My first Retreat experience was in 1991 (ICFP) at the University of British Columbia. In those early years, while a junior planner, I attended Retreat with a sense of awe as I got to mingle with the leaders of our profession. From a learning perspective, it was like drinking from a fire hose! Three decades later, I’m still drinking from a fire hose at Retreat, and it is still one of the highlights of my year.

Retreat is a special experience—it is a unique time of deep learning and exposure to edgy thinking, but also a time to see familiar faces, to make new friends, to laugh and learn together, then go home re-energized. It is like going back to a well of wisdom to refresh my financial planning spirit.

One of my favorite Retreats was at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa in 2001. I remember a great Q&A session with Nick Murray and his pragmatic advice, a heart-touching “unplugged” session with the brilliant Roger Gibson, and lunch outside at a table with Dick Wagner holding court. I could describe dozens of similar experiences from past Retreats that are etched in my mind.

At every waypoint in my financial planning career—apprentice, senior planner, business leader—Retreat has been a constant contributor to my development, both personally and professionally. It’s a community of serious practitioners who share a serious mission, to transform lives through the power of financial planning.