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IMA Life: Service Minded

By Katherine Clark, CMA
September 1, 2020
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While attending Indiana University Southeast as an undergraduate, I discovered my passion for both accounting and international travel.

 

I jumped at every opportunity to take courses that included “field trips” abroad. That led me to spending a month in Ecuador teaching students the importance of self-confidence, two weeks building a school in Honduras, a week in the Dominican Republic making and distributing water filters, as well as spending time on the Amazon River and in Costa Rica for different classes.

 

In between these amazing experiences, I also took accounting courses, including some taught by Lisa Book, now a member of the IMA®Global Board of Directors. I was immediately impressed by Lisa’s teaching techniques, professionalism, and strong ethics. Her enthusiasm for accounting and IMA is contagious. She became a role model for me, playing an integral part in my education.

 

Shortly after graduating in 2015 with a dual concentration in accounting and international business, plus a minor in Spanish, I found a way to combine my interests in accounting, international travel, and—eventually—service: I began working in Guatemala for a nonprofit called Casas por Cristo. Three years later, I moved to our Nicaragua location.

 

We partner with locals to host short-term mission trips, and in one week a group will build a home for a family in need from start to finish. My finance role varies from reconciling multiple bank accounts abroad, budget meetings, board reports, supervising an intern, and working closely with our auditors to getting on my hands and knees and finishing a concrete slab that a family will soon be living on.

 

In 2019, I earned my CMA®(Certified Management Accountant), thanks to a CMA scholarship that allowed me to prepare for and take the CMA exam at no cost and for which Lisa had nominated me while I was a student. I knew that I wanted to pursue this certification because of its global recognition—especially because my “home base” will likely continue to transition throughout my career.

 

Since in-person networking and professional conferences are difficult for me given my job and location, I’ve sought out other ways to keep connected and informed. That’s why when I became a CMA, I was most excited to begin acquiring continuing professional education (CPE). Three IMA webinar series—Inside Talk, the IMA Leadership Academy (IMALA), and the Strategic Management Series—are my favorite ways to gain CPE credits.

 

In fact, I was a proud attendee when Lisa spoke about “Mentoring­–The IMA Way”  for the IMALA series in January 2020. I love the ability to continue my education by attending these events and the opportunity to speak with attendees around the world in the chat rooms.

 

If my experience has taught me anything, it’s this: I believe as humans we’re meant to serve others. No matter where you’re physically located, everyone has the opportunity to serve someone, to make a difference, to encourage, to empower, and to be kind—every single day. I hope that my work, and my being a member of IMA and a CMA, will continue to help me to do that.

 

Katherine Clark, CMA, works for Casas por Cristo in Nicaragua and is an IMA member. She can be reached at katherine.l.clark@outlook.com.
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