Janet Levaux, Kyle Van Pelt & Sean Lawlor discuss back-office technology at Weath/Stack 2019 (Photo: Gavin Spitzner, Wealth Consulting Partners)

Change. Innovation. Disruption. Adjustment. You get the picture.

I got double doses of this, and more, by attending the inaugural Wealth/Stack conference put on by Ritholtz Wealth Management and Inside ETFs recently in Phoenix and then the 25th-annual Women’s Symposium sponsored by Raymond James in Orlando.

The two gatherings had different demographics, venues, agendas and speakers, of course. But they had much more in common than you might imagine.

Sure, there were more men in jeans at one event and lots of women in colorful dresses at another, though that’s just their superficial side. These events both emphasized important lessons in broad topics such as leadership, inclusion, respect, technology, strategy and success, as well as insights into specific front- and back-office issues.

TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Innovation Chief Dani Fava was a keynote speaker at Wealth/Stack, for instance, and (as usual) she made the complex subject of artificial intelligence easy to grasp and fascinating.

Meanwhile, Salit Nagy-Todd — vice president of technology at Raymond James — joined three other women on stage in Orlando for a discussion about what tech tools are proving most advantageous for clients, advisors and wealth teams.

A Wealth/Stack panel included two people of color — Tyrone Ross Jr., CEO of 401 and Dasarte Yarnway, founder of Berknell Financial Group — as part of a brutally honest discussion about using social media to build your brand and grow your practice as “an influencer.”

And the Women’s Symposium kicked off with Renée Baker, the firm’s new leader of diversity and inclusion, opening up on how she got into the business. “This network is your village, and it will take all of us to move the needle in diversity and inclusion in our industry,” Baker said. “It feels like a daunting task. But we’ve got to first start the conversation. Let’s empower each other.”

Isn’t that what industry events strive for — mutual empowerment? The more advisors share their challenges and success stories with each other, the better informed and prepared you are for the future.

In general, no pun intended, Col. Nicole Malachowski stressed the value of honesty in her talk at the Women’s Symposium, which focused on her rise up the ranks of the Air Force and selection as a Thunderbird pilot. “It’s all about authenticity,” she said. “Breaking barriers requires integrity. You must maintain fidelity to who you truly are. Do not censor part of yourself.”

United Capital CEO Joe Duran, speaking at Wealth/Stack, shared a similar message about leadership: “Show people you have moral clarity and are open to sharing your weaknesses and strengths.” He also explained the importance of adaptability: “Be willing to change with the times [and say], ‘This is not working as I had thought, so let’s [adjust].’”

At the advisory firm level, these approaches are illustrated by a multi-generational RIA profiled by Jamie Green in the October issue of Investment Advisor: Intercontinental Wealth Advisors, which hosts “earnest internal debates” on its direction and services that benefit from its having team members who “don’t think alike,” according to President Charlie Lutz.

The Investment Advisor and ThinkAdvisor team appreciates the fact that financial advisors make course corrections and introduce innovation for clients and colleagues everyday in portfolios, planning, technology, practice management and beyond. As we’ve done for nearly 40 years, we’ll keep showcasing these efforts in ways that connect advisors and success — past, present and future.