Rhonda Kerkhoff understands what it means to serve as a financial advisor in rural America.

After all, she is in her 16th year serving in that role, with more than 10 years of that time on her own as the owner of Focus Financial in Redwood Falls.

Kerkhoff admits she struggles with decision makers and advisors in more metropolitan areas who she says need to have a better understanding of the culture and practices of rural America.

In February, Kerkhoff had the opportunity to share the information she has gained during a national conference of financial advisors, which was held in Los Angeles, Calif.

Known as the W Forum, the event brings female financial professionals from across the U.S. together. 

Kerkhoff said she learned about the opportunity to speak and applied for the chance, adding she never imagined they actually would select her.

They did.

Kerkhoff felt this was a great chance for her to talk about rural America and the people she serves, adding the value of knowing one’s neighbor can’t be understated.

Kerkhoff said she was given a coach to help her present at the conference, adding she spoke using the TED talk style that she said is more conversational.

“I didn’t have any notes,” she said, adding there were 400-500 people in attendance.

In addition to having her expenses covered during the conference, Kerkhoff also received a $1,000 donation that she could give to the charity of her choice. Kerkhoff presented those funds to LINC in Redwood County.

For Kerkhoff, speaking in front of an audience was a great learning experience, adding she was happy she had the chance to share her personal best practice experiences with a large group of people.

She said hands down this was the toughest and most rewarding public endeavor that she has accomplished.