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IMA Volunteerism: IMA Is About People

By Jay Jong-Moon Choi, CMA, CPA
May 1, 2020
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I wasn’t always a passionate IMA®volunteer. After belonging to IMA for several years as a member, my passion for serving was ignited when I helped to restart the Korea Chapter with fellow IMA member Rob Mars.

 

That effort was an incredible experience. Serving in the Korea Chapter has helped me become a more well-rounded professional and taught me how to better interact with younger professionals.

 

It also gave me the opportunity to help young professionals navigate their careers and achieve their desired goals. Social media and mobile devices have created a generation that’s better connected than ever before. Yet having greater access to helpful resources and powerful tools is one thing—being able to successfully navigate the complex business world is another.

 

Among younger professionals, there’s a tendency to develop specific and time-concise career goals, like “I will be a controller in five years and a CFO in 15.” As an experienced professional, however, I understood how rigid goals like these can be difficult to achieve, and I was able to share my experiences and expertise to help younger members progress toward their goal or recognize other possibilities for success.

 

Such experiences made me an enthusiastic advocate of IMA and led me to higher engagement both with the organization as well as my own career. It inspired me to develop my leadership skills further and gain knowledge in the business field beyond my defined and routine 9-to-5 schedule.

 

If my experience has taught me anything, it’s that IMA is made up of a legion of volunteers—professionals just like you and me—and there are many ways to get involved. Perhaps, like I do, you live outside of the United States. I encourage you to join your local chapter (that’s also true if you live in the U.S.) and also consider other volunteer activities.

 

Explore the well-developed IMA Leadership Academy (IMALA), Faculty Committee, or IMALA Mentoring Program Committee. Time zone differences and geographical distance are minor hurdles to overcome, and you’ll be well-supported by IMA’s highly qualified staff and other committed volunteers.

 

My own experience shows how you can move from local volunteering to leadership at a more global level. Not long after helping to restart the Korea Chapter, I was asked to serve on the IMA Global Board of Directors. In this role, I had the fantastic opportunity to serve on the Nominating Committee for 2019-2020.

 

IMA has provided me with numerous opportunities to interact with people from all around the world and from many different cultures. I hadn’t expected as much when I first joined the board and my local chapter, but over the course of my volunteering activities, I’ve received encouragement, compassion, and motivation. I’ve also made great friends. IMA is all about people. And by volunteering, you, too, can make a difference—for others as well as yourself.

 

Jay Jong-Moon Choi, CMA, CPA, is CEO of Cheong Ju Limestone Inc. in Korea and a committee member for the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC). He also is a member of the IMA Global Board of Directors and IMA’s Korea Chapter. You can reach Jay at choicpacma@gmail.com.  
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