I don’t recall the association ever being in a better place. IMA is financially sound, gaining a global presence, growing its membership, certifying a record number of members as a CMA® (Certified Management Accountant), and the list goes on.

I’ve been an IMA member for almost 47 years. I joined after graduate school and securing a position as a college professor teaching accounting. One of the first things I did to establish a solid accounting program was to join the local IMA chapter and encourage my students to attend chapter meetings. After several years, I moved on to work for John Deere, and during my 35-year career with that company, I continued to be active in IMA.

Doing IMA work seemed to be the direction I followed over the years. I didn’t need something to do, but I found volunteer service interesting and rewarding. I’ve served as chapter president, regional council president, Global Board of Directors member (several terms), IMA National Vice President (under the prior organizational structure), president of the Stuart Cameron McLeod Society (SCMS), and member of the Regional Operations Committee, Education Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Nominating Committee, Annual Conference Program Committee, IMA’s 100-Year Anniversary Committee, and, currently, the IMA Committee on Ethics. Along the way, I’ve attended 35 Annual Conferences.

Two things stand out for me that I want to share with other members:

First, and perhaps most important, get engaged via volunteering whether it’s on a project or a board or other leadership position. Why? Because it comes with training—in skills like leadership, organization, time management, communications—and at no risk to your “day job” and career opportunities. That “no risk” element is significant: You can grow your skills, including motivating volunteer professionals, in a situation where you have no leverage. You aren’t their boss, but you must motivate them to get a job done. That’s a great, no-downside, training opportunity!

Second, I’m thankful for my IMA membership, not just because of the certificate on my wall and the opportunities I’ve enjoyed, but for the camaraderie and lasting friendships. As an active IMA member, I’ve met some of the most accomplished financial professionals around and developed lifelong friendships with them.

I would like to think that I’ve made some positive contributions to IMA over the years. Most certainly, IMA has had a positive impact on me both professionally and personally. For a bit of personal trivia, my handlebar mustache and my years of IMA membership are about the same age. For me, both are “keepers.”

I’m honored to be the “closer” for this IMA 100 Years column. And as a member of the 100-Year Anniversary Committee, it’s been a privilege to plan and participate in so many wonderful activities that have commemorated this important milestone. What a great time to be doing something with IMA!

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