Kate Healy, managing director of the Generation Next program, Kelly Lynch, Genna Coan, and Tom Nally, TD Ameritrade Institutional president, at the 2019 National LINC conference.
Kate Healy, managing director of the Generation Next program, Kelly Lynch, Genna Coan, and Tom Nally, TD Ameritrade Institutional president, at the 2019 National LINC conference.

Two Pamplin College of Business students were recently afforded the opportunity to attend the 2019 TD Ameritrade National LINC conference. Genna Coan, a finance and accounting dual-major from Chantilly, Va., and Kelly Lynch, a finance major from Smithtown, New York, were two of 63 National LINC Scholars selected to attend the conference as part of the RIA (registered investment advisors) NextGen program.

“In addition to being a leading provider of custody and brokerage for more than 7,000 registered investment advisors, TD Ameritrade Institutional is committed to helping attract a new generation of talent to our industry and raising the profile of financial planning at our nation’s colleges and universities,” said Amy Headlee on behalf of TD Ameritrade.

Billed as one of the industry’s largest events for independent registered investment advisors, the National LINC conference was held Feb. 6-9 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, Calif. The event was attended by over 2,000 industry professionals and featured investment industry workshops and sessions, as well as presentations from over a dozen featured speakers.

“Each school is limited to bringing two students,” explained Ruth Lytton, professor of financial planning. “Kelly and Genna were chosen based upon faculty recommendations.” Lytton accompanied the students to the conference and attended sessions designed for registered investment advisors.

A cross-country trip to a national conference would be cost-prohibitive for most college students. Thankfully, neither student paid much, if anything, in the way of out-of-pocket expenses as TD Ameritrade covered the airfare, lodging, and conference registration for the pair. Other costs incurred, such as luggage fees and ground transportation, were paid through donor support, according to Lytton.

“The LINC conference was an amazing networking experience for me,” explained Coan, who hopes to become a lead financial advisor after graduation. “I was able to meet many professionals in the field and attend numerous breakout sessions where I learned about everything from fee structures to diversity and inclusion in the industry.”

Coan also stated that she felt the conference was a great opportunity to “to learn from those who have been in the profession for many years.”

According to Lytton, professional conferences such as the LINC are valuable to not only the students who are selected to attend, but to Virginia Tech as well, as it helps build national visibility for the CFP Board-Registered financial planning program in the Pamplin College of Business.

She added, “Simply seeing a few thousand professionals excited and participating in a conference committed to a career that students want to enter is very energizing.

“In some cases, students get to hear speakers whose articles they have read for class.”

For Lynch, who has served as an intern with a wealth management firm in her home state and will return there as an associate planner following graduation in May, the conference helped solidify her career aspirations.

“It was an incredible experience – one that I will never forget,” she said. “I thoroughly enjoyed all of the sessions for the student attendees. They taught me a lot about the life of a registered investment advisor, encouraged me to network with other professionals, and confirmed my belief that I belong on this career path.”

For more information on how you can donate to the Pamplin College of Business to provide students the opportunity to attend conferences such as this, please visit https://give.vt.edu/.

Written by Jeremy Norman