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IMA Life: Reinventing Myself

By Carlos M. Chavez
November 1, 2016

For the majority of my professional career, I had never heard of IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants). I had worked for several Fortune 500 companies, assuming increasing job responsibilities in management and information technology. I was provided the opportunity to travel all over the world to manage leading-edge project initiatives. I would eventually get promoted to vice president of operations at National City Bank. I thought that my career path was set.


But in 2004, a life-changing event would set my career path in an entirely different direction than I had ever envisioned. As a result of corporate downsizing, I was suddenly without a job. On the advice of my family, I made a decision to go back to school and earn a master’s degree in accounting. Within two years of graduation, I would go on to start my own tax and accounting practice.


During my studies at the University of Akron, I took a class with professor of cost accounting Il-Woon Kim. He introduced me to IMA and encouraged me to get involved with my local chapter. I attended my first chapter meeting and immediately got hooked on IMA. I became a member of the Cleveland East Chapter and was invited to serve on the board.


Within three years, I would serve two terms as chapter president. One of my proudest accomplishments was to lead the Cleveland East Chapter to a first-place finish in the Warner Division, the first time in our history. I am also proud that I have been able to help our chapter win a number of awards from IMA for the implementation of a new chapter website. It has been even more rewarding to be able to share our best practices and help other chapters and regional councils implement their new websites.


I would go on to be named president of the Ohio Regional Council in 2013-2014. I am currently serving my first term on the IMA Global Board of Directors and have been fortunate to serve on several committees and witness firsthand how IMA functions as a global organization. As an adjunct instructor of accounting, I have recognized how important it is to engage students in the classroom about the importance of IMA and the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification. I firmly believe that students represent the future and sustainability of IMA and that we as members need to do as much as we can to engage them early in their careers.


My father, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico, had to reinvent himself many times throughout his life before eventually becoming a respected physician and then running his own medical practice for more than 20 years. He impressed upon me early on that things happen in life for a reason. I credit my IMA leadership roles, training, and education with making me a more effective business owner.


I would tell all members to never stop learning and to take full advantage of the benefits IMA has to offer. You never know when the opportunity will come when you may have to reinvent yourself.


Carlos M. Chavez is president of Chavez and Associates, LLC; an adjunct instructor of accounting at Bryant & Stratton College; and a member of IMA’s Cleveland East Chapter. You can reach him at cchavez58@chavez-associates.com.  
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