IMA Volunteerism: Problems Are GuidelinesBy
When I look back at founding the CMA® Nanjing Elite Club in 2017, I’m reminded of a quote from author and pastor Robert H. Schuller: “Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.”
I’ve grown to appreciate the problems that have accompanied our club since it was founded. We’ve learned to deal with them, coexist with them, and grow with them.
As I prepared to start the club, there were about 30 CMA (Certified Management Accountant) candidates and CMAs interested in joining. Although IMA’s council and chapter structure is mature and well-known in the United States, such groups are still very new for a professional association in China. It took time, some help from the IMA team in China, and especially the dedication and effort of the volunteers, but eventually the club began to grow.
Now with more than 300 CMAs and CMA candidates, the CMA Nanjing Elite Club is one of the most active clubs in China and a benchmark for new clubs. We pioneered international chapter cooperation, as we forged a sister chapter relationship with IMA’s Switzerland Chapter in 2019 and successfully cohosted a webinar in 2020.
We’re also among the first to relaunch the IMA Student Ambassador Program by nominating five student ambassadors together with the IMA Shanghai office. Every year, our club contributes more than 10 judges for the IMA Student Case Competition in China. CMAs and candidates from our club have written articles for Strategic Finance and cases for the case writing competitions every year.
Yes, there are still obstacles ahead, like how to become more integrated into the global management accounting community, how to help subject-matter experts with management tools, and how to consistently provide value at this difficult time in history. Yet as a result of the past, we’re never intimidated by these challenges. Instead, we look forward to working on them. As we know, they’re part of our journey to the future.
When I look at my own journey, I see the tremendous benefits from volunteering with IMA. I’ve not only grown my professional network, but I’ve helped others grow theirs. For example, I’ve connected younger CMAs and CMA candidates with suitable mentors. And I’ve helped more senior leaders contribute to the profession and IMA by serving as webinar presenters, article writers, or case competition judges.
I’m very happy to see members not only benefit from our local network but also reinforce it themselves by providing value to others. It’s been a pleasure to see my fellow management accounting professionals support each other.
My career has benefited in other ways, too. One unexpected reward of my volunteer service has enhanced my professional career immensely: I found the business partner for my consulting company through volunteering with IMA. For that, and for all of these things, I’ll always be grateful to IMA!