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IMA Goes Virtual

By Lori Parks
January 1, 2021

With a long history of offering live events to provide members with learning and networking opportunities, IMA® didn’t want to let the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to that tradition. The association has adapted quickly to transform many in-person events into online opportunities for education and engagement. Here are some of the major virtual events from the final quarter of 2020.

 

THE AMERICAS

 

The virtual IMA Women’s Leadership Summit was held on October 9. More than 500 professionals from across the globe actively participated, many taking part in their first IMA event. Sessions covered topics such as emotional intelligence, sponsorship, career advice, and ethics.

 

The event was kicked off by Tracy Burnett and Tina Mackay, both from IBM, who spoke on emotional intelligence. Next, Tifphani White-King, from Mazars USA LLP, provided her top five tips on sponsorship, and then a panel of accomplished women (Laurie Bergman, UGI Corporation; Sue Hohenleitner, Johnson & Johnson Innovation; and Milly Ikundi, FTI Consulting) shared their advice for current and aspiring leaders. Kelly Richmond Pope, associate professor at DePaul University, concluded the sessions with a fun interactive ethics activity, where participants were challenged to discover “Who stole the money?”

 

IMA virtual events weren’t just for professional members. The virtual 2020 Student Leadership Conference was held on November 13. More than 1,300 registrants from nearly 300 schools around the world attended. Students heard advice on leadership from Fortune 500 CEO David Burritt of U.S. Steel Corporation and UNMUTED CEO Rachel Druckenmiller, plus presentations on technology, employee benefits, and the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification. Students also connected with companies for potential internships and full-time positions, as well as learned about graduate school opportunities and exam preparation offerings at a virtual career expo.

 

Attendees heard a heartfelt video message from Ingrid Zarate Albarran, a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and recipient of the 2020 Stuart Cameron and Margaret McLeod Memorial Scholarship. They also enjoyed a virtual front-row seat for a post-event concert featuring Rose Short, a finalist from season 17 of The Voice.

 

 

EUROPE

 

Amid lockdowns and other challenges, members in Europe had the opportunity to attend two highly anticipated virtual events.

 

Kelly Richmond Pope served as the headliner and featured speaker for “Finding Your Voice: The Important Role of Whistleblowers in Fraud Detection and Prevention,” held on November 12. Approximately 530 members registered for this event: 50% from Europe, 20% from China, 15% from the Middle East and India, 10% from the United States and Canada, and 5% from Southeast Asia.

 

Another speaker was Nathan Mueller, convicted of fraud in 2006 for stealing $8.5 million from the Dutch insurance firm ING. Among other important lessons, he taught attendees the importance of never sharing their passwords with colleagues.

 

On October 15, a Women’s Leadership Summit was hosted for the region, attracting 210 registrations. Themed “Celebrating Roles in Diversity and Inclusion,” the event featured a keynote presentation by Olympic coach and award-winning journalist James Michael Lafferty, who discussed “The Case for Diversity.”

 

There also were presentations from Purnima Mishra, manager of accounting and audit at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and Kristine Kotte-Eriksen, diversity and inclusion program analyst at CERN. The event concluded with a panel discussion on “Building a Strong Me for Building a Stronger Us,” led by Gaya Gamhewage, head of learning and capacity development at the World Health Organization.

 

ASIA PACIFIC

 

IMA hosted its first AsiaPac Conference, held virtually on October 17. Titled “Empowering Finance and Accounting Professionals,” the conference attracted more than 650 participants from 38 countries. Attendees heard presentations from speakers located around the globe, including senior accounting and finance leaders and academic experts from the U.S., Singapore, Philippines, Japan, and Australia.

 

The event began with a keynote presentation by IMA President and CEO Jeff Thomson, who spoke about “The DNA of the Tomorrow CFO” and the complex challenges CFOs face.

 

A panel discussion on “Finance and Accounting: The Challenges and Opportunities Ahead” addressed how COVID-19, geopolitical tensions, and other hot-button issues are impacting business operations and the role of management accountants. Panelists included Trinh Duc Vinh, Vietnam Ministry of Finance; Tony Kam, Cognizant; Angeline Chua, IBM ASEAN; Junko Watanabe, Deloitte Asia Pacific and Deloitte Tohmatsu Japan; and Maria Victoria C. Españo, Punongbayan & Araullo (P&A Grant Thornton).

 

Following the introduction of chapter board members from Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Philippines, and Singapore, Robert Chen, partner at Exec-Comm, discussed “Strategic Storytelling with Data.” Next, Josh Heniro, IMA senior director, Southeast Asia and Australasia, introduced chapter board members from Taipei, Tokyo, Vietnam, and Western Japan, who provided details about their chapters’ upcoming activities. The event concluded with three breakout sessions: “Leveraging Data Analytics to Transform FP&A,” “Educating for Empowerment in Industry 4.0,” and “Strategic Transfer Pricing in Challenging Times.”

 

CHINA

 

While China is emerging from the COVID-19 lockdown and holding in-person events (such as the China Annual Conference in Shanghai on November 20), IMA China conducted the “IMA Digital Forum” on October 22. Nearly 2,000 attendees viewed the event through the live streaming plat­form Qianliao.

 

The forum, themed “Driving Steady Business Growth with Smart Internal Control,” was part of the IMA Management Accounting Master Cloud Lecture Series, launched in February 2020 through a partnership with Shanghai-based Yilin Culture and Yishihui.

 

Featured speakers included Shan Yimeng, finance director of a global sports group; and Yu Zhe, head of internal control of a global brand management group and former director of internal control at Xiaomi Corporation. They discussed the need for companies to explore how to build resilience and be adaptive to maintain steady and sound growth in the post-pandemic period.

 

COMING IN JANUARY

 

IMA’s Virtual Series, themed “Shape Your Tomorrow,” will kick off on January 14, 2021. The agenda includes a CFO’s view of future trends, a panel discussion on diversity and inclusion, an interactive session on leadership and innovation, and a virtual networking forum. The event is free for members, but registration (bit.ly/3pXo8V9) is required.

 

Lori Parks is a staff writer/editor at IMA. You can reach her at (201) 474-1536 or lori.parks@imanet.org.  
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