During challenging times, it’s especially important for advisors to be part of a caring and collaborative community of peers who are dealing with challenges like the ones they’re facing. That’s a sentiment I’ve heard over and over from advisors during the unprecedented period of disruption and uncertainty we’ve been through with Covid-19.
Being part of a community of advisors with shared values is one of the key benefits that we offer our affiliated advisors. We provide many opportunities for advisors to exchange ideas and support each other, including advisor-led cohorts, Thrivent Advisor Network Exchange forums and more. We also invite practices in our network to participate in the our Advisory Council that provides us with insights into the business and technology challenges advisors face, which in turn informs our platform enhancement roadmap.
One of our most popular forums for advisor interaction is RISE, the annual conference that brings practice owners and staff together to explore industry trends and best practices for managing and growing their business. When we began considering how to adapt RISE to fit with Covid-19 restrictions, we knew we’d have to overcome logistical challenges to create an event that would engage, inform and inspire attendees. We quickly pivoted to a virtual format, with the goal of creating a lively event where participants could connect with peers, share their knowledge and experience, and gain actionable insights.
Ryan Estis, the CEO and Keynote Speaker of Ryan Estis & Associates , provides the actionable insight you can leverage to elevate the client experience, solidify your unique client value proposition and prepare to drive your business growth
We knew it would be hard to achieve the impact of previous in-person events, but I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of our virtual RISE. More than 150 people participated in 15 hours of live, online content over five days in February 2021. Overall participation, including 95% of TAN practices, was on par with attendance at prior in-person RISE events.
We deployed a mix of technologies and a variety of virtual session formats, including general sessions, breakout sessions, peer-to-peer learning tracks, a resource fair and a “Family Feud” tournament. We offered attendees a range of ways to interact, including an activity “feed” to view activity across the platform and post, reply and engage with each other. There was also a directory that made it possible for participants to contact or follow each other and send group or private messages.
Sponsors of the virtual event participated in Family Feud to build team morale and have some fun.
Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, with 92% rating their RISE experience as excellent or very good. Naturally, a virtual event can’t completely replicate the full experience of an in-person event, particularly informal interactions and conversations that occur spontaneously. That’s why I’m very much looking forward to getting together with all of our advisors again later this year in San Diego.
Until then, we’ll continue finding ways to bolster a sense of community among our advisors. The success of our RISE events reinforces our firm belief that, even when you’re operating independently, being part of a strong network built around shared values and common purpose is a key driver of success. This camaraderie and support is a critical ingredient in enabling advisors to empower their clients to achieve better financial outcomes and greater impact – now and for generations to come.