My passion is basketball. I come from a family of basketball coaches, referees, and players, and I guess it’s fair to say it was in my blood. And I happened to be pretty good at it. I turned pro at the age of 16. When I was 17, my contract was purchased by a team in Italy, and I moved there to pursue my dream to play on a professional team.   As someone who became a professional athlete so early in life, most of what I know about the world were lessons I learned from sports. And it’s interesting how the values of sports align closely with those of accounting and finance. Here are some examples.

Teamwork. The most effective teamwork happens when individual team members harmonize their efforts and work toward a common goal. Caring about members of the team and the community is a shared value, along with integrity and trust.

Practice makes…better. Perfection doesn’t exist in any profession. This is where continuous learning plays an important role in personal development and motivation. As a professional athlete, I honed my skills to the best of my ability, devoting innumerable hours to improving my technique and physical conditioning. I’ve always been an eager learner, and it’s gratifying to apply this same attitude toward my work in accounting and finance. I’m also happy to be surrounded by professionals who share this value and encourage each other to do better every day.

Sometimes you lose—and that’s okay. Success and winning aren’t guaranteed, and losses are learning experiences to build upon. On the basketball court and in my financial career, I’ve always tried to take failures and turn them into new opportunities.   I discovered finance and management accounting while pursuing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Bergamo in Italy. I loved these subjects, and, although I continued playing basketball, I eventually decided to leave my job as a pro athlete to explore several business internships. Years later, after I had earned my master’s degree and was working as a financial analyst at HP, I heard about the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant). I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself with a professional certification. I did extensive research on the global certifications available, and I chose the CMA because of its broad scope and focus on key skills in the profession. I earned my CMA in 2020.   And my journey continues. Recently, I was one of five participants selected for the IMA® Young Professional Leadership Experience. As part of the program, we had the incredible opportunity to attend the IMA Global Board of Directors meeting and visit IMA’s global headquarters in New Jersey in October 2022. This was a truly inspiring experience. Seeing IMA leaders in action and hearing the relevant topics discussed was motivating and insightful. It was a great networking opportunity to meet so many IMA leaders at once, and I’m excited to see what my IMA future holds.

About the Authors