FPA Retreat has become a must-attend conference for me, something that has benefited me throughout my career. I attended my first Retreat at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver back when it was hosted by the ICFP and still held on college campuses. I was a leader in the Houston chapter of ICFP, in just the third year of my career, and discovered Retreat as part of my dealings with other chapter leaders.

It was an exciting first event for me, and many of the details of that trip remain with me so many years later. I can’t say for sure, but I think I’ve only missed about five Retreats since then. I have been fortunate to serve on the Retreat Task Force a few times and chaired the 2001 FPA Retreat at Saddlebrook in Tampa, just after the ICFP-IAFP merger.

One of the most memorable Retreats for me was in 1995 at the Princess Resort in Mission Bay, California. That year, Dick Wagner introduced the “softer side of money,” early work that led to the life planning movement and interior finance that are such a rich part of our body of knowledge today. Also that year—and this has to be my best Retreat memory and takeaway—I met my future wife, Tina, and we’ve been married for more than 21 years now.

Retreat has been, and continues to be, important to me in so many ways. It was the right meeting for me to attend early in my career to introduce me to the great minds and thought leadership of our profession. It has continued to invest in me with the knowledge and expertise gained from its advanced sessions, lasting friendships I’ve made and a home I can share with my fellow FPA members.

Besides the leading-edge presentations and speakers we attract each year, being part of the energy that Retreat generates is one of the main reasons I keep coming back. I also love seeing old friends and colleagues and meeting new attendees. For me, Retreat has held an important place at every phase of my career.