Skylar Bonné is a United States Navy veteran and proud employee of AmeriVet Securities, a registered veteran-owned business with a strong focus on diversity and inclusion. After serving as a Naval Aircrewman Operator, Bonné attended Penn State University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. He has also completed coursework in Sustainable Business Strategy and Alternative Investments from Harvard Business School and is certified in Business and Financial Modeling by the Wharton School.
Bonné is a proud mentor of young veterans currently seeking employment in the world of finance and uses his unique skill set to cultivate positive change in his community. Despite working long hours, he claims that his current career allows him to help others which he finds very rewarding
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
I love that hard work pays off. You see tangible results for what you do. Working with vets, I get to see how the lives of these guys are changed from the work I do with them.
In the financial services aspect of my industry, I get to see a company worth millions of dollars be traded on the NYSE, or in the case of Bumble a few weeks ago, I helped co-manage that IPO, in which she became the youngest female CEO of a public company. To be able to see a tangible result like that is incredible.
What keeps you motivated?
My dad has Parkinson’s. I have a large part in providing for him and making sure his well being is okay. I’m not really just in this for myself, but also my dad. He spent 30 years working for the New York City government and he was miserable, but he spent every day being miserable to support a family. I know my dad was like that, and I know I have to be like that, except I know I’m happy doing what I do.
How do you motivate others?
I think that’s what it means to be a leader, whether it’s my time in the Navy when I had others reporting to me, or in my current position where I have interns who are veterans I’m mentoring. I’m a Teaching Assistant at a class at Penn State with 60 guys who want to go work in my industry, and I want to make sure people feel empowered. I want to make sure people are being their best selves. I give my interns as much responsibility as they ask for, and I feel that’s a great way to motivate others. You let them go as far as they are willing, and you make sure you reward the positives.
How has your company grown from its early days to now?
It’s a really cool story, honestly. The founder of my company is named Lt. Col. Elton Johnson. It was a one-person company when he founded it in 1994. He founded it when there was some sensitivity in California to disabled veteran owned brokers/dealers. He was a reservist at the time and after 9/11 he was called up and did seven tours, two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He came back in 2018 and realized that he couldn’t have this one-person broker/dealer anymore. He realized he needed to form a strategic partnership and that’s what he did. AmeriVet is now a 50 person firm with a net capital of eight million dollars.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
I would say my grandfather. He came over to the U.S. in 1939 during the Holocaust. He came over narrowly escaping genocide and started with nothing. Not a dollar. He joined the army to get citizenship. He spent a year in a POW camp and then came back and started work as a busboy and after twenty years he was managing five restaurants. I think that’s the American dream.
What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?
Hard work. Perseverance. A willingness to do what it takes to get the job done. And to give back and not forget where I came from and who helped me to get where I am.
What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?
Learn as much as you can. Take as many classes as you can. Read as much as you can. Read things like The Wall Street Journal or watch CNBC. Keep up with what’s going on in the industry. Find as many mentors as you can. Go to those mentors with questions and stay humble. Odds are the person you’re going to for advice knows a lot more than you do, and try to talk to as many people as possible.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I’m twenty-four and a senior in college, but a few weeks ago I had an opportunity to do what we call “manage the book” on five IPOs. That was about $2.5 billion in IPOs in one day. I’m not sure there’s another 24-year old alive who had the ability to do that.
Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
A lot of what I do out of work is helping vets. It’s my life’s mission. I work with a few nonprofits and sit on the board of one. When I left the military and came back to civilian life it was difficult to adjust. I want to be a helping hand for vets who are transitioning.
Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
I love my firm and where I’m at, but they want me to grow. They want me to go where it’s best for me. I know I love it where I’m at and there is an insane amount of growth available to me here. But I guess it depends on what the world looks like when I get there.