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Putting the Professional in Young Professional

By Benjamin R. Mulling, CMA, CPA.CITP
October 1, 2015

I walked into my first IMA® Global Board of Directors meeting nearly six years ago. I was petrified. It wasn’t until a fellow Board member reached out to me and offered support that I became comfortable in my surroundings. The timing couldn’t have been better because around this same time I was abruptly promoted to CFO at my company during a tumultuous economic period. One thing I desperately needed was as much leadership development as I could get. I not only wanted to learn and develop more in this area, but I needed to because I realized that these skills would be critical to my future success. It was important for me to be mentored by and network with other CFOs, educators, and accounting leaders. And that’s what my IMA Board experience brought me: a way to learn leadership skills at the highest level with tremendously talented professionals and Board members. I will never be able to repay that debt.


I’m proud to serve in and lead an organization that is committed to the development of all its young professionals, not just those who serve as Board members. In February 2015, we had our first Board Leadership Experience for students. They spent a weekend in Dallas, Texas, learning how a board works and networking with IMA Board members. This month in Colorado Springs, Colo., we’re happy to offer that same experience to a group of five outstanding young professionals. Michelson Pierce Kohls, Emily Ryan, Katie Aton-Jackson, Sean Stein Smith, and William Kernan were selected to participate in our first Young Professional Board Leadership Experience, during which they’ll experience board leadership firsthand and learn the inner workings of what makes an organization like IMA excel. They’ll spend one-on-one time with CFOs, controllers, educators, and other executives who serve on our Board. They’ll have the opportunity to sit in on portions of the Board meeting and gain a better understanding of topics such as strategic planning, macro-level thinking, and organizational development. They’ll also get to have a little fun along the way, too. I believe that playing an active part in IMA’s Board process is one of the reasons I’ve been successful in my role of CFO, and I’m sure the insights the participants gain will be valuable to them.


I’m grateful to be part of an organization that helps its younger members in this development process. IMA definitely helps put the Professional in Young Professional.


Please share your thoughts at bmulling@imanet.org.


Benjamin R. Mulling, CMA, CPA.CITP, is managing director of TENTE Casters, Inc. A former IMA Chair, he also is a member of IMA’s Cincinnati North Chapter. You can reach Ben at bmulling@tente.com.
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