Building a company comes down to attracting the right people to tackle the right opportunity - then working incredibly hard to create the right context for them to be most successful.

A QUALITY ABOUT A PERSON THAT CATCHES MY ATTENTION: Thoughtful questions, forward-thinking orientation, long-term perspective. SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME GO "AWW": French bulldogs - I have a 7 year-old Frenchie named Pixel. PEOPLE OFTEN DESCRIBE ME AS: Disciplined, resilient, grateful, determined.

Jordan Goldman

Placing bets on what’s most important

BUILDING WHAT’S NEXT. Jordan Goldman’s eyes are firmly set on the future. “I try to think about my career in a 30-to-40-year arc. I’m always looking to expand what I know, increase my skills, and identify opportunities that could drive the most impact.” After publishing a series of books from Penguin Books, then founding, serving as CEO and selling two companies – the crowd-sourced data company Unigo, which he grew to 2 million registered users and sold in 2014, and the software business Switchboard – he began thinking about what could be valuable to learn about next.

He decided to invest in broadening his range, and prioritized gaining expertise in industries that were accelerating rapidly. Focusing on fintech and machine learning, he joined the company Laso as Chief Marketing Officer alongside its Series A. Over two years, he helped the business scale to provide over $6 billion in loans and the company was acquired by Lendio. From there, he diversified into cryptocurrency and became Chief Marketing Officer at Genesis, a digital asset prime brokerage. Since he arrived, Genesis has gone from 30 to nearly 200 employees, and the business has grown to facilitate over $200 billion in digital asset trades, loans and transactions each year, with backers including SoftBank and Google Ventures.

As software transforms industries and operations, Jordan prioritized deep dives into areas like machine learning and blockchain that are creating new capabilities and paths forward. He’s an angel investor in companies including Roam Research and a Lead Mentor at accelerators including Techstars, placing bets on tech, artificial intelligence, finance and education. Working as founder, CEO and CMO across different ventures has given him a valuable range of perspectives across the executive bench.

In a rapidly changing digital economy, people and companies need to be able to learn new approaches and adjust. In many cases, traditional linear career paths and leadership styles are no longer the right fit. Leaders also need to develop a multi-faceted view of company operations to get the most out of their team. When things are moving quickly, they need to be able to express who they are and not hold back, and encourage others to do the same. The best leaders actively earn trust through experience, honesty, commitment and vulnerability.

AUTHENTICITY IN THE SELF AND THE TEAM. Jordan grew up in Staten Island, New York. His parents got divorced when he was young and his mother was a teacher. He figured out he was gay in high school. “Having to work out your identity during your formative years forces you to be more reflective. It can also help you think for yourself and come out stronger, more disciplined and more determined on the other side.”

That kind of self-reflection and strength can create more independent thinking, more capable and also more empathetic leaders, Jordan says. “You come up with and trust in your vision of the world. Over time, as you’re honest about who you are, it encourages everyone else around you to be authentic, too.”

Being different in a team is no longer taboo, but instead can be valuable. “Having a strong, independent point of view, experimenting, learning fast and scaling what works is what helps companies try new things and win. Authentic leadership encourages this. It inspires team members, pushes them to shoot higher, and creates an environment where they’re not afraid to do things differently.”

“Spend time thinking about where things are heading over the long term. Bring together the best team you can find. If you’re being thoughtful and authentic, constantly expanding your skills, and helping great people be successful - teams grow to trust you, and they’ll move heaven and earth to win. So long as you take each setback as a learning experience, there is always another move to play to push things forward in the right direction.”

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.