As an academic representative, I joined my local IMA chapter (Northwest Keystone) as a board member. Working with other volunteer board members—all local financial professionals—we organized activities and promoted IMA and the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program at my university. I still remember many exciting conversations and meetings involving both professionals and students, and I was often delighted when I saw growth in students due to their IMA engagement. This direct experience with IMA prompted me to sit for the CMA exam in 2004 and become a CMA myself.

My IMA journey intensified after I returned to China, particularly after IMA set up an office in Shanghai in 2008. As a “seasoned” CMA, I participated in many memorable events that enabled me to interact with and share my experience with young people, established professionals, delegates from IMA’s global headquarters, and more. I felt particularly gratified when these IMA events inspired young people in China, encouraging them to pursue their dreams, and supported and enhanced their professional growth. I was also overjoyed when Jeff Thomson, IMA’s president and CEO, visited China in 2015 and recognized several members, myself included, with a member’s contribution award.

IMA has accomplished a tremendous amount in China over the last 13 years, with total membership and active CMAs reaching record levels. While support from IMA’s global headquarters and the dedication of the hardworking China office staff were indispensable, members’ volunteerism has also contributed significantly to IMA’s success in China.

Last year, more than a dozen senior accounting professors joined to form the IMA China Academic Advisory Committee, which took our volunteerism to new heights. In less than a year—and despite the lingering global pandemic—we managed to push through many activities, including the sixth Management Accounting Education Summit, the corporate visitation program, a series of continuing education courses by the committee members, and several other initiatives.

Without a doubt, the spirit of professional volunteerism blossoms in China, and I am very proud to be a part of it. Over the years, I have not only witnessed growing professionalism among our young people, but I have also felt elevated by how our members contribute to better business performance in their organizations through our shared best financial management practices.

Like any successful professional organization, IMA’s future depends on its members’ involvement and contribution. Reflecting on my own journey, I strongly feel that I have gained as much as I have given, personally and professionally, through my IMA involvement. I encourage more members, young and seasoned, to be engaged to their fullest capacity in this great community.

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