As I reflect on FPA Retreat, what jumps out to me is personal and professional growth. I look back at the various stages of my life and how each have impacted me. The first day of high school was different than anything I had experienced before. As soon as I thought I had it figured out, then came college. That was a whole new experience. And as soon as I thought I had life figured out and knew how my career was going to go, I did a summer internship that changed my whole perspective. And then graduation and moving officially into the “real world” was another shock to my system.

Each of these “shocks” were not bad; they actually helped to mold and shape me into who I am. Each of them opened my eyes a little wider each time and broadened my perspective. Now that I am in my career, I actively seek opportunities to grow and improve, and one of the absolute best avenues that I’ve found to help continue to push me is FPA Retreat.

I’ve been going to FPA Retreat since 2015, and every single year it gives me a “shock.” It pushes me out of my comfort zone, but that is the beauty of it. Without being pushed and exposed to new ideas, how do we grow?

I have been in the financial planning profession for just over 14 years, and I had heard about Retreat early on in my career. It was always a conference that was held in such high regard, and I was very excited that I was going to be able to finally attend in 2015. After attending the first time, I realized that it is so much more than a conference. It is an experience.

Yes, there are great CE sessions, but again, it is so much more than that. You’ll find topics that you might not necessarily expect to find at a financial planning conference. You’ll find discussions that will change your whole outlook on the profession. You’ll meet other passionate financial planning professionals and make lifelong friends. And, if you’re like me, you’ll find it pushes your comfort zone and makes you think.

One of the best sessions I have ever been to at any conference was at Retreat a few years ago. I am still not sure if I agree with what was being presented, but the presentation and following discussions really made me take a hard look at what my position on the topic really was. And, to me, that is what Retreat is all about. It is to make us think. It is to push us. It is to make us and our profession better.

I wouldn’t be where I am today in my career without FPA, and FPA Retreat is a huge part of that. Even after being in the profession for as long as I have, Retreat still pushes me, and I look forward to this experience every year!