Our IMA® community is built on strong connections, and, as an organization, we have risen together to respond to the devastating events of the last six months. As we enter fiscal 2020-2021, I’m more appreciative than ever of the ways IMA has demonstrated a commitment to our core values.
In the United States, the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks have brought us to a watershed moment. It’s time for action. We must eliminate all forms of systemic bias and social injustice. IMA is redoubling our focus on diversity and inclusion, foundational to our global community. Our D&I Committee has been a source of leadership in this area, producing a D&I tool kit for those interested in learning more about how to implement a D&I initiative in their own organization (bit.ly/37xdFXV). I hope I speak for everyone when I say that the IMA community—and the accounting and finance profession as a whole—must do our part to listen, learn, and recognize the sense of urgency and need for change.
Simultaneously, the global COVID-19 pandemic has shut down entire economies, caused record unemployment, necessitated the hospitalization of hundreds of thousands of people, and so far resulted in the deaths of more than 430,000 people worldwide. The magnitude of this event can’t be understated.
From the beginning, IMA addressed the COVID-19 outbreak with a philosophy rooted in “compassion over commercialism.” The health and safety of IMA staff and their families, the community of professionals we serve, and society at large were top of mind, guided by the idea that people come first.
In response to the pandemic, we at IMA made adjustments to accommodate our staff working remotely. We also anticipated that many members would also be finding themselves in a similar situation. So, to make it easier for members to learn new skills and network with the larger IMA community, we provided free access to continuing education courses through June, demonstrating empathy and compassion in a pandemic impacting lives and livelihoods. We also expanded the amount of free educational products available to members year-round.
In addition, we quickly moved to support our chapters and councils when they had to cancel in-person events or move them to virtual platforms. The spirit of inclusivity was very much in evidence, as the IMA chapter and council network has held more than 50 virtual events, some of which were attended by members from all over the world.
As management accountants, we play an essential role in navigating our organizations through the new normal of COVID-19. And it’s equally incumbent upon us to call out unacceptable behavior and take courageous actions for change. As IMA members, we all stand tall for courage, care, and conviction of purpose during these tragic and challenging times. We are indeed stronger together.