While nothing I have done or will ever do will come close to what this courageous young woman did, this quote reminds me that I must do whatever I can to help others.
I began volunteering many years ago when my son was in sixth grade. I went to one of his track practices and quickly recognized that his coach, while exceptional, wasn’t gifted in coaching sprinting, which my son did at the time. I decided to train my son on the mechanics of sprinting every Sunday. His coach noticed the improvement, and the next thing I knew, I was asked to be the volunteer sprint coach for the junior varsity track team. I continued volunteering as a sprint coach through my son’s middle school years. During high school, he picked up soccer, and I then became the volunteer coach for the defenders.
I didn’t start volunteering with IMA® until about 10 years ago. I became a Campus Advocate when my students showed an interest in learning more about the organization. In this role, I’ve encouraged many students to pursue the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification and become IMA student members.
In 2014, I was able to encourage our students to create an IMA student chapter, which has helped many students by bringing in local professionals to assist with preparing them for the “real world.” Each semester our student chapter’s executive board invites business professionals from the Tampa Bay community to speak. These meetings have provided valuable information and opportunities for the entire university. Additionally, many of our students have been hired for internships and full-time jobs because of the efforts of our student chapter.
My only regret is that I didn’t take the opportunity to serve as a Campus Advocate much earlier in my career. I can see the tremendous impact IMA has had on me, my students, and the Saint Leo University community. For example, one of the highlights of every year is attending the IMA Student Leadership Conference with a group of students. These conferences have always been an inspiration to my students and me. We return to campus with more ideas to help others as well as information about internships, job opportunities, and graduate programs.
I look forward to continuing to serve both my students and IMA as a Campus Advocate for as long as I’m a faculty member. And after retiring from teaching, I’m confident IMA will continue to provide me opportunities to volunteer.