This professional experience has afforded my family the opportunity to live in France, Switzerland, Italy, and the United States, and it has enabled me to meet wonderful people in China, India, Canada, and many other countries. Now IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) is providing more benefits.

I first heard about IMA in 2014 from a colleague who was preparing for the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exam. It immediately caught my attention, and I asked him to lend me the books he was working with. This program seemed to support the next steps in my own professional development—a means to refresh my controlling knowledge.

It wasn’t always easy to find the time to study, but I was motivated by the knowledge that the curriculum directly informed the challenges a controller must face on a daily basis. I passed Part 1 in May and Part 2 in September of the same year, and I was proud to receive my CMA certification by the end of that year.

Until I became a CMA, I hadn’t really appreciated everything that IMA could offer me. I didn’t yet know that the best was still to come! I became a regular reader of Strategic Finance, which always features several articles that inspire me to grow in my job. I also savored the opportunity to explore my options for obtaining the 30 continuing professional education (CPE) credits required every year to keep my CMA; I decided to buy one of the packages offered on the IMA website.

At first, I felt constrained by the pressure to keep up my education, but I quickly discovered what a great opportunity it was to further extend my knowledge in many directions: team management, governance, information ­systems, integrated reporting, and so much more. In 2015, I finished my 30 hours at year’s end, but in 2016, I was done by mid-July!

IMA has connected me to an amazing community of women and men deeply involved in the same professional adventure that I’ve undertaken. Among these people, I would like to highlight the inspiring role played by 2015-2016 IMA Chair Ben Mulling. I had the privilege to meet him when he came to Zurich in October 2015, and his conference “Fast Track to CFO” was a source of essential advice on using technology and analytics to improve decision making.

I have many next steps on my list, including exploring CareerDriver® and getting involved with an IMA committee. Joining IMA and becoming a CMA enlarged the vision I have of my field and of my job, and I warmly encourage all Strategic Finance readers to explore all the opportunities IMA has to offer!

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