The value of education is more than just getting good grades. It's the culmination of experience, hard work, and learning from thought leaders in your industry. IMA's own top minds offer the best advice they received that helped shape them into the professionals they are today.
Jeff Thomson, CMA, CAE, is IMA’s president and CEO. Undoubtedly, he has received much career advice throughout the years, but what stuck with him the most pertained to becoming a business partner:
“To add value in your position, learn the business. This gives you the context to learn, grow, and influence. Simple as that! ‘The business’ includes your industry, how value flows, your customers, how decisions are made in your company, and what are the levers to being an influential business partner.”
Dennis Whitney, CMA, is IMA’s senior vice president of certifications, exams, and content integration. The advice he received early in his career helped him balance his workload:
“When I was in my late 20s, a supervisor/mentor told me to work hard, but have fun, and don’t worry about the things you can’t control. This advice helped me be both more productive and happier as I work toward focusing only on what matters most.”
Debbie Warner, CPLP, is IMA’s vice president of education and career services and was inspired by career advice about continuing education:
“Make learning a lifelong adventure. Not only is it fun to continually expand your horizon, but the knowledge you gain is something you will ‘own’ throughout your life and helps to determine your uniqueness.”
Linda Devonish-Mills, CMA, CPA, CAE, is IMA’s director of technical accounting activities. The best career advice she received was in the area of advocacy:
“Take control of your career, and become your strongest advocate. Carve out and identify your area of expertise, and develop a career path accordingly. That advice is why I think I was considered for my original position at IMA 10 years ago, as director of professional advocacy. As I continue to be an advocate for my career, I am also a strong advocate for IMA and love opportunities that allow me to talk about IMA’s membership benefits, including the CMA® [Certified Management Accountant] designation.”
Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, is IMA’s vice president of research and professor-in-residence. He was inspired at a young age to strive to reach his goals:
“One of my high school teachers wrote in my yearbook something to the effect that in order to succeed, you need both ‘smarts’ and perseverance; one of these alone was not sufficient.”
Doreen Remmen, CMA, CAE, is IMA’s senior vice president of operations and CFO.
“The best career advice I received was the advice I gave myself: ‘Get certified!’”
Whether it's continuous learning or pursuing certifications, your career is defined by the effort you put into cultivating it.
This article was originally published on July 5, 2016, in the Strategic Finance blog IMA Moments.