As a longtime advocate for women in financial services, one of my favorite events each year is the Ladenburg Institute of Women & Finance symposium (LIWF). I’m on the LIWF committee with other successful women executives from the family of Ladenburg companies. This year was particularly exciting with more than 200 leading women financial professionals, executives, third-party experts and strategic partners gathered in Dallas, Oct. 9-11. Even more exciting was watching ten women business students take part in LIWF’s inaugural LIFT University.
These young, aspiring financial professionals – students from the University of Georgia, University of Central Missouri, Southern Methodist University and Texas Women’s University – shadowed experienced female financial professionals during the symposium. The students gained exposure to critical industry concepts and networked with some of the industry’s most accomplished women financial professionals. A successful woman financial professional was paired with each student, providing her the opportunity to ask questions and gain a better understanding of our profession.
Our opening keynote speaker, Karen McCullough, sponsored by Delaware Life, presented keys to effective personal branding. Her recommendations included learning what others think and say about you, identifying what you know about yourself that others don’t and managing the voices in our heads – noting our minds change our behaviors and our behaviors change our outcomes. She recommended everyone watch TED Talk sensation Amy Cuddy’s presentation on “Power Posing.”
After lunch, Melissa Snell, senior advisor consultant with Franklin Templeton, discussed how brain impulses can negatively impact investment success.
Leading memory expert Ron White presented Wednesday’s second keynote, wowing the audience by memorizing 98 percent of attendees’ first names. White said memorization is a learned skill – anyone can improve their memory by developing a memorization system. He led us in a practice session on “how to file our memories” and reminded us that when meeting someone new we should focus on “what’s her name” instead of anticipating the conversation that will follow.
I was honored to lead a financial professional panel of five talented, successful women who discussed everything from client acquisition and retention strategies to succession planning. Our Securities America featured panelist was 23-year industry veteran Kim Kropp. A revered advisor and mentor for LIFT (a twelve-month women’s mentorship program pairing up-and-coming women financial professionals and career changers with experienced women financial professionals across the Ladenburg family of independent advisory and brokerage firms), Kim has a tremendous gift for holding highly engaging special events and drawing hundreds of women to learn and have some fun.
Kim shared some of her favorite and most successful events including presenting Invesco’s “Picture Your Prosperity” at a privately rented movie theater, bringing in an FBI agent to talk to women about cybersecurity and hosting a personal security/self-defense class. Her events are lifestyle- and life skills-centric. She shares how managing and investing money appropriately are the means to a fulfilling and balanced life.
Other panel participants described how they’ve brought more women into the fold with their Wine, Women & Wealth events, Second Saturday Divorce Workshops and a Master Gardening presentation put on by a well-known gardening expert. Another fascinating event involved a local expert who helped audience members create their own Dream Board. There was no shortage of proven and well-implemented ideas to attract and retain clients.
Jared Weiner, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of The Future Hunters, had several predictions about the years to come. Entirely new jobs will exist we can’t imagine today – requiring changing skill sets and competencies. Trust will become the ultimate luxury. Clients will pay more for relationships. And the importance of sustainable investing will grow.
And of course, we got to have some fun with a Texas barbecue and dancing with our cowgirl hats (complements of LIWF) purchased through a stand-up Wild Bill shop brought right to the conference. The conference closed with lunch and a Pass the Mic activity. Financial professionals took turns describing unique measures they’ve taken to grow their business. Ideas included becoming a chapter president for the W Source (a female networking turn-key client referral program), establishing personal credibility through writing for leading trade journals, growing a business through purchasing firms from retiring advisors and a blueprint for working with millennial investors.
There were many more sessions with great content and takeaways. This event is such a great venue for networking, learning and growing! As the saying goes, when one leader gets better, everyone around her gets better. Next year’s LIWF will be held Oct. 14-16, 2019 in New Orleans. I hope you’ll take some time to discover the value of how Securities America can help you grow, perfect and protect your practice and maybe you’ll decide to become a part of this great community of women.