If you need a little distraction from the doom and gloom of daily headlines, a little something to inspire you to keep pushing yourself to reach a personal best, you may find it here in our 29th annual Outstanding Advisor Award winners. These advisors are at the top of their game professionally. They also find the time and the energy to make substantial commitments to causes they care about, both locally and globally.

Every year, Registered Rep. receives hundreds of nomination letters from all types of advisors across the country for our annual OAA. Paring the pile down to 10 is never an easy task. However, reading about the high esteem in which many of your colleagues and clients hold the many nominees we receive is evidence that good usually prevails over greed in the world of financial services. Indeed, amid all of the negative news reports about Wall Street executive bonuses and excessive spending, it's a great time for a reminder of just how many honest, giving and successful people work in this business.

This year, our selected winners are all over the map in terms of the causes they champion and the methods they use to support them. But many of them are very hands-on, doing the hard work of setting up their own charities, building their own schools, hand-selecting and delivering needed supplies. These advisors want to have a direct and tangible impact on the world. John Ledford, for example, loans money directly to entrepreneurs in the third world through micro-lending and has created his own micro-lending organization. It's a model that has lately enjoyed some success in developing nations where international aid often has not. David B. Hansen, meanwhile, personally purchases and delivers breakfast to 15 schools in Boulder, Colo. And Fay Debellis founded Red Thread to donate funds and supplies to orphanages in China, and to train orphanage staff. She raises funds by throwing great parties.

All 10 of this year's OAAs serve to remind us not only of an individual's capacity for improving our world, but also to illuminate the creative methods we use to help one another. It's not surprising that financial advisors can be found leading these efforts. As one of our OAAs, Andrew Koerner says, he was attracted to the business in part because he knew it would give him the time and money to engage in philanthropic projects the way he wanted to. So, turn the page and read about this year's 10 winners. You'll come away inspired.