IMA Volunteerism: Balancing my EquationBy
I was asked to create a personal mission statement as part of a campus leadership program. While I was endlessly typing and deleting, one of my introductory financial accounting students emailed me a question about the accounting equation. In answering, it clicked: I try to live my life according to the accounting equation, but slightly modified.
My opening mission statement became: “Whatever people have invested in me (equity) or lent me (liabilities), I strive to provide future benefits (assets), both by helping those around me and also improving myself.” IMA® has been an integral part of helping me keep my equation in “balance.”
My IMA journey began more than 15 years ago when I was a cost accountant at FireKing Security Group. After earning my CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification, I started attending Louisville Chapter events. Being from a relatively small town in Indiana and a first-generation college student, I didn’t have a professional network. The chapter board members were very encouraging and asked me to help count donations at a local American Cancer Society walk.
There’s something unique about IMA and its passionate volunteers that draws you in. I quickly began assuming responsibility on the chapter board, starting as director of meeting attendance and eventually becoming chapter president. My proudest accomplishment is our popular campus Student Night event that attendees describe as the accounting version of speed dating—where students rotate between tables and chat with financial professionals. I will always be grateful for the board giving me the latitude and support to implement impactful change instead of demanding the “same as last year.”
Volunteering was benefiting me as much as the chapter. It helped give me the confidence and leadership skills to assume progressive responsibility at work—becoming a manager, leading system implementations and numerous change initiatives, and, finally, earning my spot at the leadership table.
Being active on the chapter board also reconnected me with one of my college professors, who offered me an opportunity to become an adjunct accounting instructor. This eventually led to my current role as lecturer in accounting at Indiana University Southeast. Through volunteering, I’ve met some amazing people who have become a surrogate family and some of my biggest cheerleaders.
I always describe IMA as the perfect “playground” for volunteers because of the varied opportunities at the local, regional, and global levels. I encourage you to explore Volunteering with IMA web page to find your right fit. Though my service started at the local chapter level, I’ve also participated at the regional level as president of the Lincoln Trail Council.
And I’ve been involved in global initiatives, including serving on the Committee on Ethics and the Annual Conference Program Committee and speaking at Annual Conferences. Now I’m a member of the IMA Global Board of Directors, ICMA Exam Review Committee, and Leadership Academy faculty.
I hope to never stop evolving, and I encourage you to open yourself up to the numerous possibilities in your IMA volunteer journey.