Industry conferences give you the chance to take a new look at your job, your life and your view of success. But they require that you travel, juggle the office work long distance and often adjust to a different time zone.
When I headed out to Raymond James’ recent national conference for its independent advisors in Orlando, I told myself to keep an open mind. I also aimed to have as many genuine conversations as possible because that's what makes attending these industry events worthwhile.
That turned out to be easy to do from the get-go. The young man helping me with my rental car asked me why I was in town. He listened attentively to my response and then began asking me a series of detailed questions about the work financial advisors do and why financial planning matters.
At the end of the conversation, I believe I had (at least somewhat) successfully persuaded him that the earlier and more aggressively you start saving, the better; you need to invest in the market at a young age; and careers in the financial services field are incredibly rewarding.
After that start, it was easy to engage in sincere discussions with attendees at the Raymond James conference. I met a nice couple from Georgia who, like me, are more interested in art museums than theme parks. I spoke with a former wirehouse team based in my home state of Texas. And I had a good chat with Raymond James Chairman and CEO Paul Reilly, who speaks to the press each year after discussing the firm's latest quarterly earnings on TV and leading a town hall with over 2,000 indie reps.
“How many years have we been doing this?” Reilly asked me. “A lot!” I responded with a smile, reflecting back to when I met him for the first time in ’09 after the firm announced he would take the reins from Tom James as CEO the following year.
Before going to Orlando, I assumed the leadership role of this publication upon the departure of longtime Editor-in-Chief Jamie Green. Jamie is one of those incredible people who embody the meaning of the word genuine. Among most everyone who knows and has worked with Jamie, you can't help but feel a sense of gratitude for having the chance to spend some meaningful time with him.
For the past six years, he put together the highlights of Investment Advisor's yearly Broker-Dealer Presidents Poll and Reference Guide for the June issue. I’m pleased to do so this year with my colleagues, and wish to express our group's deep appreciation for all the executives and staff at the BDs who gave us — and by extension our readers — their time and insights so generously for these features.
Though I will never match Jamie's level of industry knowledge nor his deep network of professional contacts and friendships, I will do my best to steer this publication with the focus and dedication he gave it through the years. I’ll lead with my own sense of passion and personality, of course, with the goal of bringing the right mix of change and consistency.
As Jamie said so eloquently last month, it takes a team to produce success. I look forward to working with Danielle Andrus, Melanie Waddell, Chris Nicholls, Liana Roberts and others. We hope to hear from our readers about how we can serve you better. And we wish Jamie all the success in the world for what lies ahead.