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The Final Stretch

By J. Stephen McNally, CMA, CPA
June 1, 2022

During a competitive boat race, the final stretch is intense. By the end, you’re hyperfocused on each stroke while trying to ignore the pain.

 

Upon crossing the finish line, adrenaline pumping, the team lets out a collective sigh of relief. Back in the boathouse, the coach offers a few remarks, followed by a team debrief, and then it’s time to prepare for the next event. When race day ends, the celebration begins.

 

Reflecting on my time as IMA® Chair, I’m extremely proud of the IMA community. We began the year coming out of the pandemic. We’ve been facing its lingering effects along with the Great Resignation, a war in Ukraine, and other macroeconomic challenges. Amid these headwinds, you’ve shown great resilience, innovation, problem-solving skills, and resolve.

 

For example, I’m amazed at how quickly IMA’s local volunteer leaders adapted, developing high-quality virtual programming. Their agility and creativity allowed me to “visit” members across the globe, sometimes on the same day. My preference, though, is to be there in person, so I’m thankful many started hosting live events again, including the Heartland Council and Tulsa Chapter conferences last fall (my first travel in a year and a half).

 

I’m in awe of IMA’s incredible thought leadership. From sustainability; digital transformation; diversity, equity, and inclusion; risk management; and preparing for the future of work to targeted support for the small business community (check out the recently released Thriving Amidst Challenges: A Guide to Small Business Resilience), IMA is on the cutting edge.

 

I’m also encouraged by the work of the IMA Global Board of Directors’ new Global Markets Committee and the new regional advisory committees in China, India, and the Middle East. They’re ensuring that the voices of our approximately 140,000 members in more than 150 countries are heard. And I know Gwen van Berne, IMA’s first Chair from outside the United States, will enhance the Board’s discussions with her global perspective.

 

In late 2021, I met with the members of IMA’s Istanbul Chapter, and we discussed how the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) can benefit careers and change lives as the “global passport for business.” It’s an honor to have been part of recognizing the 100,000th CMA last fall and to celebrate the CMA program’s 50th anniversary in this issue. And those aren’t the only milestones we’ve celebrated this year! Congratulations to the Boston and Hartford Chapters for celebrating their 100th anniversaries this spring and to Al Ain University for being the 100th university endorsed through the IMA Higher Education Endorsement Program.

 

I’m in the final stretch of my term as IMA Chair. The experience has been intense, with days hyperfocused on what had to be done. I’m looking forward to catching my breath. That said, it’s been pure joy serving you and our great profession. I’ll always cherish the new friendships and memories made this year. And I’ll always be thankful to Gwen, Paul Juras, Jeff Thomson, and all of IMA’s other volunteer leaders and staff for their support.

 

Thank you for the honor of a lifetime, allowing me to be your Chair and for sharing your stories with me along the way. And best wishes as you continue to “earn your seat”!

 

J. Stephen McNally, CMA, CPA, is CFO of Plastic Technologies Inc. (PTI) Group of Companies and Chair of the IMA Global Board of Directors. He’s also a member of IMA’s Toledo Chapter. Contact Steve at steve.mcnally@imanet.org, or follow him on LinkedIn.
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