The Independent Market Observer

In Austin, Grateful to Be Giving Back

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA®, CFP®

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This entry was posted on Nov 3, 2016 11:02:54 AM

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giving backToday will be a short post. I’m in Austin, Texas, at the Commonwealth National Conference, and I’m heading out early this morning to participate in our giving back initiative. 

When Commonwealth holds a conference, we always try to leave our host community just a little bit better than we found it. One of the ways we do this is to support a local group with both volunteer labor and a financial contribution. This year, we are working to upgrade the Dougherty Arts Center here in Austin. It’s a big project, and we have more than 100 volunteers. 

These giving back activities are some of my favorite experiences at Commonwealth. The volunteers are incredible—all committed to helping the community and each trying to do their best for the cause. Funnily, these projects often involve things we wouldn’t want to do for ourselves (like pulling weeds or scraping paint) but are happy to do for others. That makes all the difference.

Looking back on a decade at Commonwealth

As of this month, I’ve worked at Commonwealth for 10 years, and it's hard to believe how quickly the time has passed. There have been ups and downs, of course, but on the whole, it’s hard to imagine a better work environment or better people. I am incredibly blessed with the opportunities I have received, the people I have met and befriended, the chances to learn and travel, and so many other things.

Giving back, whether in the form of our conference projects or other initiatives, is almost mandatory at Commonwealth. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but rather in the sense that I feel compelled to give back to others when I have received so much. Perhaps what makes Commonwealth work is that so many other people feel the same way.

I've mentioned the idea of daily gratitudes many times. I write down at least three every morning. This morning, as early as it is, I’m especially grateful for the people I work with, the friends I have made, and the chance to do great work while also doing good.

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