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Creating Memories at IMA’s Annual Conference

By Amanda Balbi
August 4, 2015
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This year, 947 attendees took part in IMA’s 96th Annual Conference & Expo. Held June 20-24, 2015, in Los Angeles, Calif., the Conference was an opportunity for IMA® members to learn from industry leaders, network with like-minded professionals, and reminisce about the past year.

 

Conference sessions covered a wide array of topics—including ethics, internal controls, CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification, and more—and offered 30.5 NASBA-approved continuing professional education (CPE) credits. Among the 50 sessions offered were “Business and Management Lessons from Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics” presented by Stephen J. Dubner, author of Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics, and Think Like a Freak; “Plugging Into Your Potential” by J.R. Martinez, actor in ABC’s “All My Children,” U.S. Army veteran, and winner of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”; “SEC Updates” by Wesley Bricker, deputy chief accountant of the Office of the Chief Accountant; and “An Afternoon of Entrepreneurial Spirit, Social Responsibility, and Radical Business Philosophy” by Jerry Greenfield, cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc. In addition, IMA President and CEO Jeff Thomson moderated a special panel discussion, “What it Takes to Excel as a Strategic Partner,” which featured Benjamin R. Mulling, IMA Chair and CFO of TENTE Casters, Inc.; Brian C. Neale, finance manager at General Mills Inc.; and Amie Thuener, chief accountant at Google Inc.

 

In addition to the educational sessions, there were 18 networking events during this year’s Conference and a few special “meet and greets” with session speakers such as Stephen J. Dubner and J.R. Martinez. At the Annual Dinner, Ben Mulling was inducted as the 2015-2016 Chair of IMA’s Global Board of Directors. He spoke of his goals to further cultivate IMA’s international presence, help IMA make better use of technology, and increase IMA’s engagement with students and young professionals.

 

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The Annual Dinner was also a time to recognize members, chapters, and businesses for their contributions to IMA and the profession. This year, IMA recognized Robert Half with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Robert Half, founder of staffing firm Robert Half International, was a long-time supporter of IMA. Accepting the posthumous award on his behalf was Brett Good, senior district director for southern California and Arizona at Robert Half International. ICMA® (Institute of Certified Management Accountants) presented the ICMA Board of Regents Corporate Recognition Award to Hormel Foods Corporation for its strong support of CMA certification. Also, Cummins Inc. received the Bulloch Award of Excellence, which is given to the organization deemed to demonstrate outstanding sponsorship, encouragement, and support of the CMA program. For the second year in a row, IMA’s Minneapolis Chapter won the highest honor in the chapter category, the Chair’s Award, for its excellence over the past five years. In the scholarship category, Susan Snyder from Park University won the SCMS Memorial Fund Scholarship—an amount of $5,000—and 10 other students received scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.

 

In keeping with IMA’s emphasis on innovation, the Conference had a mobile app, which attendees could use to create a schedule of sessions they wanted to attend, look up speakers’ background information, download and submit session evaluation forms, and connect with other attendees via social media. The app also featured a scavenger hunt game in which participants took selfies with certain objects and people to win prizes. Attendees also played the passport game where they had to get a booklet stamped by each booth at the Solutions Showcase. The fully stamped booklets were put into a raffle, and one winner was picked. All in all, there were 29 prizes, which included gift cards, gadgets, and a complimentary stay and registration for IMA’s 2016 Annual Conference & Expo.

 

The Conference was a great way for IMA to wrap up another strong year. Membership numbers grew from about 72,000 members in 2014 to more than 78,000 in 2015. And the CMA certification also continued to grow and be recognized around the world. More than 3,500 professionals earned the CMA in fiscal year 2015, and the program has more than 15,500 new candidates—both record numbers! IMA is looking forward to the year ahead with Chair Ben Mulling’s leadership, an increased number of certified professionals, and more global growth of the association.

 

To see all pictures from the event, visit IMA’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/IMAnetORG.

 

SAVE THE DATE

Save the date for IMA’s 97th Annual Conference & Expo, which will be held June 18-22, 2016, at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nev. We look forward to having you join us next year, where IMA will continue its tradition of bringing you the knowledge, skills, and strategies that help enhance your professional success, create influence, and add value to your organization.

 

CALL FOR SESSIONS

IMA is seeking presenters and program ideas for the 2016 Conference, and we invite you to share your ideas and expertise by submitting through our Call for Sessions. Multiple submissions are welcome. For more information, please visit www.imaconference.org. The deadline for submissions is August 31, 2015.

 

COMING SOON

16th Annual Student Leadership Conference

November 12-14, 2015

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

 

 

Amanda Balbi is copy editor of Strategic Finance magazine. You can reach her at abalbi@imanet.org.
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