An Ignite Blog by:
Damon Ward, Chair of the KSCPA Board of Directors
Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. Vice President, Corporate Controller
Each summer the KSCPA Board and staff meet in person for two days of strategic planning. These sessions have proven to be an invaluable tool to help us take a step back from our day-to-day commitments, evaluate what we have achieved together over the last year, and brainstorm what we need to do as a leadership team to help the KSCPA deliver membership value into the future. This process includes making tough decisions about what we have the capacity to realistically achieve, including deciding what we need to stop doing. Equally important, we challenge ourselves to take bold and creative steps to ensure that we truly are future-ready.
For 2020’s strategic retreat, just as in many areas of our lives, we were forced to pivot to replicate our typically engaging and fun in-person sessions to a method that would work with the continued limitations from the COVID-19 pandemic. The KSCPA team executed an amazing remote strategic planning session via Zoom, including very effective randomly selected break-out sessions. While deep engagement was challenging, and we certainly missed the social element of our normal way of doing things, we all walked away knowing the time spent was worth the investment.
Over two days, the team focused on strategic initiatives that would strengthen the four pillars of membership value and clearly support our vision, which is “To be an inclusive community that connects, innovates, advocates and learns.”
Inclusiveness was a thread woven throughout our discussions as we recognize the need to be an active participant in ensuring we foster an environment which values diversity of thought, representation, and inclusion.
To connect with our members and develop a deep sense of belonging, we are working on a significant enhancement to the membership onboarding process to help new members find their path within the KSCPA right from the start. I’m very excited about this initiative as we need those coming into the society to become our future leaders. This initiative doesn’t stop with new members. We are also working on personalization for existing members to help you stay connected in the ways most important to you…you’ll have a chance to choose your own path.
We spent a significant percentage of our time focused on the need to innovate, especially as the ways we access and consume content continue to rapidly evolve. Our CEO, Natasha Schamberger, and the KSCPA team have spent a tremendous amount of time over the last year researching and planning for a new membership model. We know that our members place value on different elements of membership, such as CPE, conferences, social events, advocacy, leadership training, and networking.
As many membership models have emerged or evolved lately to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach, we are evaluating the need to change to remain relevant and continue to deliver the value that our membership has come to expect. We are certainly on the cutting edge related to this planning and I would like to say thank you to Natasha and her team for leading from the front on this initiative as other associations and societies are just beginning to think through this concept.
We continue to focus on advocacy, including enhancing the visibility of our legacy of advocacy efforts. Execution in this area is something that cannot be replicated via any other resource, and is critical for CPAs that live and work in our state.
To wrap up our planning session, we worked through how to continue the accounting kick-start program in spite of a setback this year due to COVID-19, which will help spark interest in accounting as a profession for high school students. We are thrilled with the results from the first year we held this and look forward to how this program will continue to evolve in the future.
As we head into the fall, and hopefully a return to some sense of normalcy going into 2021, I’m thankful to be part of the leadership team for the KSCPA. We have an engaged and dedicated leadership team committed to providing membership value well into the future. I encourage you to find ways to stay engaged, leverage the resources the KSCPA provides, and I hope you and your family stay healthy and well.
The Ignite blog is an official publication of the Kansas Society of CPAs, Copyright 2020.