Greetings! It gives me great pleasure to invite you to the upcoming 2016 AFCPE Annual Research Training and Symposium, which will be held in Louisville, Kentucky from November 16–18, 2016. I hope you will take advantage of what promises to be an excellent opportunity for learning, networking, and enjoying the sights of Downtown Louisville, home to Churchill Downs and the famous Kentucky Derby.

Our theme for this year’s Symposium is Racing for the Triple Crown: Achieving Accreditation, Educating Clients, and Changing Behaviors. This is possible because of the great work many of our outstanding members. Many thanks to Sasha Grabenstetter, our Symposium Task Force Chair, and outstanding members who have worked so tirelessly to create a stellar program. Diverse subjects will be covered ranging from Financial Counseling as a Public Service, Financial Literacy, Marketing Strategies, Financial Abuse, Military Practitioner Roundtable, Divorce, and Succession Planning, to name a few. These and many other sessions will offer timely, relevant, and practical information. I am confident that these sessions will provide you with many new rich learning opportunities.

Our organization continues to grow and celebrate many accomplishments.  Recently, I had the pleasure of finding and working with three AFCs, including two former FINRA Fellows through the Job Posting Solutions on AFCPE. Our project team was so impressed by the quality, professionalism, and enthusiasm of the AFCs, and I am very proud to say that these are the characteristics that represent what AFCPE is all about!

In June of this year, leaders, staff, and Board of Directors held a Strategic Planning meeting. We listened to the voices of our members through our membership surveys and input. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am very excited to share the strategic initiatives that will help us look into the future to direct our destiny. Our plan will focus on building capacity to meet the increasing demands for our services; growing our marketing and branding efforts; investing in quality research; and expanding career opportunities for our members. It will take the whole organization to carry out these tasks successfully. I wish to thank Barry Wilkinson for his leadership and the members of the Strategic Plan Task Force. My heartfelt thanks also go to our Executive Director, Rebecca Wiggins, and our wonderful staff, who have been working very hard to develop our implementation steps.

For our strategic plan to succeed, we need your support and guidance to achieve our goals. We want to connect with you, and we want to know how and what you are doing. You are all equally important to us. AFCPE has great opportunities for professional growth and leadership. We need to develop leaders in financial education and counseling. We want you all to be engaged and interested not only in our strategic plan but more so in the greater mission and vision of our organization.

AFCPE is only as good as its members and their participation. I urge you to rise to the challenge of Racing for the Triple Crown by Achieving Accreditation, Educating Clients, and Changing Behaviors—for your professional and personal growth, as well as for the sustainability of our organization in order to continuously serve the public good.

Finally, it has been a tremendous honor for me to serve our organization in this way and I look forward to an exciting year ahead as I pass the baton on to our new president, Brenda Vaughn.

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