President Forrest Bell’s Letter on Kindness & Gratitude for 2023

President Forrest Bell’s Letter on Kindness & Gratitude for 2023


For Thanksgiving this year, my wife, Rose Lynn, and I drove down to Los Angeles with our two girls to visit with family. On these drives, which we make a few times a year, there always comes a point in time when the cabin gets quiet. And it’s at that time when you can listen to something and really hear it.

This time on our drive down, Rose Lynn played a speech by David Brooks. David Brooks writes for the New York Times, and he is the author of a book we once “book clubbed” in the office. This speech of his was about a lot of things, but one of them was loneliness. David’s theory is that far too many people in this country feel uncared for and unseen. As a culture, we need more kindness, he said, and he talks about ways he thinks that can happen.

It made me feel good about our culture here at Bell Investment Advisors, a culture nourished into existence over 30 years ago by my father. Kindness was always important to him, and it remains a core value today. It is important, too, that other people experience us this way. During a lunch with one of our investment partners earlier this year, the partner turned to me and said, “Forrest, I have worked with a lot of firms. This one is the nicest. You have people that are really nice to be around.” Feedback like that means something to me.

For our team, we knew this year would bring some important beginnings and important endings. The beginnings: Lisa Hurst joined the team as our newest Relationship Manager along with Henna Hamidi as our Operations Associate. We are proud to have Lisa and Henna as part of our team. We were also delighted that three babies joined the broader Bell family: Relationship Manager Taylor Bogert welcomed baby Bret, Advisor Tiffany Blaho welcomed baby Neil, and Portfolio Manager Ryan Kelley welcomed baby Emma.

We also had an important ending. Primarily, we bade our dear Senior Relationship Manager Jerene Meissert adieu – or rather “au revoir,” because she will still spend some time with us next year in a consulting role. Jerene is retiring and is looking forward to spending more time with her family. She has warmly, if sometimes tearfully, transitioned her clients to the other caring, attentive Bell Relationship Managers. Jerene has much to be proud of, but especially her commitment to making people feel seen and cared for. It is our rallying cry for next year, too.

Here’s to a 2024 filled with gratitude, meaning, and kindness to others.

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