Impact Communications founder and CEO, Marie Swift, shared with RIABiz reporter, Lisa Shidler, the personal considerations she uses for assessing whether she will or will not travel to conferences and business meetings this fall. Impact Communications does not have a company mandate for staff travel, as every team member is allowed to think through the options and make their own personal determinations. This is an interesting article with lots of nuance. Read the full article by Lisa Shidler in RIABiz.
Marie also provided comments to InvestmentNews reporter Jeff Benjamin. Read Jeff's article for helpful thoughts from Marie and other people interviewed.
Read on to see Marie's full comments as submitted to the publications.
Full Comments from Marie Swift
Prior to the Covid lockdowns I was traveling for business meetings and speaking appearances 24 to 36 times a year.
The last in person conference I went to was T3 Advisor in San Diego, which was February 2020.
The last business meeting I went to was an executive roundtable gathering hosted by one of my clients, Strategy & Resources, LLC, founded by Matt Lynch (S&R offers strategic consulting services and practice management programs to financial services companies and financial advisory firms in the US); Matt and his partner, Marty Miller, hosted about 10 people in a conference room at WealthManagement.com’s office in Manhattan. It felt like a Stephen King movie as I moved through the airports on my way to and from that event. It was like everybody else got the memo to stay home but somehow I didn’t. That was March 9, 2020.
I have not traveled again for business until last week, when my videographer and I drove 6 1/2 hours to do a video shoot for one of our advisory firm clients located just outside of Minneapolis. The event was held outdoors so we felt good about participating and had a blast getting back out and about again.
I am a new grandmother and I have a 10 month old baby to consider, as well as my own immediate family, and elderly parents who I do not want to put at risk so, of course, I weigh all of my travel decisions during these Covid times based on a calculated risk.
Any large event right now as the Delta Variant hits gives me pause. Especially when it is primarily indoors. And even more so when there are not good local protocols for health and safety. States that I’d be especially cautious to travel to right now include Texas, Florida and Arkansas.
I think that Joel Bruckenstein and his meeting planning team, of which I was a part, made the right decision to postpone doing anything in Texas right now.
I do not have an opinion on FPA‘s decision to cancel their national conference in Ohio. I was not slated to go to that one, although I did consider it and might’ve had a speaking invitation had I not already been booked to run the Social/Digital Hub for MorningStar at their conference upcoming in Chicago, which is happening the same time as the FPA conference would have been.
My team and I have been working closely with the MorningStar meeting planning team and we feel comfortable making the trip to Chicago to participate at the in-person event, which is happening at the McCormick Center middle of September. I feel good about the health and safety measures that MorningStar is putting in place. We are hosting the Social/Digital Hub (in-person as well as a virtual version) again this year.
I am also slated to travel to a gala in New York City in early September, and I’m giving significant thought to whether or not I will cancel. While I DO have confidence in the meeting planning team for this gala, and I believe that New York City will have a good protocols in place, I may decide to attend virtually because I don’t want to have to quarantine from my grandbaby and family when I get back. One of my business partners, who also has a new baby, and one of my guests for the gala who has an elderly parent she and her husband care for, have both decided to cancel their trip to the gala. Another one of my guests is weighing the same risk factors because he has a new grandbaby and an elderly parent to consider. The good news is that if my company wins the award for which we are nominated as one of six finalists, I’ll be able to show something on the big screen behind the award presenter to at least have some sort of visual representation in the room and through the streaming service to celebrate our potential win.
Right now, I am slated to attend the following additional fall events: