IMA Volunteerism: Start VolunteeringBy
As a student in high school and college, I did some volunteer work but not enough to grasp its importance. I didn’t understand the value and the benefits of volunteering until I joined IMA® as a student member in 1978. Six months after becoming a member of the Las Vegas Chapter, I was asked if I would be interested in becoming a board member and Chapter secretary. I said yes, not really knowing what to expect.
What I found was a wonderful group of people who supported and helped me to do my job and succeed. I became president of the Chapter in 1981, and that’s when I really got the “bug” to volunteer at the regional and global levels.
Volunteering at the chapter, regional, and global levels was very rewarding, and, as the saying goes, I got more out of it than I put into it. I learned new soft skills that helped me in my work, and I met people who, later on, would help advance my career. All along the way, I made many great friends that to this day I call my IMA family.
I had the honor of serving as IMA Chair in 2003-2004, and you might think that after reaching that “top spot” my volunteering days would be over. Well, they aren’t. Many of our former Chairs still volunteer because it’s so rewarding. I continue to serve on committees like the Technology Solutions and Practices Committee and the Volunteer Leadership Committee, and I’m chair of the 100-Year Anniversary Committee.
If I am asked to speak to a class about IMA, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification, and careers in accounting, I will always say yes. Having the opportunity to talk to the future members and leaders of our profession always gives me inspiration. So if someone asks you, please say yes! If you aren’t sure what to say or aren’t used to public speaking, don’t worry—you aren’t the only one. IMA has training available on how you can become a Campus Influencer.
I’ve found that volunteering gives me the satisfaction of serving a larger purpose because I really believe in what IMA does for our profession and the values it promotes. When you volunteer and work alongside others who share your values and desire to support a certain cause, you develop very close friendships that will last a lifetime.
I encourage anyone who hasn’t volunteered before to take the plunge. Even if you don’t think you have the time to volunteer now, don’t put it off. If you put it off, you’ll miss all the excellent benefits and opportunities you get from volunteering. IMA has so many volunteer opportunities to help better our profession and help others along the way. Please read Jeff Thomson’s Top Line column in the July 2018 issue of Strategic Finance to see the many ways you can volunteer.
As IMA celebrates its 100th Anniversary, make this your year to start volunteering for this wonderful profession and become one of IMA’s crown jewels!