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Lead With Levity: An Interview with Jacqueline Ko Matthews, CEO of PJMint

Jacqueline Ko Matthews is the founder and CEO of PJMint, a digital wealth management firm that delivers better, safer and cheaper comprehensive, advanced quantitative wealth management strategies online to everyday investors. She was the right-arm Investment Executive to former Virginia Governor/current U.S. Senator Mark Warner in his $200m family investment office and played a critical role in establishing the Goldman Sachs Investment Banking Hong Kong office focusing on China, Taiwan and Southeast Asian markets. She worked under then Co-Chairman Robert Rubin who later became U.S. Treasury Secretary.

We’re thrilled to have her insights on Leading with Levity to share with you.

Here are the highlights from our conversation:

Listen to Your Team

“There are leaders who only want people to listen to them. A better approach is to do more listening. Make decisions based on the input of your team members. Solicit multiple viewpoints and have them present you with the pros and cons before you make a decision. This empowers your team and builds a stronger organization.”

Know The World Is Changing

“People don’t want the world to change. Humans are comfortable with predictability. I don’t want to say they have their head in the sand, but they don’t want to deal with what may be coming. This creates a dinosaur effect—it’s a philosophy that leads to extinction. It’s important to embrace uncertainty and see it as an opportunity rather than a threat.

“You don’t want stagnation in your organization. You want people who are eager to be at the forefront, who want to lead the evolution in your industry. Look for this when you’re building your team. You don’t want the paycheck chasers. That attitude passes on and affects your clients.

“Instead, you want the people who have that professional pedigree but are also excited to embrace a new paradigm approach. They’re going to help your organization evolve and stay current.”

Incredibly Smart, Talented Leaders Laugh

“I’ve worked with some truly great leaders—Goldman Sachs Co-Chairman and then U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Virginia Governor and current U.S. Senator Mark Warner—and they’ve always had a sense of humor. You can’t take yourself too seriously—after all, it’s possible to be incredibly smart and good at what you do, and still make mistakes. Humor brings out the humanity in the situation.

“Being able to laugh at yourself impacts how well you can motivate and inspire the people who are around you. A confident leader knows no one is perfect—even themselves.

“These leaders also taught me to make sure that whatever path I take with my career, make sure that it makes a positive impact on people’s lives. This was the underlying mission behind the creation of PJMint—to democratize comprehensive and advanced quantitative wealth management solutions to everyone. Making a difference using your unique skills will create the most joy and laughter all around.“

Self-Deprecating Humor Can Be A Double-Edged Sword

“The ability to laugh at yourself is important, but you don’t want to take it too far. Women do a good job softening their message with humor, often with self-deprecating humor. You’ve heard this happen. Sometimes it goes too far. It’s best to find a balance, where you’re comfortable in the position you’re in and don’t feel that you need to be apologetic. Remember that you’ve done good work and you’ve earned your position. You deserve to be there.”

Lead With Levity Summary:

Jacqueline Ko Matthews is a shining example of how to bring both wit and wisdom to the leadership front. Remember that as leaders we don’t have to be perfect. And at those times when our imperfections are there for all to see, humor makes us human. It’s important to laugh at ourselves, but don’t go overboard—that can backfire. Using humor when leading others will inspire those we lead, and create joy and laughter for us all.

Thanks, Jackie!

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