A Life of ServiceBy
Shattering the misconception that one person really can’t make a difference is the life of James C. “Jimmie” Smith, a 45-year IMA® member who passed away on November 3, 2019, at the age of 71 and who leaves behind a wife, Sue; a large immediate family; and an amazing legacy.
I first worked closely with Jimmie when I became chair of the Member Relations Committee in 2016 and Jimmie took on leadership roles for various chapter, council, and campus initiatives. Jimmie and I discussed many things, including the need to focus on members’ engagement with students. I recall Jimmie’s passion for IMA and his belief that the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) credential could change people’s lives. He recognized the benefits and value of certifications to those who hold them, and he made great personal sacrifices to share that message.
Those sacrifices included taking time during his retirement years to reach out to students in his home state of Texas about IMA, the CMA, and management accounting. Jimmie was the driving force behind the creation of the Campus Influencers program in 2016 and was one of its most active participants as the program enjoyed great success over the past three years. To date, more than 200 members have participated as Campus Influencers, and they’ve reached more than 13,000 students on college campuses across the United States.
Jimmie not only had a heart for students, but also a heart for service. He served on the IMA Global Board of Directors several times and on several subcommittees; he served as president of three IMA chapters as well as the Texas Regional Council; and he was a member of IMA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. IMA recognized Jimmie for his service in 2013 with the Exemplary Volunteer Award and in 2017 with the Distinguished Member Award.
Those who knew him best knew this: Jimmie was a servant leader—someone who stepped up to challenges and volunteered, often when no one else would. He was humble, gracious, and faithful.
Jimmie exemplified something very important: that one member really can bring about significant change. The work of a single individual sharing the message about IMA and the CMA can influence an untold number of lives and careers.
Jimmie will be sorely missed by all those who had the privilege of knowing him, including me, and his contributions to IMA will continue to be felt for many years to come. I encourage all members to aspire to Jimmie’s level of commitment and look for opportunities to give service in ways both big and small.
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