The health and wellbeing of members, exhibitors, staff, and other stakeholders is our top priority. Due to the growing concern around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in alignment with the best practices laid out by the CDC, WHO, and federal and local governments, CFMA has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 CFMA Annual Conference & Exhibition. Please click here for more information.

CFMA Opportunities Can Enhance Your Career

Joe McLaughlin
Joe McLaughlin, CCIFP, Outgoing Chairman

Some members join CFMA for the educational offerings, while others might say it’s to network with industry professionals. But, I believe the greatest benefit CFMA offers is the opportunity of leadership development. This benefit has unequivocally been the greatest asset I have received from my CFMA membership.

The journey begins with CFMA at Spring Creek, the three-and-a-half-day retreat built to develop chapter leadership. At Spring Creek, chapter leaders have opportunities to reach out, bond with each other, and explore best practices. At the chapter level, volunteering and leading committees provides a unique experience that allows you to utilize and practice your leadership skills. There are Spring Creek groups that still meet on a regular basis to network, proving that this bond carries on long after they become chapter leaders.

Branching out to complement the chapter experiences in your leadership journey, CFMA offers a Mentoring Program. Selected participants (mentees) are enrolled via an annual application process and are matched with a mentor who fits similar personality and leadership traits; the pair is then guided by a professional facilitator. “Graduates” of the mentoring program are encouraged to build upon their leadership growth by joining, as well as becoming Vice Chairman and Chairman, of committees and task forces that fall under the purview of CFMA’s Executive Committee.

Those who take advantage of these opportunities have the ability to exercise their leadership skills, guiding industry peers through committee and task force charges to carry out CFMA’s Strategic Plan. This leadership experience can provide invaluable lessons. And, those who wish to continue on the journey of self-improvement can pay it back by volunteering as a mentor to help others hone their leadership skills.

In March 2019, CFMA instituted the Leadership Development Committee, which is charged with overseeing the development of current and future volunteer CFMA Leaders. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an organized future track for CFMA leadership as well as structured programming focused on leadership development.

For those who take advantage of it, CFMA provides exceptional leadership opportunities that allow a CFM to develop his or her leadership and management skills that transfer naturally into one’s career. I encourage everyone to take advantage of these benefits and utilize your CFMA membership to its fullest.

Chairman’s Challenge Coin
Each year at CFMA’s Annual Conference, a handful of our more than 8,600 members are recognized for displaying outstanding participation and performance by receiving one of our four awards: The Joe Quigley Memorial Chapter Award, the Deborah Hahn Memorial Award, the Danny B. Parrish Outstanding Leadership Award, and the Chairman’s Award.

Topping out my year, I was excited to see the successful implementation of a new recognition program that CFMA afforded me the opportunity to create called the Chairman’s Challenge Coin. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, challenge coins are widely used by the military to recognize membership, motivate troops, and build camaraderie (see

This past year, a limited number of coins were produced and feature the Reach Out, Branch Out, Top Out Conference logo. Each member of CFMA’s 2018-19 Executive Committee was given one Chairman’s Coin to present to a fellow CFMA member in recognition of their contributions and excellence in service to CFMA.

The response to the coins has been overwhelming, and it was inspiring to hear the excitement and emotion from each Executive Committee member as they detailed who received his or her coin. I’m also excited to learn that the next three CFMA Chairmen have committed to carry on the tradition of the Chairman’s Challenge Coin.

This past year, it has been an honor to work with an incredibly dedicated Officer group, a dynamic Executive Committee, passionate CFMA members from across the country, and an amazing HQ staff. I am confident that Incoming Chairman Michelle Eastman will provide direction to all CFMA members toward their destination of Success Encompassed and continue to help them Reach Out, Branch Out, and Top Out.

Copyright © 2019 by the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA). All rights reserved. This article first appeared in CFMA Building Profits and is reprinted with permission. CFMA Building Profits is a member-only benefit; join CFMA to receive the magazine.

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