Transparent Advisor Movement: Immersion 2024

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The Transparent Advisor Movement is taking St. Louis! Will you join us? Immersion 2024 is the first ever advice-only and flat fee financial advisor conference.

When: Wednesday, March 13th – Thursday, March 14th, 2024

Where: DoubleTree by Hilton St. Louis Airport, 4505 Woodson Road, St. Louis, Missouri, 63134

Transparency is the single most powerful force that exists in realm of human communication. Join the Immersion.

Sounds cool – but what’s an “Immersion”???

This is not a conference – it’s an “Immersion”.

picture of water

And so you ask: What’s an “Immersion”?

It’s a radically different experience.

Expect LOTS of this:

  • Peer to peer conversations
  • Opportunities for personal growth
  • Strengthening of group unity
  • Strengthening of values
  • A group volunteering event
  • Purity of thought and humility
  • Small group interactions such as role playing and tech demos from other advisors not vendors
  • “Ask me anything” sessions with practical insights from actual practitioners
  • Information about “how to do stuff” from people who are actually doing it!
  • Short, engaging presentations – to the point before you fall asleep!
  • Clean, safe accommodations that won’t cost a fortune

And NONE of this nonsense:

  • Sponsorships
  • Sales pitches
  • Hidden agendas and conflicts of interest
  • Boring, long presentations
  • High level lectures from “thought leaders”
  • Monogrammed water bottles and other junk
  • Showing off, posturing, and the usual virtue signaling crap

You’ll be assigned a “Pod” prior to the event

IMPORTANT to note: This is not going to be a huge event. We are planning for 40 people at most. We are limiting the number of spots intentionally to allow for more peer-to-peer interaction and practical, hands-on learning.

Upon registration, you will be interviewed and assigned a “pod” group that will meet virtually 3-4 times before the conference. You will be grouped according to your intentions. At the conference this will be your base and you will work together on small group activities that develop you personally and professionally.

Deeper, different – and better!

Here is how to get your ticket

This ticket cost is $250.00 plus the cost of sales tax.

Please reserve your ticket through the Eventbrite link below.

Please note, there are no refunds. If you wish to transfer your ticket to another party, you may do so before March 1, 2024, and you agree to notify Sara Grillo immediately of any changes in ownership.

Also, by purchasing this ticket you are agreeing to follow the Terms and Conditions, Code of Conduct and Safety Policy articulated on this page (see below).

Ticket cost – transparent breakout

In the spirit of transparency, here is the breakout calculation of the ticket price. If you would like evidence of the deposit I paid, receipts for costs paid so far, and elaboration on why the costs are this way, please see “Addendum” at the end of this blog.

Immersion Agenda

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

5 PM: Informal greeting/dinner

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

8 AM – 9 AM Breakfast, Networking and introductions

9 AM Statement of Mission: Sara Grillo

9:30 AM Ask Me Anything about Flat Fees: Andy Panko

10:30 AM Small group “Pod” activity

11 AM Ask me Anything about Advice-Only: Quinn Arnold, Dwight Dettloff, Kevin Estes, and Kelly Nilsson

12 PM Lunch

1 PM Ask Me Anything about Flat Fees: Carrie Catlin

2 PM Small Group “Pod” activity

2:30 PM Succession Planning for Alternative Style Practices: Tony Passerini

5 PM Group Volunteering at Missouri Veterans Endeavor or Group Dinner – participants to choose which option

Thursday, March 14, 2024

8:30 AM Breakfast, Statement of Mission: Sara Grillo

9:00 AM Ask Me Anything about my Flat Fee or Advice Only Tech Stack: Bill Hines

10:00 AM Small group “Pod” activity

10:30 AM Ask Me Anything about the Subscription Model: James Brewer

11:00 AM Advice only planning for business owners: Daniel Bishop

12 PM Lunch

1 PM Departure

About the Speakers

Andy Panko, CFP®

A flat fee advisor who grew from $0 in revenue to closing his practice to new clients in under two years, he did it through the power of logic and service to the client. Founder of Tenon Financial and the Retirement Planning Education Facebook group, which has over 40,000 members.

Carrie Catlin, CFP®

Flat fee financial advisor and principal of a successful 15 year + flat fee firm Fenway Financial, Carrie offers first hand, proven knowledge about a metric-driven approach to scaling a flat fee practice, how to price your offering, and how to improve efficiency, technology, and workflows for a flat fee practice.

