IMA Volunteerism: Drawn to ServiceBy
Over the course of many years as a CMA®(Certified Management Accountant) and active IMA®member, I have been asked by colleagues, friends, family—and even fellow members—about why I got involved in IMA, what I get from being involved, and why I stay involved.
At times, frankly, I couldn’t readily answer their questions. I’ve certainly given many years of service to IMA: four terms as chapter president (two in Memphis and two in South Central Indiana), one term as president of the Lincoln Trail Regional Council, and five years as a member of the Technology Solutions and Practices Committee. Looking back over my 36 years as an accountant, I realize why I struggled to produce concise answers to these questions: It’s because IMA has done so much for me and means so much to me. Here’s my attempt at answering those inquiries.
Why did I get involved? I was drawn into volunteer service because I believe my accounting career, like life, is a journey rather than a destination. Thinking back to my early involvement with IMA, I recognize that I was ambitious but not always clear about what aspects of finance and accounting I truly wanted to focus on.
In the first 20 years of my career, I primarily served as a controller for small companies—my largest accounting team during that time was four people. With a broad set of interests and working with only a small group of people, I felt I needed to network with fellow professionals to continue learning and growing. At times, I simply wanted to gain perspective, new ideas, and a second opinion. Several key associates also encouraged me to get involved, most notably IMA Chair-Emeritus Ginger White.
What do I get from being involved? IMA has given me a high standard to live up to, a challenge to constantly improve myself, and a sense of accomplishment. It’s also been a forum for collaboration with great accounting and finance professionals. More practically, it provides excellent, timely insight on topics I need to know about for my career. Finally, IMA has given me renewed enthusiasm and passion for what I do as well as clarity about what areas of work interest me and where I bring value.
Why do I stay involved? As my professional career draws to a close, I feel compelled to give back, particularly to an organization that has been such a big part of my life. My involvement in IMA has directly impacted the opportunity I have to retire so early in my life. The leaders I have met through my involvement inspire me, both professionally and personally, providing me with examples of not only accomplished professionals but also solid citizens.
I encourage all members to take advantage of the opportunities IMA provides to grow and learn—so many are available when you participate as a volunteer leader. I look forward to continuing to do my part to help IMA positively impact others, just as it has done for me.