“It is important to try to understand your customers and their needs and supply what they need with honesty,” says Gastón Fontaine. 2018 YLAI Fellow Gastón is the founder of eaInversores, an online platform based in Córdoba, Argentina, that provides low-cost investment assistance and financial literacy education.
In 2010, Gastón participated in a social assistance trip to Peru; recognized the different social, political and economic needs of the area; and saw how his actions could affect the individuals in the community’s lives. Afterward, he wanted to do more than his previous work in marketing and research. Wanting to also focus on building opportunities in his own community, Gastón pursued social entrepreneurship and launched eaInversores.
“Our main goal is to empower people through knowledge and give them the best financial tools according to what they need,” says Gastón. He finds that individuals in Argentina, particularly millennials, really want to increase their savings, better understand budgeting and discover how to invest in the stock market, but many do not know where to start.
“Few in Argentina are actively investing their money,” Gaston says. Motivated by a passion for understanding and encouraging good financial behavior, he saw a perfect opportunity to grow the market in his community. His organization, eaInversores, provides financial education through online courses and conferences. It also provides free courses to people who cannot afford the conferences — encouraging individuals to practice good financial behavior, sharing tips for how best to save and creating lessons on how to invest.
When leading his small team of marketers, researchers and sellers, Gastón focuses on being relatable and transparent with the team and with the customers. “We must create a reliable relationship with customers, and they need to trust in us,” he says. Gastón recognizes that his organization deals with an individual’s investments and interests that are very personal, and he ensures that his organization is about really working with people. It is important for him to establish a trusting relationship with his team as well as with its clients.
Effective leaders, particularly professionals involved in finance, need to have sharp, developed skills in communication; have a defined vision for their organization; and lead with honesty.
Gastón believes that one of the essential steps of being a leader is creating a reliable team that propels you to achieve your major goals effectively.
Gastón credits YLAI with helping him develop new ideas, set goals, finalize a business model and better understand the different markets in the U.S. and within Argentina. He also relishes the network he has created to pursue other opportunities for his community, such as a developing think tank focused on economic relations in Argentina, with connections he made through YLAI.
His advice to YLAI Network members is to not be afraid of the challenge of entrepreneurship. Even if you do not have all of the essentials you think you need to succeed, all you need is to be passionate, to be an honest leader, and to encourage your team.
Make sure to follow along with YLAI for Integrity to learn more about leading with integrity.