IMA 100 Years: Chapters Are a Powerful AssetBy
After graduating from the University of Scranton in May 1975 with a degree in accounting, I was looking for contacts and employment. As luck would have it, my local newspaper contained an announcement for an IMA® chapter meeting in a nearby town. That evening I attended a meeting of IMA’s Binghamton Chapter, which I soon joined, thus starting my lengthy IMA service.
But I didn’t start my career in Binghamton. Instead, my first job was director of accounting for the Delaware Chapter of the American Red Cross (where I was the only money-related person on staff). Soon I reached out to IMA’s Delaware Chapter and was promptly asked to be its newsletter director. This offered me a good opportunity to meet chapter board members and reach out to other chapter members. I was also active in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council.
A few years later, I relocated to Connecticut, where I joined the local IMA Norwich Chapter and became its meetings director. This gave me a chance to contribute to the chapter while gaining perspective about the roles of board members and those responsible for a single chapter function. I even attended my first IMA Annual Conference in the late 1970s and was inspired by the breadth and quality of the presentations. All of these IMA experiences tied in well with my career direction, which led me to spend 32 years in various roles with the U.S. Department of Defense.
My professional career had always focused on independent audit oversight of commercial enterprises. For that reason, the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) designation was the threshold credential for my career growth. Later I decided to earn the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification as I had come to see, through my extensive involvement with IMA, how the information relevant to the certification benefits anyone seeking a value-added career in the profession. The real benefits of the certification come in how it makes each individual better and provides a level of discernment that not everyone has. After earning my CMA, I also served a few years on the Examination Review Committee of ICMA® (Institute of Certified Management Accountants).
Over the course of my 43-year career, I’ve served IMA in numerous other ways, including three two-year terms on the Global Board of Directors and as chapter president four times (one each at the Binghamton and Orange County chapters and twice at the Nation’s Capital Chapter). I also helped found the Inland Empire Chapter and a student chapter affiliated with the University of Maryland Global Campus, where I now teach as an adjunct associate professor and where I’m able to inspire students to pursue their CMA.
I’m grateful for having found a professional accounting organization that has both a chapter and regional organization structure. IMA certainly has a technical role in the profession, with enough latitude to facilitate sharing among local colleagues and to benefit others emerging in their careers. May this continue for the next 100 years.