The word “conference” always makes me cringe. I think of dull meetings, lost time and enforced travel. Every year when the
subject of “the leadership conference” came up in one of our board meetings, all heads were bowed and all eyes were
averted. But since I’m serving as president of the Mississippi Society of Financial Analysts this year, I found it was my duty
The “CFA” behind my name was granted by an organization called Association for Investment Management and Research
(a-mer, for short). Our local society is an arm of this group. About half of our members are CFAs. The other half are
members by virtue of their education and experience in the investment field. While I am proud of the CFA designation and
the hard work it took to gain this, I wasn’t too excited about attending this conference. It was just another obligation.
My husband went with me. We flew to Richmond and rented a car for the hour-long drive to Charlottesville, Va., home of
the University of Virginia. The way my colleagues talked me into this was by touting the conference accommodations… “Oh,
Nancy, but you’ll be staying at The Boar’s Head Inn.” The only problem with this was my reluctance to attend had caused
me to register late. I got bumped to the Best Western down the road.
We made it to the hotel at about 11 Thursday night. The only room available was designated smoking. My allergies began to
flare up as soon as I heard this pronouncement. The room was cramped and shabby. One of the door locks was broken. I
contemplated pushing the dresser in front of the door. To top it all off, we were now on Eastern time and I had to be at the
first meeting by 8:15 a.m. By the time Ken dropped me at the front door of The Boar’s Head the next morning, I was not a
happy camper. As I grabbed my packet and headed to the meeting room, I grumbled to one of the AIMR staff, “If I had
known I was staying at the Motel 6, I would have stayed at home.”
I found my way to the ballroom with only minutes to spare. Tables were lined up with name cards at each place. They were
alphabetical. I looked… Mississippi, Mississippi, Mississippi. I finally found my spot between Milwaukee and Montreal (as
in Canada). In front of me was a guy from Korea. They introduced the three newest societies, New Zealand, Hungary, and
Germany. Wow! There were 128 people attending from all over the world. I felt my attitude adjusting.
At an elegant lunch under a white tent beside the lake, I sat with two gentlemen from Tokyo, two from Edmonton, Canada,
one woman from Albuquerque, N.M., and one gentleman from San Francisco, Calif. My one hour time difference suddenly
For a day and a half, we met and discussed issues concerning this professional organization and the investment business.
Among this group were mutual fund managers, pension and profit sharing consultants, investment advisors, bank trust
officials, etc. And I felt connected to the CFAs who were not present such as Abby Joseph Cohen, CFA, and John C.
Bogle Jr., CFA. I was in good company.
Before the first day ended, one of the AIMR staff handed me a note. They had waved a magic wand and there was room
for us in the inn. We moved our suitcases to a lovely room with a balcony. So, this was the Boar’s Head Inn! Chocolates on
the pillow at night, newspapers at the door in the morning, and a setting that would take your breath away.
The conference ended Saturday afternoon, and we spent the next day and half touring the area. We took a drive down the
Blue Ridge Parkway. We hiked up Crabtree Falls (okay, we only made it halfway). And we toured the home of Thomas
Jefferson, an absolute treasure.
As we boarded the plane for Jackson, I thought what a wonderful trip. But I think I’ll tell the other board members it was a
bust. After all, I want to go next year!
Nancy Lottridge Anderson, CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Clinton, (601) 924-9828. Her e-mail address is
firstname.lastname@example.org and her Web site is www.newper.com.