James Brewer, CFP®

James Brewer is the founder of Envision Wealth Planning. He has a passion to address the gender and racial retirement disparity. That drove him to found Envision Wealth to help address this issue along with helping his business owner clients.

Dwight Dettloff, CPA, CFP®

CPA, financial advisor, and former auditor, he knows the right way to go and has been a pleasant advocate for flat fee advisors in his state of Colorado.

Bill Hines, AFC®

A former IT professional and Air Force veteran turned advice-only planner, Bill prides himself on having a high efficiency tech stack that doesn’t cost a fortune. Founder of Emancipare.

Kelly Nilsson, CFP®

Kelly is the founder of Brava Financial, LLC – a flat-fee, advice-only financial planning firm in San Diego. She’s an ardent fiduciary and a wonderful role model for other advice only planners!

Kevin Estes

Advice-only and hourly planner for telecom professionals, as well as all around nice guy, Kevin Estes is the leader of one Advice-Only Pod #2.

Matthew Etzler, CFP®

Advice-only and hourly planner with 30+ years of experience, he has owned his RIA practice in CA since 2005 and focuses on Federal government employees.

Quinn Arnold, CFP®

Flat fee advisor and former consultant. When he’s not working with clients, you’ll probably find him tag-teaming the work of raising two little boys with his wife, Brie.

Daniel Bishop

Advice-only planner who helps business owners fix leaks.

Sara Grillo, CFA

Financial advisor marketing badass and transparency advocate, she never backs down from a LinkedIn fight with insurance agents, lol.

After you purchase your ticket

Please watch this video which summarizes the information below.

Instructions for booking your flight

The airport to fly into is : St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

The airport code is: STL

It is recommended that you book your flight so that you arrive on Tuesday, March 12th. Please note, check in time at the hotel is 3 PM.

You should book your flight to depart on Thursday, March 14th after 1 PM. Please note, check out time is 11 AM.

Please note that there are two airports serving St. Louis: Lambert and MidAmerica. Please do not fly into MidAmerica Airport unless there is no other way to get to St. Louis from where you are coming from. It is further away and there is no free shuttle to the hotel. There is a free shuttle from Lambert Airport to the Double by Hilton St Louis Airport, where the event is taking place.

Instructions for booking your hotel room

The hotel where the conference is happening is DoubleTree by Hilton St. Louis Airport, 4505 Woodson Road, St. Louis, Missouri, 63134. Please book a hotel room at this hotel in the Transparent Advisor Movement block.

Guests will book their rooms individually. The cost of a hotel room is $145.00 per day, and a 17.33% tax applies.

Please use the link below to book your room.

If you would prefer to call and make your reservation, call 800-774-1500 and please use Group Code 908.

Terms and Conditions

  • You are responsible for your own hotel/transportation arrangements and costs.
  • There are no ticket refunds. If you wish to transfer your ticket to another party, you may do so before March 1, 2024, and you agree to notify Sara Grillo by March 2, 2024 in writing of any changes in ownership.
  • We will be filming and photographing at this event. Sara Grillo retains the rights to these images. By purchasing a ticket, you are consenting to be filmed and photographed. You are also consenting to permit Sara Grillo to use these images for professional use.
  • The conference schedule is subject to change. If it changes, Sara Grillo will notify participants of these changes.
  • Airfare may be subject to delays and cancellations due to weather and other extreme emergencies. You agree to accept all risks related to flight cancellation and delay, and you agree that Sara Grillo bears no responsibility for flight delays or cancellations or the negative consequences associated with them.
  • By purchasing a ticket, you agree to follow our Code of Conduct and Safety Policy (see below)

Code of Conduct and Safety Policy

To ensure an inclusive environment, discrimination or harassment in any form is prohibited at this event, including but not limited to:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Ageism
  • Homophobia
  • Transphobia
  • Ableism
  • Physical aggression or harm

If you experience any of the aforementioned instances of misconduct, or any others not included on this list, please report it to me, Sara Grillo, in person and via email at

The Code of Conduct applies to all participants, including but not limit to: speakers and attendees, and is without exception. Choosing to join the event evidences your cooperation and agreement with the policy.

Let’s talk about sexual harassment

Sorry for mentioning this, but I really want to get this out in the open.

Sexual harassment is a big problem at events in our industry, and I don’t want it to come into play at Immersion.

