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IMA Life: Networking with IMA

By Christina Keener
February 1, 2018
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Whenever I hear the saying “Curiosity killed the cat,” I remember the lessons I’ve learned, and I think, “Yes, but curiosity is what drives my career.”

 

As a young professional in 2016 with a few years of accounting experience under my belt, I was searching for an organization that would allow me to network with other accountants and enhance my career. I had earned my bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2012 while working full-time, which left me little time to network or learn about professional organizations. But with my innate curiosity to meet people and learn more about my profession, I made the time.

 

A friend of mine told me about IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants). I attended a meeting as soon as I could and quickly became a member of IMA’s Pittsburgh Chapter.

 

As I learned more about the organization, I heard about the Women’s Accounting Leadership Series. The seminars are in different parts of the country. I wouldn’t know anyone there, but I was eager to learn what other women were talking about in the field of accounting.

 

My experience didn’t develop along a traditional or easy path. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I decided to pursue my degree. I took small steps, first earning my associate’s degree from a community college, then pushing myself to earn my bachelor’s degree while working full-time in the Accounts Receivable department for a national uniform company. I believe it was my curiosity, persistence, and determination that motivated me to work hard in my college years, and now these same attributes are propelling me in my career.

 

I attended my first Women’s Accounting Leadership Series in May 2017 in Houston, Texas, where I found inspiration and motivation, seeing things in a whole new light. I heard the stories of women from all backgrounds, ethnicities, and industries. Though each one of us had a different story, we were all similar in that we were curious enough to come together and listen to one another. I participated in table discussions where prominent women shared their journeys to C-suite positions and how they overcame obstacles. They were generous with advice for us young professionals in the workforce today.

 

My big takeaway from my first Women’s Accounting Leadership Series is that I no longer strive to learn or better myself because I have to but because I want to. I was so motivated by the first seminar that I decided to attend the fall seminar in October 2017 in New York City–and that curiosity worked to my benefit once again. Not only did I listen to the stories of driven, successful women, but I had the privilege of sitting in while top management at the Deloitte Center for Controllership™ talked about the experiences of CFOs.

 

I would encourage any woman, no matter what stage of your career you may be in, to attend the Women’s Accounting Leadership Series. Being informed in accounting is valuable, no matter where you are on your career path.

 

So why not give in to your curiosity and attend the next event? Even if curiosity killed the cat, that’s what nine lives are for!


The next Women’s Accounting Leadership Series event will be held in Amsterdam on March 8, 2018, which is International Women’s Day. If you’re interested in attending or learning more about future events, email womensleadership@imanet.org.

 

Christina Keener is a staff accountant at Eat’n Park Hospitality Group in Pittsburgh, Pa. She is a member of IMA’s Pittsburgh Chapter. You can reach Christina at chrisC041@hotmail.com.
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