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Raymond James Plans New Venue for Growing Women’s Symposium

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Raymond James (RJF) has wrapped up its 21st annual Women’s Symposium, with plans to relocate the event next year.

“We’ve just outgrown facilities here in St. Petersburg,” said Michelle Lynch, vice president and director of the Raymond James Network for Women Advisors, in an interview. “The breakout rooms are busting at the seams. Attendance continues to grow, and moving to a larger venue — the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando — will help us address that need.”

The group met last week in St. Petersburg, Florida, at the Vinoy Hotel, near the firm’s headquarters. Some 300 female advisors and 200 other financial professionals attended the event, including 23 prospective advisors visiting from other broker-dealers.

During the event’s recognition dinner on Thursday, Raymond James honored four advisors with Woman of Distinction Awards.

“We are pleased to recognize these four deserving women advisors who are among the top performers in each of our Private Client Group business units,” explained Lynch in a statement.

Lynn Phillips-Gaines, Debbie Crownover, Deborah Stauring and Lori Pinkowski “are not only successful businesswomen, they are also leaders within their communities and mentors within the firm and industry,” Lynch explained. They work, respectively, as an independent advisor affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services, an employee advisor with Raymond James & Associates Inc., part of Raymond James Investment Advisors Division and with Raymond James Ltd. of Canada.

During Thursday’s awards event, advisor Sacha Millstone said she was matching individual donations of up to $100 to Funding the Future, which sponsors music shows in schools highlighting the importance of financial literacy. Several other advisors announced plans to launch a donor advised fund to support women facing financial hardship. 

As for the overall success of the Women’s Symposium, Lynch says she could not be more pleased. “Earlier in the week, we had presenters that really spoke to the audience,” she said in an interview, referring to BBC anchor and author Katty Kay and Jan Holman of Thornburg Investment Management.

Kay’s book “The Confidence Code” highlights “what we all struggle with, ruminating or worrying” rather than acting on our dreams, Lynch explains. “That word, ruminating, became a buzzword at the conference, and Holman’s talk on helping women in transition gave everyone actionable ideas, which is also what the conference is all about.”

Raymond James includes about 6,400 advisors in the United States and Canada, about 850 of whom are women. In addition to female reps, more than 100 members of the company’s Capital Markets team attended part of the Women’s Symposium.

The company’s Executive Committee includes Bella Loykhter Allaire, executive vice president of technology and operations; Shelley Broader, president and CEO of Walmart’s Europe, Middle East, Africa and Canada operations, as well as Susan Story, president and CEO of American Water Works, sit on its corporate board of directors.

— Check out Female Clients Talk About Why They Love Their Advisors on ThinkAdvisor.