IMA Life: Thank You, IMA!By
I joined the IMA® staff in 1972, the year the first CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exam was given. It was the start of a new life for me and an expanded path for IMA (which was NAA, or National Association of Accountants, then).
At the time, NAA was best known for its research program and books, its education courses, and Management Accounting magazine. It also had excellent participation from its members in chapters and councils. The association was excited about the launch of the CMA certification because it would mean those who earned it could have a credential that would demonstrate their expertise in management accounting. I felt honored to join the publications staff as associate editor. It was my first job out of school and my first time in New York City. I was hooked the minute my feet touched the sidewalks of Manhattan.
The entire NAA staff was very welcoming, and departments worked together well. My two immediate bosses, Erwin S. “Speed” Koval (he used a Speed Graphic camera to take photographs) and Bob Randall, were professional journalists and editors who expected the best work possible from everyone in the department. I felt comfortable with that as I had just come from journalism school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, which published the town’s morning newspaper.
I’ve worked in publications my entire career at IMA, which has been an adventure. From editing books and newsletters to writing and editing magazine articles, the best part (in addition to being on a great magazine staff that always tries to produce the best product) has been working with and getting to know as many IMA members as possible. You never cease to amaze me with your dedication, hard work, professionalism, warmth, desire to do things right, and determination to make IMA the best organization possible. I cherish the lifelong friends I’ve made.
One of my favorite roles was being on the team that produced a Conference Daily News at the Annual Conference. Our first one was in Detroit, Mich., in 1974, and we continued for about 30 years. Each day for three days, we attended various events, wrote about them, and took as many photos of speakers, members, and families as possible. Some members even became reporters and wrote articles with us on site. We put each issue together at a printer, usually finishing around 11 p.m. Copies were printed overnight and delivered to the hotel by 7 a.m. Members used to wait for their copies and read them immediately. Today, of course, with smartphones, video, selfies, social media, and digital everything, live updates can happen in real time.
Other special aspects of the job have been helping interview CEOs and leaders of the profession, then writing articles about them; profiling IMA Chairs; attending trade shows with our ad reps during the software boom to learn about accounting software for IMA members and help explain to vendors the work of management accountants and why they were the right audience; and being part of our exhibit booth.
IMA has had its share of ups and downs, but it’s in a great place now. It has fulfilled many of the dreams of its founders and other leaders along the way and seems to be on a steady path of success. I feel privileged to have been here my whole career. Thank you for letting me stay.