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Super Women’s Summit Outside-the-box Keynote Focuses on Memory and Mental Acuity for Clients and Advisors


Securities America celebrated our 12th annual Super Women’s Summit on June 5, bringing together 200 top women advisors to meet up, learn and hear from speakers who resonate with women from both a personal and professional perspective. This year we welcomed the equally amazing women advisors from our sister independent advisory and brokerage firm (IAB), KMS Financial Services.

Next year, we’ll include women advisors from all of Ladenburg’s five sister-IABs. The impact of inviting even more advisors reaches far beyond the women who come to the event. The ripple effect of benefits extends to everyone who knows or works with them. Clients, employees and family – everyone wins when she gets better.

We were also excited to host 12 young female Link to the Future (LTTF) students to this year’s Super Women’s Summit. The LTTF program, sponsored by Ladenburg, Securities America and our sister-IABs, brings select college students and advisors’ college-age children to our various conferences. Imagine how completely thrilled these young women were to meet with such high caliber women advisors!

Since its inaugural event last year, one hundred students have attended one of our conferences through LTTF. My hope is to begin changing the narrative about our industry in the minds of these college students and to inspire more young women to choose financial advising as a rewarding career.

The Super Women’s Summit provides opportunities to grow, share, reconnect with old friends and make new, lifelong relationships. But we also try to step outside of the ordinary – each year we bring in a speaker with a fresh, outside look on our world. This year’s speaker, Dr. Pamela Wartian Smith, M.D., MPH, MS, a world-renowned expert on functional and personalized medicine, gave a fascinating – and highly relevant – presentation you wouldn’t hear at a traditional industry conference.

Kim Kropp, Moylan Kropp LLC, said Smith’s presentation on memory and focus was insightful for all women, no matter how young or old.

“I always believe a great speaker is one who can connect with all ages and that’s exactly what she did.”

Smith, director for the Center for Personalized Medicine and founder of The Fellowship in Anti-Aging, Regenerative and Functional Medicine, is a diplomat of the board of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Physicians and author of several books on the subject. An internationally-known speaker, she’s also been featured on numerous television networks, including CNN and PBS. But Smith had deep chasms to cross before achieving this level of accomplishment.

Smith shared her own personal story of male colleagues and teachers discouraging her in following her professional passion. Persevering, she eventually became a pioneer, world-renowned expert and the only member of her graduating class now practicing in her field.

The subject of maintaining memory and focus is of deep relevance for advisors. More than 77 million baby boomers are reaching, or have reached, retirement age and many may struggle with loss of memory and mental acuity. It’s an important aspect of a client’s longevity planning.

Lifespans are increasing for nearly every demographic group, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our industry is evolving to encompass much more than finance. Advisors are becoming architects of a well-lived life by combining a client’s money, meaning and medical matters through longevity planning.

To learn more about longevity planning, read my recent opinion editorial, 3 Guidelines for Adding Longevity Planning Services.

As your clients pursue new ambitions and solve challenges that come with a longer life, advisors can provide an invaluable service by connecting clients with longevity-related experts and resources. Advisors won’t need to become an expert in every field. They'll just need to know who to connect with when a client need arises. Providing this service will also help differentiate your practice from the rest of the field.

Loss of mental acuity and memory also affects advisors, personally. A hallmark of successful leadership is the ability to focus. In a world increasingly crowded with distractions, attention has become a new currency. Financial advisors especially need their brain to function at its highest level possible.

Although memory lapses are commonly considered a natural process of aging, Smith said current scientific research provides several other reasons, and presented some positive news about memory loss – understanding why loss occurs is the first step in strengthening and even restoring mental acuity.

At the heart of her presentation was the importance of the thyroid – it must function perfectly to maintain peak memory performance. The thyroid, Smith said, is the conductor of your brain, and the hormones, such as insulin, cortisol, pregnenolone and estrogen, that regulate it are the instruments. All must play in perfect pitch and harmony. Too often, however, tests for measuring levels of hormones provide a range, rather than specific numbers.

Having tests which monitor them with exactness is crucial in addressing thyroid imbalance.  Smith said the thyroid must function perfectly for optimal memory and focus. She also talked about two other major culprits that impact health, especially in women – sugar and stress.

“I think everyone was taking notes and left the room thinking about how they could improve their awareness and be healthier overall,” Kropp said. “I loved her. I would love to hear her again and have a full day of learning from her!”

At the beginning of the event, I shared some information from the May issue of a Costco article I had read on "Gender Bias in Health Care," which presented some very interesting research. It indicated women aren’t taken as serious as men when it comes to health issues and we’re sometimes misunderstood, especially in the doctor’s office. When listening to female patients discuss symptoms, physicians are sometimes more likely to think “it’s in your head.”

Worse, according to the American Heart Association, women are less likely to survive a traumatic health episode than men due to the differences in post-heart attack care.

Ladies, we’ve got to get better at advocating for our health and speaking up for ourselves in the doctor’s office! The article suggested women experiencing any abnormal health issues write a one-page synopsis describing what they are feeling or going through (extreme fatigue is a big one) and share it with their doctor; have an advocate who can listen to conversations with their doctor; learn a few medical terms and get a second opinion if they feel their questions aren’t being answered, or their concerns aren’t being addressed or are brushed aside.

Oh, and I can’t forget the gift that we shared with all the women who attended the Super Women’s Summit; a beautiful glassybaby votive that signifies the flame (light) in all of us. They’re made by a woman-owned company that was birthed out of a heartening experience of cancer and perseverance. I encourage you to check out the company’s story.

A huge thanks to Erinn Ford, CEO and president of KMS Financial Services for helping me lead the Summit and to Erinn’s special guest, her mom, who has mentored numerous women in financial services.  

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous rest of the year!