An 18-year member of IMA, Ginger is currently the corporate purchasing finance director at Cummins Inc., a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells, and services diesel and alternative fuel engines; electrical generator sets; and related components and technology. In this role, she supports purchasing leaders with financial reporting and analysis and is responsible for a $12 billion companywide spend.
As she looks to celebrate her new role as Chair-Elect, Ginger describes the many ways in which IMA and the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification have benefitted her 20-year career with Cummins. None of it would have happened, she reveals, if not for a bold move she made in the early stages of her career that set the course for future success.
Coming from a hard-working, blue collar family, Ginger immediately entered the workforce after graduating high school. Though working full-time and earning a decent salary, Ginger became interested in an open position that included the words “master’s degree required” in the job description. At the time, she didn’t even have a bachelor’s degree. That was the moment that piqued her interest in and commitment to education and professional development.
Consulting with her family about the idea to leave her job to pursue a college degree full time, Ginger shared that her father was initially opposed to the idea. She recalls him saying, “‘But you’re doing so well. Why would you want to stop working to go to college?’” In a move of courage and conviction, she made a decision against her family’s recommendation. Ginger left her job and enrolled in Berea College.
During her sophomore year, her GPA began to slip because she was overextended in clubs and activities. Once again, she sought the counsel of her father. By then he had become her biggest supporter.
Ginger recalls, “My father reassured me by saying, ‘You can always come home, but you’re doing so well. Don’t quit.’” She now has two master’s degrees, a Six Sigma Black Belt, a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and the CMA certification.
Ginger encourages all women to be bold as they launch and cultivate professional careers. She asserts that education, as well as the support of a senior sponsor and/or mentor to provide guidance toward leadership opportunities, is crucial as professional women pursue positions in leadership.
Equally important to women’s career development is support in the workplace from male allies. Ginger says she has had exceptional male bosses who believed in her, provided opportunities to help build her confidence, and saw value in the unique and diverse perspective she offered.
She also recommends joining professional organizations, such as IMA, that provide numerous opportunities for professionals at any stage in their career to enhance their skills or learn new ones.
In her nearly two decades as an IMA member, Ginger has been a true leader. She was president of IMA’s South Central Indiana Chapter and served on the Lincoln Trail Regional Council, where she was the IMA student representative, chair of the student committee, regional vice president, and president. She also has been chair of IMA’s Member Relations Board Committee, chair of IMA’s Performance Oversight and Audit Board Committee, a member of IMA’s Nominating Board Committee, and a member of IMA’s Governance Committee. In 2014, Ginger received the IMA Exemplary Leadership Award.
But her service wasn’t easy at first. “Like most people, I had a fear of public speaking. Throughout my various chapter and governance positions with IMA, I had to get up in front of others to speak and give presentations,” Ginger says. “IMA provided a safe and supportive space for me to face and overcome my fear of speaking in public.”
Additionally, Ginger credits the CMA certification for playing a vital role in her long-term success at Cummins. “Throughout my career, I’ve held a number of positions within Cummins, each role increasing in responsibilities and providing new and exciting challenges. The CMA was valuable beyond words as my career has included positions in accounting and finance, as well as project management, mentoring and training, and administration.”
Looking ahead, Ginger intends to use what she’s learned through her experiences at Cummins and as a CMA to help her in her role as IMA Chair-Elect. For example, she plans to apply several leadership principles: First is respect for the individual, closely followed by active listening. Ginger adds that it’s crucial to demonstrate both while suspending judgment. The key is to truly develop a deeper understanding of team members and peers.
“The value of IMA is the wealth of opportunity it has provided to me over the years to grow and practice my leadership skills,” Ginger explains. “It is an honor to now transition into the Chair-Elect role on IMA’s Global Board.”
For more information about IMA’s leadership and Global Board, please visit imanet.org/about-ima.
NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING
To members of the Institute of Management Accountants: Notice is hereby given to all members of IMA that the Annual Meeting of the Institute will be held Sunday, June 18, 2017, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel in Denver, Colo., to transact such business as may properly come before the meeting.