June 21, 2019

Ready To Take A Break?!

think big

Are you ready to take a break from the investment markets & talk about ideas?


I certainly was!  Every year around July 4th, I take that break & attend the Aspen Ideas Festival.


For four days my brain is bombarded with ideas from global leaders who gather in Aspen to discuss “issues that shape our lives & challenge our times.” The summons is to “Think Big.”


This year’s program tracks included: Pushing the Limits of Human Performance; Coming to Grips with Climate Change; Defining Economic Progress; Redefining Conservatism in America; Hope Made Visible: Innovation by Design; The Art of the Story; American Reckoning, American Renewal; In Search of Meaning; Next World Order;  and Understanding Emotion.


Ideas came from people as diverse as Jon Batiste; Arthur Brooks; David Brooks; Chris Christie; Common; Bob Corker; John Dickerson; Jeffrey Goldberg; Heidi Heitkamp; Walter Issacson; Kevin Love; Theodore Olson; Elaine Pagels; Penny Pritzker; Jeffrey Rosen; Karl Rove; Robert Rubin; Paul Ryan; Jessica Seinfeld;  Amy Walter; Tara Westover; George Will; Judy Woodruff; Mark Zuckerberg; & four high school teams selected in city-wide competitions to present their own solutions for problems in their cities of Dallas & Louisville.


Some of this year’s buzz included: Rural America; Bridging Faiths; Forging an Immigration Policy; The Future of Conservatism; Make China Great Again; Love Your Enemies; Our New Supreme Court; Can the Center Hold?; and The Zip Code Reality:  Where You Live Matters.


Here’s a sampling of some of the ideas presented to stretch your mind around:


  • Art brings diverse people together. – Common
  • Love our way to solutions, but not necessarily agreement.  – Arthur Brooks
  • Government regulation is needed in social media.  – Mark Zuckerberg
  • People are worn out.  Each year is like 7 political dog years. – Karl Rove
  • Being Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair is a great way to be unelected.  – Bob Corker
  • Growing trend in Supreme Court is to chip away at “stare decisis.” – Jeffrey Rosen.
  • What will be next?  Now we know, and that didn’t take long.  – Justice Elena Kagan
  • 25 cities in the U.S. have 30% of the population & 60% of job growth.  You can’t just clean up the part of the swimming pool that you are swimming in.  “Bloom where you are planted.”  – Mary Daly
  • Take care of your ship first.  Then your shipmates.  And finally, yourself.  – US Navy
  • Elvis Presley was not the 1st person to record “Hound Dog”. Listen to Big Mama Thornton!  – Jon Batiste.


Enjoy your summer, family & friends, and remember “Man’s mind stretched by a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes.


* Sources include The Aspen Institute Ideas 2019 program, web site & Phyllis’ notes.

Author: Senior Vice President Senior Wealth StrategistPhyllis had been associated with W&A for a number of years before joining the firm, acting as a consultant to the company in its formative stage and subsequently as a client. Prior to joining W&A, Phyllis served as Vice President, Corporate Finance at Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc. She was involved in all aspects of its investment banking activities, including mergers and acquisitions, valuation studies, and initial public offerings. She earned registrations in NASD Series 7 (Registered Representative) and Series 63 (Blue Sky). Phyllis holds an MBA in Finance as well as M.Ed and BBA degrees from the University of Memphis. She is a Chartered Financial AnalystTM(CFA®) and a Certified Financial PlannerTM(CFP®) Licensee. She is past-Chairman and past-President of the Mid-South Society of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and served on their Board of Directors from 1995 to 2000. During her term as President in 1998, the Mid- South Society of FPA was chosen the Outstanding Society of the Year by the national FPA organization. Her community volunteer activities include MIFA and the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, where she served as Treasurer, Chair of the Finance Committee and currently chairs the Investment Committee. She also serves on the Board of Governors of The Seaside Institute in Seaside, FL.


Phyllis R. Scruggs

Senior Vice President

Senior Wealth Strategist

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