An "Uplifting" Call to Arms

An "Uplifting" Call to Arms

George Nichols III Soldier Citizen Award
An "Uplifting" Call to Arms
George Nichols III
Mar 11, 2020

The days are indeed long, but the weeks are oh so short. In my year-plus leading this great institution, I sometimes have lived so deeply in the strategic and organizational details that the moments of celebration, recognition, community, and service have felt like coming up for air. These moments have been exhilarating, thought provoking, and so very rewarding.

They’ve put me hand-in-hand, face-to-face, even heart-to-heart with the men and women of this great profession. I’ve met people from all colors and creeds, including those breaking through societal barriers; the veterans continuing their lives of service; the culture carriers of this profession’s long-standing organizations; and the next generation of advisors looking to make an impact in the communities they serve.

I helped cut the ribbon on The American College of Financial Services’ new home, the Cary Maguire Building – a modern, media-driven location that christened a new day in The College’s storied 93-year history. I spoke at events honoring veterans, industry heavyweights, and our 2019 designee and master’s degree recipients. Also, as the first African-American President in The College’s history, it was a profound honor to open our 14th annual Conference of African American Financial Professionals in Atlanta.

I found its slogan a fitting facsimile to the message I continue to carry with me everywhere I go: lift as you climb.

There’s a stark choice in this profession: get lost in the darkness of power and prestige or lift up others through a dedication to service. This is the financial services profession, where the ultimate benefit must be theirs, not ours. We must lift up our clients, our communities, and new advisors looking to do the same. Our profession will flourish in the years ahead if we follow the “we, not me” mentality. It’s been tested by crises of confidence that soured trust in our stewardship, by rapidly advancing technology that requires a shift to more holistic service offerings, and by a wave of Baby Boomers who are ready to retire even if their finances aren’t.

Instead of sitting in a silo, I call on you to uplift our profession with your knowledge and your wisdom. Embrace the kinship of community, and become a financial mentor to your neighbors, colleagues, and career changers. A larger, more knowledgeable advisor community will benefit clients and improve public perceptions. A common fellowship will expand our professional networks and strengthen our ties to the communities we serve.

Success isn’t about climbing the ladder then kicking it down so no one else can follow. It’s about climbing the ladder, getting to that next level, and looking back at where you started with an extended, helping hand.

The American College of Financial Services is always looking to do its part. Our goal is to be your life-long learning partner – promoting financial literacy, engaging and educating society, and sharing our knowledge with all who need it. We believe that a rising tide lifts all boats; that an informed society asks the right questions, picks the right advisor, and has better financial outcomes.

As I make my way through Year 2 at The College, I look forward to seeing many of you at industry events, hearing your stories, and collaborating with a growing, inclusive profession that is moving in the same direction. Together, we are stronger.