Student Leadership Conference 2022 In-Person and Inspiring

"Your bridge to the future" was the theme of this year's IMA Student Leadership Conference, held on October 20-22 in Pittsburgh. Nearly 300 students and educators from approximately 80 schools attended the in-person event—held following two years of virtual conferences—to be inspired by the keynote speakers, educational sessions, and networking opportunities.

Keynote sessions included reflections from Charlie Batch, former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, who spoke about lessons in leadership; Toni Murphy, who offered insights on “showing up vs. showing out”; and a talk about the journey to the C-suite and how to keep your career on track by executive Ilene Topper. Other popular sessions included a panel on unlocking the power of LinkedIn, presented by Robert Half, which also sponsored approximately 35 students to attend the event (see photo below).

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Presentations covered a wide range of topics, including forensic accounting, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues; financial planning and analysis; and the career advantages of earning the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification. PowerPoint slides from several of the presentations, including two keynotes, are available on the SLC22 webpage.

Several major companies were on site to recruit for internships and full-time entry-level positions. In addition, Johnson & Johnson and Cummins Inc. conducted on-site interviews. The pre-conference educational tours also were well-attended, with nearly 70 students attending the tour of the accounting and finance department of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tours at PNC Financial Services Group, U.S. Steel, and PPG Industries also attracted numerous students.

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PNC tour

The University of Scranton, with its theme "Unlock Your Future," was crowned the winner of the T-shirt design competition, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, winning a $500 cash prize. See a photo of the winning team’s design below. Honorable mentions went to Athens State University, Xavier University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Joanna Acosta, of UNLV, won the new TikTok Video Contest, for which she received a $100 gift card and some IMA swag; check out her engaging entry on IMA’s new TikTok page.

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"It was wonderful to gather again in person and for our attendees to enjoy the networking and educational opportunities face to face," said Jodi Ryan, CAE, IMA director of student engagement. “We’re grateful to the presenters for sharing their time and expertise, as well as to the sponsors and exhibitors who provided opportunities for students to learn more about their organizations. We hope that all attendees found the presentations and networking experiences valuable—and gained insights and connections that can benefit their future careers.”

Ryan also expressed thanks to SCMS (Stuart Cameron McLeod Society), which recognized this year’s scholarship winner, Alex Viljaste of Robert Morris University, during the Conference. “We also appreciate the financial support from the many IMA members, chapters, and councils who help make this annual event possible,” she concluded. SLC2023 is scheduled to be held in Detroit on November 9-11, 2023, at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Watch your email as the date draws near.

You can view highlights and photos by visiting #IMASLC22 on IMA's Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages.