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IMA Volunteerism: Volunteer Service Makes a Difference

By Rick S. Thompson, CMA, CFM, CPA, CIA, CTP, CFE
August 1, 2019
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More than 2,300 years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle reminded us that the essence of life is “to serve others and to do good.” It’s important for each of us to reflect on whether we are giving back to society, to our profession, and to the things that make a difference in our lives.

 

From a personal perspective, I’m reminded of successes enabled by IMA® volunteer opportunities and the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification. I began my career as an industrial engineer at Milliken & Company, a privately held, global textile and chemical company headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C. After seven years, I transitioned to financial roles and assumed responsibility for cost accounting for global operations after becoming a CMA.

 

IMA volunteer roles became an extension of my career, and giving back to the profession became a priority. After transitioning to other roles in my company, I continued to volunteer in the Spartanburg Area Chapter and served as chapter president. It was an honor to accept the Chair’s Award at the IMA Annual Conference on behalf of the chapter and its dedicated leaders.

 

The opportunity to facilitate an in-house CMA program at Milliken & Company enabled me to witness lives being changed when employees earned their CMA certification. As a passionate volunteer, I served six years (2002-2008) on the ICMA® Board of Regents, the governing body for the CMA program. This taught me much about volunteerism and lifetime learning, preparing me to earn other certifications. I was active in the IMA Carolinas Council during this same period and served as council president when the council’s dedicated volunteer leaders received the Council Award of Excellence.

 

I also was a member of the IMA Global Board of Directors while serving as chair of the Board of Regents for three years (2011-2014). It was a great volunteer experience as the CMA certification was continuing to expand in the global marketplace. I visited China, encouraged other IMA members, and experienced the enthusiasm for and growth of the CMA certification. Lives have been changed by the knowledge and skill sets gained from this rigorous examination experience.

 

Numerous other IMA volunteer roles include the Governance Committee, the Nominating Committee, chair of the Volunteer Leadership Committee, and now chair of the Planning and Development Committee. IMA also has provided me numerous speaking opportunities at the Annual Conference in recent years. These areas of IMA volunteer service have made a big difference in my career, and I am now the SVP-Finance, secretary, and treasurer of Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, LLC, a real estate, energy, and investment company in Greenville, S.C.

 

I remain indebted to IMA for many successes provided by learning and growth experiences from my volunteer efforts over the past 30+ years. IMA provides a forum for each of us to engage in meaningful volunteer activities that make a difference and build lifetime friendships. Become an enthusiastic volunteer in IMA!

 

Rick S. Thompson, CMA, CFM, CPA, CIA, CTP, CFE, is the SVP-Finance, secretary, and treasurer of Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, LLC. He is a member of the IMA Global Board of Directors, chair of IMA’s Planning and Development Committee, and a member of the Governance Committee. You can reach him at rick.thompson@pacoletmilliken.com.
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