlight extroverts with boisterous personalities (think Donald Trump) because they are more fun to dissect and poke. If you remove yourself away from the media, it’s clear to me that introversion has strong place in leadership.

Sydney from Untemplater, who I’ve known for well over a decade is an introvert. She writes in an introvertion and leadership post that “introverts are most in their element when in quiet environments.” So true, however conferences are anything but quiet! Sometimes introverts come across as cold, when they are simply just shy and don’t know what to say. Yet I know that Sydney is also a leader because she is a manager at her workplace. Introverts can be leaders just as easily as extroverts. Just look at Gandhi!


Jeff from Sustainable Life Finance put together a panel of other Yakezie Members to give a talk at Fincon12. On the panel were Eric from Narrow Bridge Finance, Marie from Family Money Values, and Shane from Beating Broke.  Marissa from Thirty Six Months also was an excellent contributor. Writing freelancer Jason Steele graciously served as our the moderator.

I’m not sure anyone on the panel except for Eric would claim they are an extrovert. Shane has a soothing, deep presence that commands attention. Marie has a quiet voice that reminds me of someone special I can completely trust. Jeff also has a heartland genuineness to him that everybody likes. Eric clearly loves the spotlight and did a great job hosting the #Ignite Denver late night event!

It was scary for many of them to get up on the panel, get taped, and speak in front of an audience. They aren’t going to win any speaking awards, but they did their best and gave it go, which matters most. Some have asked why I wasn’t on the panel, and the main reason was so that I could give other Members a chance to speak and share their thoughts. I did end up getting up there and answering some questions from the audience toward the end.

The other quiet leaders I see are Will Chen and Greg Go from Wisebread. Will Chen is hilarious!  When one lady asked during his Secrets Of The Millionaire Blogger panel how come there were no seven-figure women personal finance bloggers, he smartly deflected what could have been a contentious topic by saying, “Well, I swim in a sea of estrogen. Our co-founder is Lynn, and she’s the boss, that’s why I’m here.

Greg was up at 3am Saturday morning preparing for his own morning keynote speech with social community leader Ashley. As the technical man for Wisebread, I doubt Greg felt in his element in front of a large crowd, but he and Ashley did a great job.

Meanwhile, Barbara Friedberg stands out for her enthusiasm and quirky style as evidenced from her Ignite Fincon presentation. LaTisha from Young Adult Finances is not as introverted as she says in her comment below, but a sharer, a supporter of all things social media, and a great dancer who taught me the “waddle”! Dr. Dean has a quiet southern presence about him that makes him easy to talk to. Besides, when you own up to a bet from two years ago over a steak dinner, what’ not to love?!


The whole idea of creating the Yakezie Network is to build a community of friends who have similar interests and aspirations. I wanted to build a brand online that could be leveraged by all the Members to help propel their own success. Almost all of us have used the Yakezie Network to keep us accountable for our writing consistency on our respective blogs. Others have used the Network to create ad campaigns and generate revenue for themselves and other participants. Meanwhile, Eric, Jeff, and Shane were able to use the Network to practice their leadership and speaking abilities in front of an audience.

There are five main attributes of a leader in my opinion:

1) Leaders take risks

2) Leaders listens

3) Leaders help others

4) Leaders adapt

5) Leaders lead through action

Like anything else, we’ve just got to work on our leadership skills if we want to improve. I have a problem with talking too much, coming across as arrogant, and getting in my own way. Through the past two and a half years of the Yakezie Network’s existence, I’ve worked on getting better primarily for my offline world’s sake, but there’s a still long way to go.

You can often tell who has good leadership attributes just by meeting them for the first several minutes. They aren’t cliquish and instead have a very inclusive nature about them. You can sense their confidence, whether it be quiet or loud that somehow makes you want to listen.

There are leadership qualities in all of us, whether you know it or not!

Friends, I’m curious to know from all of you what makes a good leader? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What are some things you are working on improving?

Check out these other great Fincon wraps:

* Best Social Moments At Fincon from 20’s Finances.

* 5 Crucial Business Lessons I Picked Up from comedian Steve Chou.

* Is Spending Big Bucks On A Conference Worth It? by Joe from Retire by 40.

Any other good inclusive wraps? Let me know.



Photo: Jason, Jeff, Eric, Marie, Shane from L to R. Great job guys!