It’s the global staff, who are professional in their approach with members and who genuinely care about them, respecting and treating members as they would want to be treated. It’s the staff who enthusiastically greet members at conferences, meetings, or at IMA headquarters in Montvale, N.J., and regional offices. It’s those who work as liaisons to volunteer committees. It’s a president and CEO who spent an afternoon traveling southern Indiana with a member between chapter visits, both talking about the giving of care to their mothers.

What is volunteerism? It’s people serving at the global level: members who travel for meetings or who spend hours on conference calls, addressing organizational issues or programs. It’s members who lead committees where all participants are encouraged to contribute and who recognize others for work well done. It’s members who, after a Committee on Students meeting, take the team to Mall of America for Log Chute rides. It’s Global Board members who pick up the telephone to say, “I’m going to be in your area. Let’s meet for dinner.” It’s members who develop friendships.

It’s people serving at the regional level: members who take personal time for travel and meetings and who visit chapters other than their own. It’s members who organize yearly regional educational opportunities. It’s members who said yes to a request from their regional council to serve as the student representative because someone else had faith in them. It’s members who in the past organized the annual Student Leadership Conference to support the next generation of management accountants.

It’s people serving at the local chapter level: members stepping forward to develop their leadership skills and to gain knowledge in areas outside their normal employment activity. It’s members who support student activities in their local area. It’s members who start their IMA service at the local level, then move to the regional and global levels. It’s members who recognize that their local chapter leadership is aging out and establish a process to transfer that leadership to young professionals. It’s the young professionals who now provide the leadership of that chapter, continuing its success. It’s members making colleagues feel welcome.

I found out about volunteerism through a great friend. I had joined IMA in 1975 but only attended chapter meetings. When I joined Cummins in 1977, active member Barbara Elkins invited me to a Lincoln Trail Regional Council meeting. The next thing I knew, I helped plan the upcoming professional development seminar, became council secretary, and continued volunteering. I’m now serving as Lincoln Trail Regional Council representative to the Council & Global Components Roundtable Committee.

IMA is volunteerism. It’s time to give it a try!

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