Monday, June 26, 2006

Another summer regional.

For the short version of this post, please scroll to the very bottom...

Every summer Edward Jones hosts a summer regional meeting for each region in the company. Dave happens to belong to the #1 region in the company - region 101 (thats just a little bragging... another little item to brag about: In region 101 there are 101 competitors to Edward Jones. The competitor with the most assets is JP Morgan/Chase bank with $2.? Billion dollars. Region 101 has a total of $3.? Billion in assets. Good job region 101!!. I did a little cheer at the awards banquet, but we won't get into that.)

H-anyways... last year we went to the regional, which was held downtown and came home very disconcerted. The location was really nice. The company was very generous as usual, but we felt really out of place and unwelcomed. We both came home kind of upset that no one made an effort to make us feel accepted or comfortable - all of these guys have done what Dave was doing and we felt like perhaps it would create a bond which would translate into people taking us under their wings, encouraging us and just making an effort. That didn't happen. To top it all off, the spouses were especially non-friendly and were really into their manicures and bath and body works stuff. I felt very out of place with the spouses.

This year the meeting was held at The Abbey Resort in Lake Geneva, WI. It was beautiful and very relaxing. We took Nora and Ryann with us last year, which was a disaster because I had to stay in the hotel room with them most of the weekend for naps and sleeping at night. This year we were fortunate enough to have Dave's parents fly in for the weekend to watch all three girls so we could go by ourselves. It was lovely... but I'll get to that. Back to the point - this year was totally different. It is almost as if none of these veterans or their spouses want to put any effort into forming a relationship with the new people until they know they're going to be around a while (by the second regional). We talked to so many of the IRs and some of their spouses (my opinion of most of the spouses has not changed much... but I don't think I'm going to get into that). We definitely felt a camradarie with these people - that bond we were looking for last year. I think what made last year so disconcerting was that we could see it existed, but we were kept at arms length and on the outside. We really enjoyed our time with almost everyone and they seemed as interested in talking to us as we were in talking to them.

The theme of the weekend was Making a Difference. We were asked to prepare a brief explanation of someone/something that has made a difference to us or how we have made a difference to someone/something. The spouses were also asked to bring a $15 item to symbolize that story. So at the introduction meeting on Thursday the IR's shared their stories with everyone (IRs and spouses). The spouses shared their stories and gifts at the spouses meeting on Friday morning. We were so encouraged and impressed with the number of people that shared about their faith and about Jesus Christ making a difference in their lives. This company culture is so different than any we've experienced or heard of - it is very family oriented, very encouraging and helpful, the IRs help each other in an effort to make the company and each other more successful - they don't compete with each other or steal each others clients, etc. (I'm sure there is a level of competition, but it really is very healthy, it is amazing). I cannot truly explain the feeling we get when we are there. There were probably close to 100 IRs and their spouses there and none of them smoked; most of them are healthy, I have't met any of them that are divorced, and they are all very family focused. EJ was ranked 16th out of 100 in the Forbes 100 best companies to work for - there is a reason. We have truly been blessed by Dave's new job and the new company he works for. God's hand is incredibly evident in our lives for the past 8 years.

And just so you know... the spouses gifts were a lot better this year. Last year we had to bring one of our favorite things ($15) and a lot of the women brought some kind of beauty product or bath and body works something or other... lip gloss, nail polish, lotions, etc. Basically made me want to puke. This year, however, there were Bibles given away, I received a devotional book, I gave gift certificates to Baskin Robbins. The gifts were a lot more meaningful -- but there was an incredible number of candles given away. Still a little too girly for me, but better than last year;)

Our weekend away from the kids -
The resort was beautiful. It is on a marina on Lake Geneva and our room looked right out onto the marina. We got there around 2:30 on Thursday (after getting quite lost) and Dave went right into a meeting. I invited a spouse and her two boys to my room because their room was not ready yet. I feel the need to announce right now that I CANNOT HAVE SONS!!! Her 5 year old jumped from one bed to the other for a half an hour! I did not mind the jumping - it didn't bother me because he wasn't my kid, but holy cow do boys have energy that girls do not have. I am just honest with myself in knowing that I just couldn't handle it;)

We had the introduction meeting at 4:00 in a tent on the grounds. It was air conditioned and I was so cold, but the meeting was nice. This meeting is the beginning of the Ra Ra Edward Jones weekend... It gets kind of sickening, but at the same time it is a great renewal for spouses and IRs. The IR's had to be in meetings from 8am-noon on Friday and Saturday and the spouses from 9:30-noon on Friday morning. On Friday afternoon we left to come back home to go to a wedding. While we were gone there were games/activities for the kids, a bean bag tournament for the adults and just general hanging out. We got back at 1:30am that night and had to be at breakfast by 7:15. After breakfast on Saturday morning I went back to the room and TOOK A 2 1/2 HOUR NAP. Hellooooo? I can't remember the last time I took a nap. It was lovely:) In the afternoon we went on a bus tour of Lake Geneva to see all of the mansions on the waterfront. It was so nice. Then back to the room - Dave took a nap and I was a peeping tom with a wedding that was going on right outside our room in the gazebo. Then we had an awards dinner and hung out at the cigar bar afterwards. Sunday morning we had a wonderful champagne brunch and came home when we felt like it. It was such a wonderful weekend. The weather was glorious (did I really just use that word?? ick.) We made friends. We hung out by ourselves. We took a nap. We ate some good food. And it was all FREE. Yea!!!

I don't know all of you who read this. I don't know how many people read this. I want to let you know, though, that if you or your spouse is in any way interested in being an investment advisor, please let us know. Edward Jones is an amazing, amazing company and we'd be happy to refer to you the right person to talk to. It is hard work, but from what we can see, it is definitely worth the effort.

The gist of the story is this:
Edward Jones - good.
Lake Geneva - pretty.
The Abbey Resort's beds - very comfy.
Women - girly.
Free - good.
Jana's blogging skills - improving in terms of hotlinks, so-so in terms of length and interest of topic.


Anonymous 6:24 PM  

Sounds like a wonderful, well-deserved weekend away. Glad you had a better experience this year. And you're right about boys (remember, I've got 2). They have this crazy reserve of energy, and when it comes to beds, they can jump forever! Unless you and Dave are planning a #4, you'll be glad you've got all girls when it comes to the energy aspect. (But, I do NOT envy you when adolescence comes!!!!) :)

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