By Jill Anne Spence

I have a confession to make: I’ve been in financial services for 30+ years and have never attended an event focused on women from our industry. I’ve been missing out! The Investment News Women Adviser Summit in Denver July 11 & 12 gave me and my fellow attendees the opportunity to learn from, celebrate and elevate one another. 

At a time in history when oppression hits us from all sides, this event was just the pick-me-up that I needed. It reminded me that now is not the time to bury my head in despair. It’s the time to lift each other up, to lift myself up and to keep marching forward toward a future that is better for women and all humanity.

Here are a handful of highlights from sessions at the event:

Succession planning and talent development—Brooklyn Brock, Ellevate Advisors, Erin Voisin, EP Wealth Advisors and Carolyn Armitage, Thrivent, reminded us, what if we invest in our people and they don’t stay? And on the flipside, what if we don’t invest in our people and they stay? The point being that, of course, we should invest in our people irrespective of their potential longevity with the company.

Hybrid work environments—Sarah Aviram, author, said you must have clarity on agreements, rather than assumptions. Too often we make assumptions about what is to be accomplished. It’s better to be clear and agree on those things. Also, be creative about connecting—model curiosity and vulnerability. You can only do that when feeling psychologically safe. Create safety for others to do so too.

Long-term care (LTC)—Nancy Butler from Above All Else, brought insights on new products in LTC, including single pay life insurance embedded with LTC benefits. If you never need the LTC benefits, your beneficiaries receive the corresponding death benefit. These products have evolved a lot since they started becoming popular in the 1980s.

Best practices in cybersecurity—Cyber public enemy #1 is email, according to Erin Donham, Charles Schwab. Be diligent about having a password/sentence (the longer, the better), using a password manager, changing it frequently and taking advantage of multi factor authentication. Yes, it’s a pain, but not as much as reclaiming your identity.

Client/advisor relationships—Trust and credibility are won or lost in the small moments, according to Holly Buchanan, author. Uncover your blindspots because there is a disconnect between how we see ourselves and how others see us. Ask others for specifics about what you can do better/differently. Ask for opinions or advice rather than feedback.

Of course, the best part of any live event is the people we get to meet. There was no shortage of smart, successful, outstanding women and a few men who I am happy to have met. 

*Note for all the men in this industry … you are missing out on a lot too! Attend a women’s summit to help deepen your understanding and relationships with the important women in your sphere.

Jill Anne Spence is Director of Marketing Communications at MyVest. She has been to hundreds of advisor conferences and was surprised to learn that a women-focused event was like getting together with your favorite book club friends—comfortable, intimate, full of energy and packed with learning opportunities.