Kim Boriin, CMP, senior event marketing specialist, Guardian Investor Services LLC in New York, is in his second year as vice president, education, on the FICP board of directors. We caught up with him recently to talk about FICP education and what members can expect from both online and face-to-face initiatives in 2008.
Q: Update us on your position at Guardian.
A: I work with a team of two other planners at Guardian Investor Services LLC, New York, N.Y. GIS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. We produce 10 to 12 due diligence conferences, 40 to 60 small road shows, conference calls, and sales meetings for both internal and external clients annually. GIS distributes annuities and mutual funds, so our meetings fall under FINRA regulations.
What are you hearing from members in terms of their education needs — and what do you have planned for this year?
What we learned from our member survey is that after networking, education is the most important “value-add” to being a member of the association. All of FICP's meetings and events are going strong. We're focusing on bringing more educational content to the Web site to be available 24/7. At our face-to-face meetings, we're looking at increasing the best-practices educational content from members and hospitality partners — this was a cornerstone of last year's Education Forum.
Speaking of the 2007 Education Forum, it was a sellout. To what do you attribute its success?
The Forum personifies the best qualities of the association: learning from our peers, education tailored to the financial and insurance conference planner, and networking that is like a cherry on top of a sundae. One of the things I tried to focus on this past year, and will continue moving forward, is identifying educational content that builds on the strengths of our members and suppliers. There are so many productive partnerships in our industry. This is not to say that we won't have individual breakout sessions tailored to both planners and suppliers, but to take education to the next level, we need to find our commonalities.
What do you think are the hot-topic issues for financial and insurance planners in 2008?
I think the travel glass ceiling has been broken in terms of international conferences — we're meeting across the globe. This is an exciting time — there are new properties, a willingness to travel again, and everyone is stepping up to the plate. Our challenge is no longer fear of international travel, but finding hotel availability.
What are your webinar plans?
We're going to have two this year, in spring and summer. We're also excited to launch FICP's first town hall call later this year. It will be formatted like talk radio, with a moderator, a panel of experts, and the opportunity for call-in questions and answers.
Tell us about the 2008 Education Forum this June.
A great program is in the works. (See page 38.) We're really excited about partnering with Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resort and the Disney Institute, which is helping to design a small portion of educational content.
What other education goals do you have for 2008?
We have an initiative to reach out to our international hospitality partners and include them when planning educational content. We also think there's a lot to learn from our planner colleagues from all over the world, including Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. FICP itself is reflecting the trend to holding international meetings, with the 2008 Annual Conference in Cancun, and the 2009 Annual Conference in Toronto.
What have you learned from your year on the FICP Board that is useful to your job at Guardian?
To appreciate strategic planning and its application to my everyday business. While on the board, I've learned so much from listening to everyone about how they execute their strategic vision. The value that each individual brings to a strategic plan is interesting — there's strength in numbers, and a lot of synergy.