Ziad K. Abdelnour; Wall Street financier, is the President and CEO of Blackhawk Partners, Inc., 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 financing in companies and projects based both in the US and emerging markets and the trading of key physical commodities.
Mr. Abdelnour is also Founder & Chairman of the Board of the Financial Policy Council; a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization designed to give its select group of supporters the opportunity to have direct face-to-face dialogue with the nation’s quintessential powerbrokers and policymakers.
Since 1985, Mr. Abdelnour has been involved in over 125 transactions worth in aggregate over $10 billion in the investment banking, high yield bond and distressed debt markets and has been widely recognized for playing an integral role in those three key market sectors. Mr. Abdelnour serves on the board of Elate Partners, a Chinese investment group backed by large institutional, strategic and wealthy individual investors from China. Mr. Abdelnour also serves on the Advisory board of DPG Investments, a recognized premier multi strategy global merchant banking, alternative investment, management and advisory firm.
On a more personal level, Mr. Abdelnour, former President of the Arab Bankers Association of North America, is the author of “Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics”; a best seller manuscript written for investors that need to navigate the troubled geopolitical waters of the post-crisis world and a prolific writer for 100+ entrepreneurial and financial publications advising and educating investors in private equity, hedge funds, crowd funding, Sovereign Wealth Funds, fund-of-funds, angel networks, venture capital and family offices.
Mr. Abdelnour is also a regular speaker on Private Equity, Physical Commodities trading and Middle East geo-political analysis at industry conferences & TV outlets nationwide including but not limited to Fox News, Newsmax, etc… and a key “influencer” in his own right having a hard core constituency of over 2 million viewers having read his blog postings and analyses since January 2014.
Mr. Abdelnour holds an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Economics, Summa Cum Laude, from the American University of Beirut.
Mr. Abdelnour... As a "rebel with a cause" or "man with a mission" as labelled by many media outlets, who is your hero today?
I don't have a particular hero in mind but many; spanning the business, political and humanitarian spectrums. Heroes for me are daring mavericks who write their own rule book. They are fiercely independent thinkers who know how to fight the lizard brain (to use Seth Godin’s term). If I have to mention a few, I would say in the business world: Michael Milken - Financier and Donald Trump - Deal Maker. In the political world: The late JFK and Ronald Reagan. In the humanitarian world: Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. By the same token, show me a hero, and I'll write you a tragedy.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
"Fight not for your abundance but for the abundance of others and you will see how your life will turn around"... given by my father 20 years ago. After all is said and done, it is all about character and the things that money cannot buy. The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Two major mistakes: Trusting people too much and expecting them to have the same high standards I have. Lessons I’ve learned:
1. Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. You can break trust for a good reason, but it still remains broken.
2. Never lower your standards. You will work with people who don’t care as much about their work as you do. That’s not an excuse to start doing a worse job; if anything it’s a good reason to redouble your efforts.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I start my day at 6:00 am every morning and go over a massive amount of material - both public and private - to be ready to tackle the challenges of the day ahead. Business for me is "War". There is nothing more important than gathering the right "intel" to win wars and massively succeed in business. Nothing comes even close.
Who is your company's target customer?
Our target customers are basically serial entrepreneurs, catalysts, traders, game changers, rebels with a cause determined to change the world for the better and do great deals and deeds empowering society.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Most young people nowadays think that the way to make their fortunes is through setting up tech businesses, and it is true that can be a fruitful direction. But other more conventional businesses shouldn’t be forgotten. There are still plenty of different sectors that need “shaking up”. It is more important to follow your passion and becoming a "game changer" in your field of expertise than going into tech simply to make a fortune. If you don’t really love what you do you won’t succeed.
"Ziad K. Abdelnour, President and CEO at Blackhawk Partners, Inc"
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their business to the next level?
Time is the most precious commodity you have. Use it wisely to build your brand and know how to leverage your activities. Your business should be able to run with or without you. If you can't build a scalable business with a great support network around you, you will never be wealthy. Always remember... The richest people in the world look for and build networks! Everyone else looks for work.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I believe you have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments or publicity.
Are there any causes you strongly believe in? If so, why?
There is more than one cause I strongly believe in.... but if I had to reduce my answer to one single cause, I would say it is the "democratization of capital" worldwide. Just as it has in the United States, the worldwide democratization of capital will democratize industrial assets and produce an explosion of job and wealth creation. Crowd funding is only the beginning.
Do you have any political aspirations?
Not really because I am a very private man.... I would rather be a "kingmaker" and a "powerbroker" than a civil servant.
"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its outcome, than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things" by Niccolo Machiavelli. In my dictionary, an idea that is not 'dangerous' is unworthy of being called an idea at all.