Last weekend a group of about 200 financial planners from around the country and world gathered in Miami to learn and share at the Financial Planning Association 2014 Retreat. Most of them were CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Practioners–the industries gold standard of designations.
Although we attend lots of industry conferences, it was our first time joining this retreat. We came away with a deeper understanding of the passion our fellow practioners have for delivering outstanding advice for our collective clients. The conference really encourages collaboration between colleagues.
The conference starts with a “Circle Gathering”, where all the attendees sit in one of the rings of the circle to share a bit of who they are and the question they come seeking the to answer over the weekend. There was an outstanding Graphic Facilitation Artist–Giselle Chow–who captured many of the weekend’s conversations visually. David Isaacs from the World Café facilitated this session. It was terrific to hear from so many others what was on their mind.
There was the usual panel discussions and speakers each day. However, “lunch under the trees” was something new to me. Basically, any practitioner could go to the bulletin board and put a topic up and see who might be interested in joining in for a conversation. It was a great way to dive a bit deeper with colleagues who wanted to explore the same topic and meet new connections.
There was the evening social activities from cocktail parties to dinner but this was the first time I played Goofy Golf. Goofy Golf was a unique way to network while practicing putting skills with a variety of instruments offered to help you to get your round object into the hole. It was a fun, playful way to meet others and determine who the fierce competitors are amongst your peers.
The weekend wrapped up with our own World Café with David. By using the seven design principles and a simple method, the World Café engaged the attendees in conversations that mattered the most from the weekend. It was a very cool experience to end a very engaging and energizing weekend. Now it’s off to implement all the learning.