Knowing that management accounting was my passion and that I wasn’t going into public accounting, I researched IMA and knew instantly that IMA membership fit my career path the best. So I joined, and since then I’ve made it my mission to educate others about IMA and the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification.

After graduating with my MBA, I started my career in the rail industry working for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway as a conductor. I took the opportunity to learn everything I could about the operations and logistics of the organization before relocating to the corporate headquarters as an internal auditor.

While at BNSF, I used my professional development money to attend the IMA Annual Conferences, which offered presentations on a wide variety of topics delivered by individuals with diverse backgrounds. The networking also was invaluable. But more than knowledge and contacts, I left every Conference with a renewed appreciation for management accounting and our role in the accounting profession.

When I left BNSF and went to work in the Department of Accounting and Economics as an accounting instructor at my alma mater while pursuing my doctorate of business management (DBA), I made it a point to educate students about the CMA as vigorously as I did other certifications. Serving as the faculty advocate for CSC’s IMA Student Chapter, I felt it was important for students to understand how IMA membership and CMA certification could advance their careers.

After attaining all but dissertation (ABD) status, I went back to the rail industry, first with Alstom Train Life Services as a project controller and finally as the international controller with Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. (EMD). Within each organization, I used the skills I gained from my years as an IMA member to improve systems, create first-time processes, enhance cost controls, and recognize opportunities to optimize performance.

In 2009, I returned to education. While employed by Franklin University, I served as the director of student relations for IMA’s Columbus Chapter and then resigned from the University and Chapter in 2017. Currently, I’m a professor at Curry College in Milton, Mass., where I teach accounting and operations management and can be heard stressing the benefits of IMA membership, CMA certification, and Student Leadership Conference attendance.

I attended the Student Leadership Conference in St. Louis, Mo., in 2009 and look forward to returning this year with a new group of IMA student members to foster into the IMA family. It has been an amazing 25 years as an IMA member, and I look forward to the next 25.

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