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IMA Volunteerism: Expanding My Potential

By Stella Lu, CMA, ACCA
January 1, 2021
1 comments

My IMA® journey started in Shanghai in 2009, only a few years after IMA had entered the China market. At the time, there weren’t any local chapters or elite clubs in China, so networking among members didn’t happen very often.

 

After moving to Hong Kong, I participated in my first in-person IMA event in 2014 and heard a talk by Ben Mulling, who was Chair-Elect of the IMA Global Board of Directors at the time. During this event, I met new friends and began networking with other local finance professionals and IMA members. This was an important step for me because it got me involved in local activities and introduced me to the accounting and finance professional community in Hong Kong.

 

By 2017, IMA had grown to more than 100,000 members and 300 chapters globally and was interested in starting a chapter in Hong Kong. Several interested members were identified, including myself, and we worked together with the support of IMA staff in China and the United States to set up the IMA Hong Kong Chapter in 2018.

 

As the chapter’s founding president, I worked with other volunteers to organize professional events in Hong Kong, which also attracted attendees from South China. These events provided great opportunities to meet more financial professionals locally and expand my network in the region. I gained valuable leadership experience and learned new skills, including people management as well as project and event planning for a diverse organization.

 

More recently, I started serving as a member of the IMA Global Board in 2019. It has provided me with an opportunity to focus on strategic thinking and decision making, not only giving me an insider’s perspective on IMA operations but also preparing me for the future challenges in my career as a business-oriented manager.

 

My experiences volunteering with IMA have also helped in other, unexpected ways. Like the rest of the world, the multinational company where I work was impacted significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual communication, for instance, has become the most common way to conduct our daily work. My experience participating in virtual IMA Global Board meetings and committee meetings had already helped me get used to these new digital communication tools. Thanks to my experience as an IMA volunteer, my virtual interactions and communications with work colleagues from around the world have been quite smooth and effective.

 

Working as a volunteer with IMA has added value to my management experience, introduced me to new experiences and people, and better prepared me for future career development. I so appreciate the volunteering opportunities provided by IMA and will continue to participate as a volunteer. I believe you, too, can find and build your own potential and boost your future career possibilities by serving with IMA.

 

Stella Lu, CMA, ACCA, is finance controlling manager at SUEZ Asia. She’s also a member of the IMA Global Board of Directors and IMA’s Hong Kong Chapter. You can reach Stella at stellaluping@gmail.com.
1 + Show Comments

1 comment.
    Nina Michelskim, CMA, CSCA January 5, 2021 AT 12:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experiences in volunteerism, Stella. Looking forward to continued collaboration together on IMA AsiaPac initiatives. Kind regards, Nina

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