IMA Life: Adding to My Tool BeltBy
Having been a member of IMA® and a CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) for approximately two decades, I’ve enjoyed a unique and rewarding career path.
I became a CMA after earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA because I wanted third-party confirmation of my contemporary and relevant management accounting skills. At the time, I was a staff accountant in the private division of a public company, and I needed to demonstrate I had the skills to operate in that environment. Eventually, I was promoted to controller and then CFO of the division. The CMA helped me directly and indirectly every day on that career path. It added to my tool belt for budgeting, forecasting, IT and information services, accounting systems, payroll, billing, and all of the critical back-office functions.
My accounting and CMA background soon opened doors to the executive suite, as I was eventually promoted to the organization’s senior leadership team, first as a member of the board of directors and then with an ownership position. A few years later, I was tapped to run an operation of 1,000 employees in the field, and I moved to New Orleans to lead the effort. Upon my return less than a year later, I was promoted to chief operating officer (COO). The board told me my ability to talk to people effectively, run operations smartly, and manage a budget seamlessly were unique and warranted this promotion. Several years later, I was promoted to CEO. A public company at the time, we were spun off to a private equity firm and, a few years later, sold again. I stayed on as CEO of the subsidiary and COO of the new parent company, where I remain today.
My work as a staff accountant and then CFO, COO, and CEO has involved me in a lot of financial and business areas. Over the years, my IMA membership and CMA have equipped me with knowledge to stay relevant and have proven helpful in hundreds of situations that I might otherwise have been unprepared for. Whether it’s a one-on-one staff meeting, board meeting, or fundraising initiative, I value the skills I’ve learned through continuing professional education, publications like Strategic Finance, research reports, webinars, and all the many resources I enjoy as an IMA member and a CMA. Continuous learning is an active endeavor, and even with 27 years in this financial game, I’m still learning every day.
Further, my experiences, education, and CMA designation also gave me the confidence and foundation to open my own business. I’ve been the owner and operator of a small business in South Florida for the past 17 years. We lease and finance helicopters primarily used for training pilots, executive transport, coverage of sporting events, real estate showings, and numerous charity functions. We dried baseball fields with our rotor wash for championship games, flew returning soldiers to surprise their kids at football games, and performed lots of golf ball drops around the county. Whether as an executive, business owner, equity owner, or board member, I’ve seen firsthand how IMA and the CMA is a combination that equips us as aspiring business leaders for success.