Next-Level Leaders

By Paul E. Juras, Ph.D., CMA, CPA
December 1, 2020

November 2020 marked yet another IMA® milestone: The Student Leadership Conference (SLC) was conducted virtually for the first time. Naturally, this made for a different experience. One great benefit of offering the event virtually was that students and faculty who may never have been able to attend the SLC in person due to travel costs or time away from the classroom were able to join us. This year’s SLC attracted more than 1,300 registrants, and in addition to the informative sessions on leadership and career success in the Digital Age, everyone who attended was given a front-row seat to an exclusive virtual concert featuring Rose Short, a finalist on season 17 of NBC’s The Voice!


Even with the virtual SLC, one thing that hasn’t changed is IMA’s commitment to students and the faculty who support them. Attendees heard from industry experts such as David Burritt, president and CEO of U.S. Steel Corporation, and Rachel Druckenmiller, founder and CEO of UNMUTED. They connected with well-known companies and learned more about future career and educational opportunities at the career expo. And, just like the in-person SLC experience, students had a chance to kick back and enjoy themselves. Everyone even made time for the popular T-shirt design competition.


During the virtual networking and social media postings, I learned from the students just what an impact the SLC seems to have and how much they appreciated this opportunity. I know that they’re all better off for investing in themselves by taking the time to attend. They’re also IMA trailblazers for participating in this virtual conference.


I thank the professors who take the time, often year after year, to encourage their students to attend the SLC and who strive to reinforce and build the reputation of our organization. By drawing attention to opportunities like the SLC, these faculty members can leave a lasting impact on the lives of their students.


Of course, none of this would have been possible if not for the amazing IMA staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes to help ensure flawless execution of the event. It’s also a great pleasure to see their joy from seeing how their work positively impacts students.


Speaking of impact, I want to give special recognition to Ingrid Zarate Albarran, the winner of this year’s Stuart Cameron McLeod Society scholarship. Her story is powerful and inspiring (check out the video she shared at the SLC at bit.ly/3ePOsLY). With ambitious, driven students like Ingrid, I’m confident that the future of our profession is in good hands.


This was IMA’s 21st SLC, and it’s an example of IMA’s continuing commitment to share resources with students and to expose them to opportunities that will help take them to the next level. I welcome your comments on this or any other topic at paul.juras@imanet.org.


Paul E. Juras, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, is the Jefferson Vander Wolk Chair of Management Accounting and Operational Performance at Babson College and Chair of the IMA Global Board of Directors. Follow him on LinkedIn, or Twitter @pauljuras.
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