One of my hobbies is running races, particularly marathons, and those 26.2 miles (you can’t forget the .2) are among the toughest to run. During a race, you face many different challenges—both those you can control, like physical and mental ­exhaustion, and those you can’t, like the weather. Despite these challenges, one thing remains constant—fan support along the way. From the first mile to the last few yards, fans are stationed along the sidelines, pushing the runners forward step-by-step. They cheer for you, hold up signs for you, hand you drinks and food, give you wet towels, and even spray you down with water later in the race when you’re hot and tired. The person who hands me an orange or a banana at mile 17 is always a huge pick-me-up. Even if I didn’t need what someone was offering at that moment, just knowing that this support is there throughout the race in case I do need it provides huge encouragement because I will need that support at various other points.

I liken running marathons to a career journey. Throughout your career, you need different kinds of support to help you progress, and you need things at different times. IMA is like those fans supporting you along the way, providing assistance such as:

* Student chapters and the Student Leadership Conference for student members;

* Leadership Academy for soft skills and ­leadership development;

* CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) ­certification for technical skills;

* Annual Conference & Expo and local chapters for networking;

* Courses, webinars, and publications for continuing education; and

* Thought leadership and advocacy for the management accounting profession.

As an IMA member, you can take advantage of these benefits as you progress along your career pathway. Equally important, you can choose which ones you need and when, just like during a marathon. Regardless of where you are in the marathon of your career, IMA can support, educate, and encourage you whenever possible. There’s something here at every point of your journey to help you reach your own personal finish line.

I hope that, as IMA Chair, I can be like one of those spectators cheering me on in a marathon—that I can play a small part in helping you reach your milestones.

I welcome your comments at

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