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Schwab IMPACT® 2017: Advice from a Veteran

How to make the most of the conference and its sessions

Sheryl Rowling


Schwab IMPACT® can be overwhelming for conference veterans and newbies. With keynote sessions, education sessions, showcase stage presentations—in addition to a bustling exhibit hall, evening events, and a closing night party—there’s enough going on to make your head spin. Plus, attendees can expect to be among 1,600 to 1,900 Registered Investment Advisors and several hundred exhibiting companies, including Morningstar, whose booth will be adjacent to the Schwab Center.

I’ve attended Schwab IMPACT® for at least 20 years, and I’m looking forward to this year’s conference. If you’re planning to attend, here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of the experience:

7 tips for attending Schwab IMPACT®:

  1. Think about what you’d like to accomplish and prioritize. You can’t attend everything, so decide what your focus is. Is it on networking, understanding industry trends, or seeing the latest technology? Maybe it’s learning more about firm operations, investment strategy, client experience, or employee experience? Know what you want to achieve ahead of time.
  2. Choose your sessions strategically. Review the detailed agenda and save anything that sounds interesting. (I'm sharing what sessions I’m most excited to attend in a blog post tomorrow). Then, go through each day and hour to register for individual sessions. Sessions can fill up quickly. Consider these questions as you decide:
    • Does this session sound like it will truly be worth my time?
    • Is there another session conflicting with this one that might be better?
    • Who is the speaker? Is it an industry expert or a salesperson?
    • Does this session align with my priorities?
  3. Plan your networking goals. If you are looking to target strategic groups, consider the evening event sponsors and likely participants. RSVP to your top invites early because they may fill up.
  4. Take notes and determine action items. You won’t be able to remember all the information presented. Write down key points and make a to-do list for when you return to work. Even if you implement only a few ideas, the conference will have been worth it.
  5. Rest up before you travel. Schwab IMPACT® is nonstop. Be sure to get enough sleep before you attend. You will definitely need your energy.
  6. Take advantage of breaks. Conference breaks offer a chance for fun, networking, and clearing your head. And don’t forget the giveaways – from USB drives and plugs to drinking cups and toys. Try to be selective if you didn’t bring along an extra suitcase.
  7. Go to the final night event. Schwab does a bang-up job on parties. And after an intense conference, you deserve a good time!

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