Sexual harassment spans the broad range of an inappropriate look, touch, comment, or written messages. There is a “no tolerance policy” at Immersion when it comes to sexual harassment at this event. Everyone attending, men and women alike, is expected to abstain from sexual harassment.

Often times, sexual harassment is unintentional and resulting from miscommunication. The way we avoid sexual harassment is through clarity and communication about boundaries.

I don’t want anyone to feel like you can’t be yourself or enjoy the conference. I want everyone to feel comfortable, relaxed, and safe. Everyone – every man, and every woman.

So to do that, here are some boundaries I suggest we consider:

  • Exercise caution when given the opportunity to hang out in private, one on one, with anyone of the opposite sex. For example, going to someone else’s hotel room for a prolonged amount of time. Instead, I would suggest meeting in the hotel lounge or another public area.
  • Stay sober. You can have fun socially without drinking alcohol or consuming any type of mood-altering substance. I encourage you to abstain from this, as it may lead you to let down your boundaries/impose on other people’s boundaries without full consciousness you are doing so.
  • Be conservative and think twice when commenting on anyone’s appearance. This includes their dress, age, attractiveness, etc. What may be intended as a compliment may be misinterpreted between two people who don’t know each other well.
  • Exercise caution and try to avoid touching anyone else other than a handshake. When people don’t know each other well, touch can be misconstrued.
  • Try to be aware of body language clues other people may be giving you. If somebody seems to want more space, give it to them.
  • ?We should all, men and women alike, be aware of the signals we are giving with how we dress. Clothing choice affects how people perceive us and what our intentions are.
  • In general, if you aren’t sure if something could be misconstrued, hold back. Better safe than sorry. Remember, you can think about committing this action at a later point, once the signals are clear that it’s okay with the other person. If it’s not completely clear that the person is okay with something, abstain.

These are just a few to get you started thinking.

Let’s be clear about boundaries, and honor them, as they can help us avoid awkward social situations. They aren’t constructed to kill the good vibe or ruin the fun; on the contrary, boundaries help us make sure we all are safe, and that everyone can be free to be themselves without having to worry.

Relax and breathe deep! I want us to have fun – men and women alike, every single one of us – and not feel like we are on guard. That is why I am saying all this.

Does that sound reasonable? If there is something you want to get out in the open, let’s discuss it.

Addendum – Pricing Transparency

My goal was to identify the best venue for the lowest possible price. To achieve this, I researched and got proposals from a number of different hotels in different parts of the country. Missouri is centrally located and the amenities were much less expensive than in a larger city. This is a professional event, not a camping trip, and for that reason I chose the hotel that offered the highest professional quality of experience for the price charged.

Despite my efforts to minimize costs, there are contractual and statutory obligations that must be met (Missouri state sales tax, service and taxes on event items such as food, beverage, and AV, ticket processing fees, etc.) I also had to build in a buffer in case incidental expenses were to arise, which I am anticipating is likely.

After sales tax, the ticket comes to $274.98 on Event Brite. If the total of ticket fees charged, net of taxes and expenses, exceeds the costs for this event, I intend to try to the best of my ability to refund back this excess to all who purchased tickets. Even with me absorbing as much of the cost as I am able to, I had to pass on some of these costs to the attendees. I apologize if this cost is prohibitively expensive for anyone and if it is for you, please let me know and we’ll see if there is some way to work around it.

Addendum – Receipts

Here is a receipt for the insurance policy I was contractually obligated to buy for this event.

Here is a receipt for the deposit I put down for the conference room at Doubletree by Hilton.


Rates may vary as a function of geographic location due to exchange rate differences, fees, surcharges, and other factors. These offers are limited to the services advertised in the promotions contained on this page. Additional services may be provided at an additional cost at rates that are subject to negotiation.

Grillo Investment Management, LLC does not guarantee any specific level of performance, the success of any strategy that Grillo Investment Management, LLC may use, or the success of any program.

Grillo Investment Management, LLC will strive to maintain current information however it may become out of date. Grillo Investment Management, LLC is under no obligation to advise users of subsequent changes to statements or information contained herein. This information is general in nature; for specific advice applicable to your current situation please contact a consultant or advisor.


I wanted to thank my respected colleagues Chris Randall, Knut Rostad, Kevin Estes, Daniel Bishop, Daniel Miura, and Scott Salaske for their help planning this event.

Any questions? Send 'em in!