I have been fortunate to have what most would consider an interesting career. I have worked for many types of businesses and organizations, and have had the opportunity to interact with thousands of financial professionals in person at conferences as a speaker and attendee, and tens of thousands more in developing and moderating webinars. One thing is clear, when shared through mentoring or speaking at a conference or on a webinar, the experience and wisdom of corporate finance professionals have a meaningful impact on the career success of their peers. No degree from any university can teach anyone even a majority of what they need to know to become a successful financial professional. Those who find success in corporate finance actively seek the knowledge of their peers, and those who share their successes and failures drive the success and future of the profession.
I would like to share my personal ROI, from giving back on a professional level. I began my career as a financial professional as a treasury specialist at a company located in a rural city in Indiana. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved with the development and implementation of a global cash management structure. I knew once the project was complete that I wanted to share the pains I had been through with those who would face this same challenge. I became a member of the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), and eventually wrote an article for their AFP Exchange magazine and spoke at their Global Corporate Treasurers Forum. This brought visibility to the work that was being done in the treasury department at the company which I was working, and began to build my professional brand and network within the world of financial professionals. I continued to funnel my energy for giving back through the AFP by writing articles for them and speaking at their events. Eventually, when it came time for me to take the next step in my career, I noted an opportunity for a leadership position at the AFP. As a treasury manager from a company in Indiana I did not think I had much chance of becoming the subject matter expert for treasury for the largest professional association for financial professionals. As a result of the network I had built in speaking and writing articles, I was able to get the job of Director of Treasury Services. There were also numerous e-mails I received regarding how my articles and conference sessions had been beneficial to my peers, and that was just as valuable to me as the launching pad that giving back turned out to be for my career. I would like to think that my commitment to give back has continued with my work at Proformative. My main goals have always been to help offer corporate financial professionals vehicles to share knowledge, give back to the profession, and achieve career success in the process.
A favorite movie of mine is “pay it forward”, and I think any financial professional will benefit from paying it forward by sharing his or her knowledge and experiences with peers. I have never met a successful professional, who when asked the keys to his or her success, did not mention a mentor or the support of peers. In today’s world mentoring and sharing knowledge often means delivering content and advice virtually.
Ernie Humphrey, Educational Programs Director, TreasuryJobs.com