Growing up, I was never involved in ASB or any type of clubs throughout high school or college. I went to my first Financial Planning Association event after I passed the CFP exam in 2018.
I was 25 years old and, honestly, I hadn’t heard much about the FPA and I didn’t know what it was at that time. One of my friends, Victoria Zakinova, who I met through my CFP review course invited me to our local chapter’s NexGen end of year happy hour. She described NexGen as a group of younger or newer financial planners in the association. I’ve always considered myself as an introvert.
Networking doesn’t come naturally to me, but I was encouraged by the advisor I was working with to get involved with the FPA. He recognized the importance of leadership through his personal involvement with various CPA associations and wanted me to have a similar experience and build my reputation in the financial services industry.
I was so nervous to attend the happy hour. I waited outside for Victoria to walk in with me so I wouldn’t have to go in alone and potentially not having anyone to talk to. Even though I was dreading the event, I set a goal to speak with someone in leadership and ask to get involved. I was introduced to the incoming NexGen President, Susan Brandeis, who invited me to join their next NexGen committee call.
Fast forward to this year and I’m the NexGen president/chair nationally and I only regret not getting involved sooner. Serving in leadership has been one of the most rewarding experiences personally and professionally and if you’ve been thinking about getting involved, let this be your sign to take the next step.
Take the leap
Here are four reasons to get involved with leadership:
Entrée to more opportunities. It’s overwhelming to join any association because there are typically a lot of resources available to you, so you don’t know where to start. Often times, websites are difficult to navigate especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. When you serve in a leadership capacity, it’s our responsibility to share what these resources are with members and those considering joining.
We started hosting monthly welcome calls for NexGen members over the past year, and most individuals are surprised that they can become a NexGen writer for Retirement Daily or Advisorpedia. Moreover, the leadership team are generally the ones who are creating these opportunities for members, so we’re the first to know and take advantage of them.
Sometimes there are opportunities exclusive to our national volunteers like writing for AdvisorNews or recently some of us were honored to be interviewed on the Framework podcast by Carson Coaching! As a leader, we’re given more opportunities than the at-large members. It’s a great way to make a name for yourself and build your personal brand.
Connect with likeminded individuals. From my experience, the financial services industry can be a lonely world if you’re in your early career. Getting involved in a leadership role has introduced me to peers with similar experiences and comparable stages of our careers. Our passion for financial planning has brought us together and we work as a team to set goals that will continue to grow the financial planning community.
While our relationships start as a professional one, we’re also able to connect with one another on a personal level. We’re able to share and learn how to overcome our struggles and celebrate our successes together. It’s a different connection than my relationships with close friends in other industries.
The friendships I’ve made through the FPA are deeper in a sense because these individuals personally understand the complexities around being an associate advisor and trying to advance in this career. Over the past few years, I’ve formed friendships through my leadership role across the country that I know will last a lifetime.
Expand your network. While you can grow your network as an at-large member, you make stronger connections and have wider networking opportunities when you serve in leadership. During this past FPA annual conference, our national leadership team was invited to an invite-only awards ceremony where we met with board members, award winners, FPA staff, and many more prestige individuals.
Some of the top thought leaders of the financial services industry were there and we were able to introduce ourselves and have conversations with them simply because we were in the same room. There have been many times where I’ve recently been invited to events because of my leadership role. If not because of my leadership position, then it’s because of my existing network. You never know who someone may know and connect you with.
Learn a lot about yourself. I’ve spent several hours devoted to NexGen as a volunteer; it’s a lot of work, but it’s true when people say you get out what you put into things. Serving in leadership has honestly changed my life. I’ve grown significantly as a professional and as a person because of my efforts.
I’ve found my true passion for working in teams, strategic planning, and critical thinking. I’m energized when problem solving. So much so that I recently shifted career paths. My involvement with the FPA showed me there are more career paths other than being a financial planner in the financial services industry. While I’ve enjoyed serving clients for the past ten years, it was time to follow my heart and move on.
I’ve started working in a management position at a top broker-dealer firm in the country. I’m excited for the upcoming year in a new career and as NexGen President where I’ll continue to grow by forming new connections, building my network, and facing new challenges. Where there is challenge, there is opportunity.
Amie Agamata is a CFP in San Diego, CA. She is the 2023 NexGen Chair for the Financial Planning Association, nationally.
FPA NexGen, a community of the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), aims to provide support and collaboration for those professionals new to the financial planning profession. With more than 2,500 like-minded young professionals, members of FPA NexGen are ready to share their experiences and further the future of the financial planning profession. Learn more about our engaged community and join the conversation on Twitter.