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Doing Well Means Doing Good

Why should advisors want to engage in community service? Michael Lovas knows.

David J. Drucker, 11/20/2008

Recently, a weekly trade publication for the financial services industry ran a large spread featuring advisors who received the magazine's community leadership awards. If you're like many advisors, you might have asked, "What's the point?"

Michael Lovas, owner of About People -- a training and consulting firm that teaches advisors the psychology of attracting, connecting with and building credibility with prospects and others -- has learned the answer to this question first-hand.

"About five years ago while working with Piper Jaffrey, I was talking to a top advisor who had the idea of taking a cross-country bicycle tour to do financial seminars," Lovas said. "The idea was we'd ride from little town to little town and do free seminars in financial coaching."

Lovas said that they never did it, but the idea kept germinating in the back of his mind.

"In last few months, what have we seen in press?" he asked. "Lots of editorializing about selfish and greedy financial institutions. The image that's been presented is that they just want to pad their own pockets. Now you and I know that's not always true, and it's just a matter of reaching out to Main Street -- or perhaps Oak or Maple Street might be more apt -- to give people the right information. I decided I want to go into the homes and hearts of people because that's where the attitudes are -- the mental pictures of financial institutions that need to be changed. Doing things to improve the image of the industry may be the only way to get the trust back."

What Lovas, a Marine Corps veteran, finally decided upon was a project he calls Second Shot -- Business Training for Veterans.

"It came to me from a multitude of things happening simultaneously. As a Commander of the Inland Northwest Patriot Guard for Northeast Washington and Northwest Idaho states, I had led 300 people to give support to families of older vets who'd died, as well as younger men and women killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. I felt I was good at that because I could control my emotions in order to give a shoulder to family members who needed someone strong to lean on but, after two years, I was caving in... it was taking a toll on me," he said.

Lovas said that he realized he needed to step away from this work, but still wanted to make a contribution. Then he got the idea ... why not help vets who are still alive?

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