My name is Don Fulton.  My personal pronouns are he/him/his.  I wear two hats (among others). One as a Lutheran Clergy (retired but always On Call) and one as a Financial Coach. I am on the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) Board of Directors. In 2024 I serve as President.

“There are 3 things extremely hard.  Steel.  A diamond.  And to know oneself.“

This quote is found in Poor Richards Almanac and attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Thank You “$100 Ben”!

Our identity as Accredited Financial Counselors® (AFC®) and AFCPE Members requires that we know ourselves. This ongoing journey of personal and professional development is both as an individual and as a community, including continuing education beyond certification. It is lifelong.

To know ourselves unfolds in many ways. To highlight a few of these ways I summarize my thoughts from the AFCPE 2023 Symposium.

Gratitude.  AFCPE has a rich history. AFCPE 40 years. AFC certification 30 years. Symposiums in-person and/or virtual on a yearly basis. (See you in Columbus, OH for the 2024 AFCPE Symposium!) We continue to collaborate and build on this strong foundation. To our AFCPE membership, speakers, session leaders, partners, AFCPE staff, Board of Directors, and to our Executive Director…thank you all!

Why an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC)? Having an AFC means value. That bears repeating, the AFC means value.  As financial professionals we bring a shared knowledge to our work. The work each of us does makes a difference in people’s lives. We may not always see the results. We counsel, educate, coach, empower, and bring hope. We do make a difference. The AFC opens doors.

Diversity is our strength. AFCPE is commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in all we do. We take the time and energy to ask, “Who is not at the table?” We will continue to invite those voices to participate. We will listen and make room.

Moving forward I encourage each of us to see ourselves as Ambassadors.

We have a role in letting our clients, other professional peers, our communities, and our organizational partners know about the value an AFC brings. We seek professional partners with like-minded vision, mission, and actions. This may include professional fields outside of our own. As a bi-vocational professional I have experienced this firsthand. We have benefit.

As AFCPE continues to grow we will adapt and transform to meet the needs of all we serve. Think about it. Where will AFCPE be 5 years from now? 20 years from now? 100 years from now? Advocacy, empowerment, hope. Put that in the elevator pitch about the benefit we bring to financial wellbeing.

A definition of vocation:

“The place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
~Frederick Buechner, author, and theologian, 1926 – 2022.

Blessings!

Don

 


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