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We did it! 2020 threw every curveball it could think of, but together we made it through. While we’re all excited to turn the page and look to the exciting things 2021 has to offer, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of 2020’s wins, both for the Alterra team and for all of you, our extended Alterra family. And kudos to a clever client who photoshopped the masks and hand sanitizer bottles into one of our team pictures above.

 
Staying the course

The first kudos go to you! This was not an easy year. Market volatility kept some up at night, others found their businesses closed for a stretch of time, jobs were restructured, companies were pressured. Through it all, we were amazed at the resilience and resolve we saw. We had countless conversations about how to tell if strategies should change and when to stay the course. We talked with many of you about how to handle cash flow crunches and brainstormed ways to get through shutdowns in your companies. Though it may not have felt like it day to day, you stuck to your goals and continued to provide for your families, employees, team members, causes you care about. Though we don’t know what the future holds, 2020 taught us all that you can do it. We couldn’t be more impressed, way to go!

 

Going remote, staying connected

We all knew working remotely would continue in popularity, but certainly didn’t expect it to come all at once by health and safety mandates. We are extremely grateful for top notch tools that allow us to function as a unified team while spread across many “Alterra satellite offices” (home offices). We live in an amazing time and, though we miss seeing you in person, we’re thankful to be able to continue to serve you virtually.

On Monday mornings, our entire team meets for 90 minutes to sync up for the week, coordinate, make sure everyone is supported and ready to successfully serve in their role. Thanks to Zoom and Teams, we were able to continue these undisturbed…though we weren’t shy to share the challenges each of us felt with the change.

In addition to our weekly sync ups, we held a variety of team events, including online trivia, scavenger hunts, Jackbox games (if you haven’t played Drawful, you’re missing out!) and culminating with our holiday party where we were led through making homemade street tacos from scratch by a chef in Mexico City!

 

Growth of all kinds

2020 was a year of growth for Alterra in many ways. We added two new advisors – Joseph and Mallory – who have quickly become invaluable members of the Alterra team. The Alterra culture is very special and we don’t take hiring lightly (as they would tell you). So, when we finally find that right fit, it’s an exciting time for everyone!

We continued to welcome new clients, as well! 2020 brought uncertainty for many. Clear, reliable, expert advice to process and put pandemic-related challenges in context of the big picture was as important as ever. We established new advising relationships with some amazing new families to help ensure they could continue the impact they’ve long hoped for on their lives, loved ones, and causes they care about.

We also grew as a team. Yes, in numbers, but in our work together, as well. Team culture and communication is our top priority and this brought an open and collaborative environment that allowed us to share struggles, celebrate successes, and support one another, reaffirming our conviction that a unified and supported team will always provide better support to you.

 

Innovations in service

The challenges brought by the pandemic also accelerated some innovations we’re excited about. If we’ve had a review recently, you’ve seen the addition of our video overview – a high level plan review that you can watch when it’s convenient for you rather than having to wait until a fixed meeting time. This allowed us to focus your valuable meeting time on whatever is most important to you. We’ve found BombBomb’s video solution very effective and easy to use!

Thanks to Nikki’s hard work, we were also able to adapt our online scheduling to allow you to choose the time that works best for you and whether we should meet by phone or online, saving you the back and forth emails and calls to find time to meet. After reviewing seemingly endless options, TimeTap provided the solution we were looking for to meet this need.

And, of course, Zoom. To many, it’s become a four letter word in more than one sense, but without it, we would not have been able to deliver the meeting and webinar experiences we did in 2020. It was always the go-to for clients out of state, but whether in another state or just a few blocks down the street, many of you found that we’re able to effectively review your planning all from the comfort of your home. Of course, for our meet-in-person fans, we’re looking forward to seeing you again!

 

Lifetime learning

Our commitment to lifetime learning didn’t slow down. We added one CFP® this year and three other Alterra team members are working hard to attain this designation. With laws, strategies, and needs constantly changing in your lives, we’re dedicated to growing in experience and insight to ensure we keep up!

Additionally, we worked as a team through two books and an eight week team leadership workshop with a fantastic local coach. We see each of us as leaders in our respective roles. Whether in advising, client care, or operations, each of us owns an important role on the team and benefits from continually sharpening our tools.

 

2020 in the lives of the Alterra team

2020 brought many changes, both as a team and individually. Here’s a highlight from each of us and our families!

  • Grant – 2020 is the most unique year we have ever lived through. However, we are thankful for our ability to still serve our clients, enjoyed a reduced commute and more quality time at home. Our most memorable addition this year was adopting our dog, Cooper. He joined us about a month before the pandemic started…perfect timing!
  • Joseph – Since starting at Alterra in March, I’ve been able to integrate with the team and help our clients all from Zoom and the comforts of my living room. I was also able to progress through more than half of the curriculum to become a CFP…possibly thanks to the commute time I saved.
  • Josh – The shift to working from home was a team effort for the whole Whelan family – mostly from Norah who graciously gave up her bedroom so it could become my office. She and Declan are happy roommates…for now. We discovered a great new family card game called Cover Your Assets and I’ve never been more thankful for our home gym!
  • Mallory – I successfully transitioned to the Alterra Advisors team…mid-COVID! Virtual training, though certainly a new experience, was a success and I look forward to a successful and healthy 2021!
  • Nikki – This year, I completed the CFP education program, finally learned to make better than takeout fried rice, learned to knit and found a great therapist…and found more than a few good new wines!
  • Ryan – My 2020 highlight was welcoming my son (and third child) to our family! We moved to a new house and loved getting to spend more time with family while working from home.
  • Zach – The Hamilton family welcomed baby number two – our daughter Jade! Though sleep is harder to come by these days, we enjoyed the concentrated family time at home together.

As of the time of this writing, Amber and Laura are both taking time to celebrate exciting personal milestones. Amber and her husband, Dan, welcome their first baby to their family, their sweet daughter Iver. Laura and her husband, Tyler, were married at the end of 2020 and are celebrating on their honeymoon!

With 2020 closed, we’re looking forward to seeing all that 2021 has in store for our team, our families, and for you! Happy New Year!

The “Alterra” name was coined by joining the Latin roots “alter”, the origin of the word “altruism” with “terra” meaning earth or land. This name reflects the company philosophy of “clients before profits” and providing firmly grounded advice.

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