Who you are and what do you do?
My name is Eitan Bar-On, I am married, have a daughter and I’m the COO of Leverate.
I like to think of myself as having a talent for managing people.
My professional career began in the Israeli army in the air force until I was 26 years old. I have a degree in engineering, a second degree in law, and a teaching degree. After the army, I worked at One as a product manager and by the time I left the company I was leading the product manager’s team of the project I worked on, supervising a total of 18 product managers.
I taught high school math for a period of my career and I joined Leverate three and a half years ago. I started as a product manager, moved up to become a senior product manager for back-office products and for the past one and a half years, I’ve been the COO, responsible for all the products and operations in the company.
Describe a typical work day.
Most of my day I spend going from meeting to meeting. Some are strategic meetings with management and clients in which we analyze where we stand and where we want to be in one month, six months, a year, etc. I usually have lunch delivered to the office and I’ll eat during meetings.
When I am not in meetings, I spend about 80% of my time making sure things we’ve planned happen, that clients are happy, that the company is working efficiently. I try to leave the office around 6pm every day to spend some time with my family, read a bedtime story to my daughter and be there for her bath time… I’m not a morning person, so I exercise in the evening, about twice a week.
Later in the evening, I’ll go back to work from home for a while.
How is what you do important for the trading industry?
In my position as a COO, I have a clear view of the market from the top of the hill and I can see ahead, having a finger on the pulse both on the product side and on the customer side of the business, and that allows me to know what the industry needs and develop accordingly.
I am lucky to work with very smart people who like to act.
I like to think of myself as having a talent for managing people. I can take an idea and make it happen. That’s how we have gone from being a company that helps brokers start their own brokerage easily, to being a company that helps brokers succeed by improving their conversion and retention rates.
What do you love about your work?
I love the DNA of the company, its atmosphere and its culture. The level of people working at Leverate is the best I’ve seen around and it is fun to work with people who have a “yes” mentality, who want to help and make things happen. You won’t hear people here say things like, “that’s not my job”.
We just finished our CRM migration to MS Dynamics 2015 and this was a very complex project, timelines changing all the time, requirements being adjusted and everyone involved in the migration really shone through. They worked past their limit, put in the time and always with a positive attitude and a smile on their faces. It was a very demanding project, but it was really fun working around people who always want to help and make things happen.
What is the quintessential experience of working in the trading industry?
The expos. That’s where the stuff happens, it’s where you get to interact with the right people, those who are buying the products we design. We get to see our clients or 3rd parties who we haven’t met in person and we sometimes get to visit their offices and it just gives us a different perspective.
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that’s really important to me, to have passion in what I do
You wouldn’t fly especially to Europe to visit a client and see how their operation works, but once you are there you take the opportunity to see their operation, it’s wonderful. There also may be a potential client we have been in contact with and when we see him at the expo, we get the chance to talk more personally, share a beer and things just click.
How old were you when you had your first paying job?
When I was 10, I went door to door in my neighborhood and collected money from everyone to paint the road. I lost money on my first venture because I didn’t calculate how much paint I needed correctly. I did learn a whole lot though. I learned how amazing it feels to achieve something by yourself and see it through from beginning to end. I also learned that you need to plan better.
With time though, I have learned that planning and doing have to be balanced. You can’t just follow your intuition and run with an idea without planning, but you also can’t stay in the planning stages for too long and not do anything, because you lose the excitement. I am lucky to work with very smart people who like to act.
What got you started in the industry?
I didn’t come from within the industry. I was looking for a job, but I interviewed with Itai Damti, one of the founders of Leverate, and fell in love with his attitude, his personality. He has such an innovative way of thinking, it is striking. He has a fresh approach, he says things that are unexpected, that surprise you. He is a fast thinker and his whole approach makes life interesting.
a client is now a competitor, a third party provider is now a potential client. All stays in the family
There was a feeling in our conversation that made me think “this is a place I’m going to want to come work to every day”, and that’s really important to me, to have passion in what I do. I later met the other founders and I was so impressed with all of them and liked them so much that I joined without hesitation even though it meant a reduction in salary at the time and a lower position.
Who do you admire?
My wife’s ability to make me believe in myself and my best friend’s ability to make me laugh.
Please share an anecdote that is unique to our industry.
At every Expo, I meet people I know, it is a small world we live in. The funny thing is that at these expos I’ll meet familiar people and during our conversation I’ll learn that they are already working in a different company…a client is now a competitor, a third party provider is now a potential client. All stays in the family☺.
Sometimes there’s a lightbulb that goes on in my head, like seeing a new opportunity because someone who used to be a competitor is now a potential client. Other times is seeing a previous employee of Leverate working for a competitor and that’s not such a great feeling, it’s like losing someone you helped raise.
What advice would you like to share here that has been important to you?
One of the most challenging and at the same time fulfilling things I do is managing people. The success of a company doesn’t lie in its technology or the market conditions, but on its human resources.
A company that invests in its people, that spends time and effort in thinking about its staff and that listens to its employees to shape its corporate culture is a company that will see success.