First-Timers Share Their Views of IMPACT 2011
It was huge, with a record 4,000-plus financial advisors, exhibitors, media and Schwab employees in attendance.
It was educational, with inspiring keynote speakers and 82 different educational sessions.
It was news-making, with CNBC broadcasting live from the Expo floor and daily coverage in more publications than I can count.
Most of all, IMPACT 2011 was the place to talk with other first-timers like me.
Schwab’s Chief Marketing Officer Laurine Garrity was also attending her first conference. “My biggest takeaway was how strong the relationships are between Schwab and the Registered Investment Advisor community,” she said. “I thought the mood was amazing. There was high energy, strong engagement, and lots of networking.”
Chad Weinkoff (left) and Samantha Pickering (far right) network at the student reception during IMPACT 2011.
That’s precisely what I found with the college contingent – 54 students and faculty representing Golden Gate University, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech and two University of California locations. Last Wednesday, I met Virginia Tech undergrads Samantha Pickering and Chad Weinkoff in the Schwab Center. They were easy to pick out of a crowd, since both wore maroon shirts with an orange VT logo.
Ann Gugle of Alpha Financial Advisors
“The shirts help us a lot,” Chad admitted. “A lot of people seek us out and want to talk to us.”
“IMPACT offers a great opportunity for networking,” Samantha added.
While I couldn’t find an educational session for “Networking 101,” many topics sounded like they came from a college syllabus. Consider the “Master Class on Commodities” or “Strategies for Preparing for Your Next Exam.” Texas Tech master’s candidate Cassie Humphreys was most interested in a session on real estate assets. That’s her particular passion, and she was “pleasantly surprised” to see the topic covered at IMPACT.
One of her fellow Texas Tech students, James Nevers, graduates in May and was quick to give reasons why advisors should consider hiring a college graduate rather than an advisor in transition. “It’s hard not to look at the bottom line,” he said. “Obviously, an existing broker can bring his own book of business, but you also have to look at potential risks. Students can adapt and plug in immediately.”
As James was talking, financial planner Ann Gugle joined our conversation. This first-time IMPACT attendee has been working with her husband John for the past year as a principal at Alpha Financial Advisors in Charlotte, N.C. The husband-and-wife team plan to hire their first additional employee, and Ann was seeking the advice of other IMPACT attendees on how to ensure a good fit.
Ann also took heart in the prevailing sentiment at IMPACT. “One of the biggest things I’ll take away from here is a positive outlook. It’s been refreshing because the financial news has been so dismal.”
James Behne, an MBA candidate from UC-Irvine, echoed the upbeat attitude. He cited the closing statement from keynote speaker Tony Blair, former prime minister of the U.K., who reminded Americans that we have something others want: liberty. “This remark provided positive energy and hope for the future of the United States, despite the economic, financial and political chaos experienced recently,” James said.
I have to admit, after talking to so many first-timers at IMPACT, the future seems a little bit brighter.
Cassie Humphreys of Texas Tech
James Behne (left) and Chris Marquis of UC-Irvine at the IMPACT Expo.
Experiences reflected are not a guarantee of future performance or success and may not be representative of your experience.
Third-party firms and speakers are not affiliated with or employed by Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.
Lou Reda is ‘hands-on’ with community service
Long-term investing helped Eileen Birge retire early
Jeff Feld calls the 401(k) an ‘All-American’ plan