What do you see as the greatest opportunity that the pandemic has created?
Pamela Hepburn: The pandemic facilitated the widespread adoption of video meetings. I think after the pent-up demand for in-person connection subsides, companies will use technology to save on time and travel expenses. On a personal note, since I wasn’t traveling like I would have been otherwise, I was able to develop a very close relationship with my newest granddaughter who turned one on April 16.
Thomas Borgia: The pandemic has provided the opportunity to step back and rethink how we do business. While there is no replacement for being able to cultivate relationships in person, technology has allowed us to continue networking remotely. People who used to travel all of the time adapted and became more efficient. Many leaders have also had the opportunity to refine work-life balances for themselves and their employees.
Kevin Foley: Companies that had been lagging in technology have been forced to increase their usage to offset inefficiencies due to the pandemic. This puts a spotlight on processes that could be done remotely or with less labor, which enabled safer working conditions overall.
Rhonda Huismann: The greatest opportunity I’ve seen was the forced slowdown that allowed us to reflect on what’s important, rethink and reimagine how and why we do things, and how those things can be improved in the future. Many aspects of construction needed a hard look in order to deal with many of the pandemic-related challenges and impacts to the supply chain. Also, Zoom has really helped us connect more frequently and in more meaningful ways than before.
Kevin Booth: The pandemic has created the reevaluation of many of our common business practices. Video meetings have now become commonplace and have proven to often be more efficient than face-to-face meetings. Video meetings are so popular that many companies are questioning the need for office space at all. Working from home for many office employees may become permanent.
How have you leaned on your CFMA resources or network over the past year?
Pam: I read the Connection Café daily for everything from COVID-19 protocol to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to vaccine incentives. The majority of my Peer Group’s calls covered topics related to the pandemic, and the series of webinars related to COVID-19 were timely and had the information I needed at every turn.
Tom: In the last year, we relied heavily on available CFMA resources to help guide us through many different challenges. From the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to the PPP to the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) or remote work policies, discussions within the Connection Café have been some of the most reliable resources. Additionally, having a great network of financial professionals across the country has been invaluable. With so many changes, the opportunity to continue to connect with many peers in my network has been great.
Kevin F.: CFMA has been supporting me with great education through nationally and locally supplied webinars. Many of my CFMA friends have been more than accommodating in being available to discuss their best practices for working, how they handled PPP loans, and check up on each other. The camaraderie, even though remote, has been strong.
Rhonda: CFMA has offered some amazing educational opportunities in the past year including leading the charge in the PPP area, the COVID-19 Resource Center, and peer-to-peer sharing of best practices. Having a network across the country to discuss how different organizations and regions were handling things was extremely helpful during challenging times, and this continues to be the case.
Kevin B.: CFMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center has been my go-to spot this past year for the latest news and information. I also relied heavily on CFMA’s webinars, particularly those related to the PPP and the CARES Act. The Connection Café is also one of my favorite resources, as it allows me to see what our members are talking about.
What motivated you to pursue a leadership role within CFMA?
Pam: Initially, a friend asked me to join our chapter’s board. The friendship and fun I had working with that group to bring value to our members was so rewarding that I continued to say yes to additional opportunities. I’ve found every experience rewarding and have learned from so many great CFMA leaders!
Tom: Early in my career, I had the support of both my managers and our organization to continue my education, learn from industry professionals, and network with other leaders. While gaining valuable experience, I decided it was time to pursue a local leadership role. As I continued to grow and expand my leadership, other opportunities became available. The opportunity to give back to an industry and organization that has given me so much are the main reasons I’ve pursued leadership roles.
Kevin F.: I have always felt that I could contribute to improving the Association. I’ve gotten so much from CFMA, in my chapter and nationally, that I feel the need to give back, which is why I’ve been interested in serving on so many committees and participating in education as much as I have.
Rhonda: All that I learned from serving as Treasurer for CFMA’s Western Michigan Chapter gave me the confidence to expand my service to other organizations within our community and industry. It has been such a rewarding experience to serve alongside an amazing group of leaders from across the country and industry, and with such an impactful organization as CFMA.
Kevin B.: I became a volunteer leader in my chapter after a little coaxing and soon realized that leadership opportunities are one of the many benefits of a CFMA membership. By serving in chapter and national leadership positions, I have grown as an individual and a leader within my organization. In addition, I have made life-long friends along the way.
What has been your most rewarding experience since you’ve been a CFMA member?
Pam: It’s hard to select just one. A couple that have been very memorable include working on the initial Peer Group Task Force and seeing that program grow, and working with the Leadership Development Committee to improve communication with volunteer leaders and build a leadership pipeline.
Tom: Over the years, the many people within CFMA who offered support, struck up a conversation at the Conference, or just said hello left a strong impression on me. The fact that those with more experience would take the time to speak and share their expertise and insight with someone with less experience was amazing. The rewarding experience is paying that forward, especially with new members who are trying to find a connection or network on which they can rely.
Kevin F.: Serving as a mentor to future CFMA leaders has been extremely rewarding. I’ve loved working with my mentor clients as they navigate issues and discover ways in which they can use their talents in the Association as well as better handle situations outside of CFMA.
Rhonda: I’ve had wonderful mentors throughout my career, but being mentored by Erica Urbani through the Executive Mentoring Program was so impactful – from the facilitation, group interaction, education about how the organization operates, and incredible mentorship that I received (and continue to receive). She brought a unique perspective and challenged me like I hadn’t been before. I truly appreciate that CFMA recognizes the value in this type of leadership development.
Kevin B.: My most rewarding experience was undoubtedly the opportunity to serve as Chairman. Working with my fellow officers, CFMA HQ staff, and the Executive Committee, we set an ambitious agenda for the year. The merger of CFMA and ICCIFP, the creation of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and the rollout of the newly designed website are among the many accomplishments.
What are you excited to experience during CFMA’s Hybrid Conference & Exhibition?
Pam: Several of the breakout sessions in technology and leadership piqued my interest, and my favorite experience is always the CFO roundtables. This year I will be in Dallas for the Conference, and I am very much looking forward to seeing CFMA friends who I haven’t seen in two years!
Tom: The opportunity to get back out and see everyone again. Even in a limited capacity, this is a great first step to hopefully getting back to normal. The chance to see many friends, peers, exhibitors, and those in the CFMA family is what I’m looking forward to the most!
Kevin F.: I’m looking forward to seeing members at the Conference in Atlanta; being in person is so rewarding! I am constantly impressed with the high-quality speakers each year. I always pick up a few things to utilize in the upcoming year.
Rhonda: I’m very excited for in-person networking! The Conference Program Committee has once again put together a phenomenal lineup of both technical and soft skill sessions that I’m very excited about. I’m also happy we are offering the flexibility of either attending in person or virtually.
Kevin B.: The opportunity to meet face-to-face again! I will be attending the Conference in Minneapolis and look forward to reconnecting with some of my Spring Creek friends and other CFMA members. I am also looking forward to the great lineup of sessions.
Copyright © 2021 by the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA). All rights reserved. This article first appeared in May/June 2021 CFMA Building Profits magazine.