Julie A. Lagacy has spent her entire professional career at Caterpillar Inc., one of the world's leading manufacturing companies. During her more than 25-year tenure, Lagacy has served in numerous professional roles, including pricing analyst, commercial manager, human resources manager, and chief financial officer for the company’s mining division. She is currently the vice president for Caterpillar’s finance services division. In 2011, she became a CMA – and earned the ICMA Gold Medal for highest exam score in her testing period.
Regarding her decision to pursue the CMA more than 20 years into her professional career, Lagacy explained: “As a manager, I had encouraged many members of my staff to pursue their CMA or CPA certification. I decided that it was time to lead by example and become one myself.”
Lagacy followed a strenuous study schedule, and made a smart decision that paid off: “I set my testing dates six weeks out, and I told myself I couldn’t change them. Having those dates really helped me to stay on track and gave me specific goals to shoot for.”
Since becoming a CMA, Lagacy has found that the skills tested on the exam have been “tremendously relevant” to her work, particularly in the areas of planning, analysis, costing, internal controls, and corporate finance.
The process of studying for and doing so well on the exam not only set an excellent example for her staff, it also provided inspiration for those closer to home. As a working mother of school-age children, Lagacy often studied at the dining room table while her kids did their homework: “I hope I showed them that learning never ends, that even after all this time working, I’m continuing to improve myself. I think that’s an important life lesson for them – and for me, too.”