Of Shining Brows

Originally published in Flourishing Mar Apr 2013

 Thank you!

Yes, thank you.  Because of your loyalty, support, and trust, Family Wealth Management, LLC now ranks among the top 10% at LPL Financial, a firm which serves more than 13,000 investment advisors and planners nationwide.  So, Linda and I were invited to LPL Financial’s Masters’ Conference, which this year was held at the Fairmont Princess Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona on March 11 through March 14.  I can tell you that it feels great to be counted among such an elite group of professionals.

The weather was absolutely perfect and the Fairmont had us feeling like royalty.  We had the opportunity to meet and listen to LPL Financial’s senior executives, as well as many of the people we speak with on the telephone regularly.  I came away from the event feeling very proud of the LPL Financial organization. Our meetings and discussions were open and honest regarding both the firm’s strengths and the areas where improvement is needed and well understood.  LPL Financial is the largest (as reported by Financial Planning magazine, June 1996-2012, based on total revenue)—and I believe the best—independent broker/dealer in America.  There are strong competitors in the marketplace to be sure, but I came home reassured that LPL Financial’s strategic vision, its financial strength, and it’s senior management team will keep us well ahead of the pack.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs for my entire adult life.  But, I had never visited his winter home and studio in Scottsdale.  Located on a “shining brow” in the McDowellMountains, Taliesin West is far more beautiful than its postcards, and it’s a tribute to Mr. Wright’s vision of what an American home life could be—even in the sweltering Arizona desert.  The project was begun in 1937, when he was already seventy years old, and construction of outbuildings and refinements to the main structure continued until his death in 1959. Several of Mr. Wright’s apprentices still live and work on the Taliesin campus.

Inspired as I was by the eloquence and serenity of Taliesin West, I have to tell you that I was even more thrilled to spend two evenings with the children of our oldest daughter, Michelle.  Mark (13), Ellie (10), and Mikey (5) are, I suppose, prototypical “kids of nerds”.  They are very “into” computers, and truth be told, as they explained to me what they were working on, I felt like a visitor from another planet.  Except Mikey—I can still understand and play with “Thomas the Train”.

Michelle had just returned from conferences in Madrid, Spain and Austin, Texas.  She is an “acquisitions editor” for Apress, Inc., a New York-based publisher of technical books.  Apparently, she’s found her professional niche, as she was responsible for the publication of forty-two books in 2012.  I couldn’t be more proud of her.  Michelle’s husband, Tony Lowman, was busy teaching night classes in “business ethics”, so we just hugged him and thanked him for being a great husband and dad.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s mother, who had provided the nurturing environment that contributed to his development as an architect, was of Welsh descent.  And, in Welsh legend, there had been a brilliant poet who could always be identified by his “taliesin”,  his “shining brow”.  Wright identified with that poet, so he located his own homes and many of his other buildings on the “shining brow” of prominent hills.  And, of course, he named his primary residence in Spring Green, Wisconsin “Taliesin”, and his winter home in Arizona “Taliesin West”.

Truly, all the while we were in Arizona—at the LPL Masters Conference, with Michelle and her children, and at Taliesin West—I felt surrounded by, and blessed by, shining brows.  Smart people, inspired people.

Just like here at home.  So, thank you—again.  mh