A Life of Service

By Alex C. Eng, CMA, CFM, CPA
October 1, 2017

As we ride steadily back into the routine of the fall season (see my previous column), many of us are also faced with the daunting task of planning for that last quarter of the year: school events, holiday parties, expensive travel, and, of course, end-of-year financial reporting. Remembering how we usually feel when it’s all over and we turn the page to a new year, most of us leave with lessons learned, sometimes saying to ourselves, “If only it were more about others.”


It can be, and it should be. The famous quote in the inaugural speech delivered by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country,” delivers a challenge to live a life of service and to be role models demonstrating the impact civic action can have: individually, to benefit one person at a time, and collectively, to change generations. I will venture to say it isn’t mass media, social media, or even political media that define who we are as citizens—it’s in untold stories of heroism in times of natural disaster, volunteerism at a local nonprofit, or even in such small acts as my three-year-old deciding to hold the door open for the seniors walking in after him.


Studies reveal that fewer than half of Americans volunteer, and that number decreases as you move around the globe. To my readers, giving back needs no boundaries, nor does it need a specific look and feel. In fact, as your Chair, I want to share with you both the personal and professional benefits of giving back through our own finance and accounting profession with volunteer service to the IMA Global Board of Directors. I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to serve alongside some of our profession’s finest, leading our Board to partner with a staff team led by CEO Jeff Thomson to serve our members by:


  1. Continuing to build the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program on a global level,


  1. Driving member retention and value in what IMA offers members,


  1. Raising awareness of the needs of our young professionals and students, and


  1. Mastering technology that will impact each of us in our profession.


If you’re a senior-level professional with prior volunteer experience at IMA or another organization, I encourage you to consider serving on the IMA Board. Nominations are open through October 13, so volunteer yourself or nominate someone else. To learn more, visit the Call for Nominations page on the IMA website (http://bit.ly/2wxZ0wc).


As we approach and plan for the end of the year, I urge you to continue to seek opportunities to serve others—in your community, in the world, and perhaps even outside your comfort zone. I know you’ll be glad that you did.


I welcome your comments at aeng@imanet.org.


Alex C. Eng, CMA, CFM, CPA, Esq., is Chair of the IMA Global Board of Directors and vice president, U.S. Corporate Finance at EDF Renewable Energy.
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