At first, I equated IMA only with the CMA. I didn’t realize the many additional benefits of IMA membership until later in my career. After becoming a CMA, I wasn’t actively involved in the organization, but I continued membership in order to maintain my certification. For several years, that was the extent of my participation. I did attend a couple of workshops and social events, but these were few in number. Over time, that began to change as I became aware of the many opportunities that were passing me by. I started to carefully read the e-mails that arrived regularly from both the IMA headquarters and my local chapter, and I learned that there were many interesting ways to become more involved.
Since that time, I have served on boards at the global, council, and local levels. As a member of the Committee on Academic Relations, I traveled to new places (Park City, Utah, and Portland, Ore., are my favorites) and met many interesting people. I also learned much more about IMA as an organization and gained an even greater awareness of the many member benefits. I joined the board of the Toledo Chapter in 2005 and serve as its president today. This also led me to involvement with the Ohio Council.
If I had to state one primary benefit of active participation, it would be the people I meet. There are so many wonderful members of IMA who are passionate about management accounting and are willing and able to help others when asked. IMA gave me the opportunity to expand my network of friends and associates in accounting. Becoming involved with your local chapter provides you with an introduction and connection to many of the people working in management accounting in your geographic area. That’s a tremendous advantage and opportunity for all members.
As I learned more about IMA, I began to think about starting a student chapter in Toledo. What began as a general idea has resulted in the formation of two student chapters—one at Owens Community College and one at the University of Toledo. I love bringing the opportunities of IMA to students who are just starting their careers. It’s inspiring to witness the passion these young members bring to the organization and their excitement at joining the community of IMA accountants and leaders. As a faculty member, I appreciate the many benefits available to students, such as scholarships, conferences, and networking. Yes, being a member of IMA has definitely enriched my life in ways I never anticipated.