This year’s Senior Market Advisor Expo in Orlando will go down in the record books as the show that survived a major weather event but still managed to go on strong — a story of survival and endurance that echoed the sentiments of the show’s opening keynote, Scott Burrows.
Burrows’ story of the power of personal belief, stamina and vision, helped officially launch this year’s action-packed event, held in late August at Loews’ Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando.
SMA editor Daniel D. Williams also helped get the show off to a high note with the announcement that Rosemary Caligiuri was named this 2008′s Advisor of the Year. The Langhorne, Pa.-based advisor and life coach was a friendly and visible presence throughout the entire show, including the show-closing Advisor of the Year roundtable, which featured Caligiuri’s runners-up: Mark Fields, Stefanos Loisou and Chris Hobart (advisor/lawyer David Hollander was not able to attend).
Despite Fay’s rainy and windy conditions inside, this year’s Expo went off without a hitch, with many hundreds of attendees taking part in an interactive mixture of keynote speakers, busy breakout sessions and learning a bit and finding new business opportunities on a very dynamic show floor.
Typical to the Expo, this year’s show also featured many opportunities for advisors, industry reps and other insiders to rub shoulders in a more social setting, including GamePlan’s memorable Luau Party and a series of hospitality suites.
Members of Senior Market Advisor‘s advisory board also got a chance to meet and greet with the magazine’s editorial staff and several of the AOY candidates during a cocktail reception.
Opening keynote Scott Burrows’ own emotionally charged tale of success revealed a top producer and all-weather sports enthusiast whose personal triumphs seem quite remarkable, considering the astounding obstacles he’s faced.
A promising athlete with aspirations to play football at Florida State, Burrows was involved in a car accident 24 years ago. The crash left the then-19-year-old Burrows paralyzed and facing the possibility that he would never walk again, much less able to pursue a career or recreational activities.
As Burrows demonstrated, to the amazement of showgoers, a combination of strong will and intensive physical therapy has allowed him to stand for extended lengths of time — he can golf, with the help of a cart, and has been able to enjoy the most challenging of able-bodied sports including scuba diving, skydiving and downhill skiing — as well as building a thriving business in the financial services world.
Standing up to life’s challenges, quite literally, is a matter of setting one’s own goals, maintaining a constant level of perseverance and continually sticking your neck out. Burrows says he adopted a personal strategy that blended the notions of vision, mindset and pure grit to allow him to recover and thrive.
“Much of it is all about overcoming your own self-perceived limitations and breaking out of your comfort zone,” Burrows says. “It’s a lot of risk-taking behavior, but the reward is tremendous.”
Over the next few days, several presenters packed their sessions with a mixture of top sales advice, vital information and tools for helping advisors build their businesses. Some of the showgoers’ favorites included SMA columnists Richard Berry and Kerry Johnson, as well as keynote presentations by columnist John Boe and 2007′s Senior Market Advisor of the Year (and featured columnist) Craig Randall.