Lockdown made people stop, reflect and review their situation. It made people realise the importance of their families and friends the need for social contact and the importance of community. It also made people realise that although our planet is diverse it is certainly not equal. Wherever you live, whatever your background, surrounding yourself with a positive community who are encouraging, inclusive and fun is really important for your wellbeing.
We cannot predict the future but we can get through it with the right support.
Step forward the NextGen Planners community.
This bunch of people are amongst the friendliest, smartest, nicest, innovative, helpful bunch you could ever hope to meet and cheered me up every weekday morning during lockdown, on the morning commute. It is a community who are genuinely trying to make our industry better. Think back to the last major crisis, the financial crisis and the dreadful, elitist reputation that the financial services industry gained at that time and at other points throughout history. We as a financial services community need to change that, we need to harness the good, focus on the client, and genuinely help to change lives. This should be the norm, but changing perceptions is a mammoth task.
However, this is exactly what the NextGen community is trying to do. It is trying to promote best practice, share ideas, train the next generation of industry professionals and make the change that the industry needs. All are welcome.
Imagine my surprise then to be presented with a prestigious award at the recent NextGen Planners awards ceremony. ‘NextGen Planners Ambassador of the Year’.
What an incredible feeling, to have such an honour bestowed on me, (as well as finally being able to pass round and extremely sizeable tray of gold foiled chocolates of course). But, in all seriousness it is was an absolutely privilege to have been shortlisted amongst some amazing candidates, I genuinely wasn’t expecting to win. For me this is a particularly important win as I am not, the striker in our company.
I am not the financial planner, I don’t sit in front of clients. I tend to shy away from the limelight, often known as the geek, data donkey or general dogsbody I have always preferred being in defence.
But data is becoming the new oil, innovation and change in this industry has been long on the horizon, but suddenly accelerated by COVID-19. It is bringing new skill sets to the fore, new technologies and in order to change the industry we need to blend of skill sets to make our industry better for the client. This opens up a huge opportunity for newcomers to the industry, a younger more tech literate workforce who are going to question the norm and challenge the male, pale and stale. This can only be a good thing.
So this ‘Ambassador of the Year’ title means a lot to me but it could easily be awarded to you. What have you got to lose from getting involved? Like any community you can’t just turn up and expect everything to be done for you. You have to make it happen, turn up and be inspired, turn up and get involved, turn up and innovate, turn up and share, turn up and encourage, turn up and support and turn up and drive our industry forward. You will be glad you did.
We need more people in this industry, not just any people, but people who are willing to make the change people who are willing to see through colour, religion, gender & disability and make the financial services a better place, we all have something to offer.
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members” – Coretta Scott King
– Jennifer Ellis, Wellington Wealth & NextGen Planners Ambassador of the Year