Association values-focused ‘member promise’ serves as blueprint for building a future-ready profession

In the beginning, there was MACPA 1.0, a membership organization dedicated to the protection and professional development of Maryland’s CPAs.

Then in the early 2000s came MACPA 2.0, a forward-looking association that built upon its foundation with a commitment to helping its members become more future-ready.

The association’s 120-year evolution continues today with what new MACPA Chair Lexy Kessler is calling “MACPA 3.0.” It’s an organization that’s as committed to its membership, development, and future-readiness roots as ever while focusing increasingly on community, inclusion, and the pipeline of future professionals.

“I believe we’re talking about the future of our profession in many ways,” Kessler said. “What are the things we need to be doing going forward? What will our members need? How do we reimagine our communities of members? We need to focus on building that pipeline, because that will be critical. We have a lot of people who are retiring. How we do business is changing. We won’t see those effects tomorrow, but we will absolutely see them in the next five to 10 years. In order to support ‘MACPA 3.0,’ we must work on building a strong pipeline for the future.”

A new era
The origins of MACPA 3.0 have been years in the making, but they took on a sense of urgency in February when longtime MACPA President and CEO Tom Hood joined the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (or the Association) as its executive vice president of business growth and engagement. At the same time, the Association acquired the MACPA’s training affiliate, the Business Learning Institute.

The resulting structural changes freed new MACPA CEO Jackie Brown and her staff to sharpen their focus on Maryland CPAs and the roles they play in strengthening the profession. In January and again in March, the MACPA’s volunteer Board and staff Leadership Team took two half-days to re-imagine what’s possible for the association over the next three years. The goal, in Brown’s words, was to “look at what the MACPA would like to be doing, saying, and celebrating in 2024.”

That story reads as follows:

“It’s 2024, and the MACPA has successfully implemented the vision it set for itself in 2021. 

“While some things have changed, the MACPA team culture remains strong, with the team living out the association’s core values and serving as an example for others. We have a bench of succession, ready and able, where smooth processes scale and allow greater work / life integration for our team. 

“As part of the reimagined association, the MACPA has thrived in creating robust, engaged, and active communities of members. These communities are enabling members to connect in meaningful ways, collaborate for innovative solutions, and learn from one another in such a way that MACPA membership is a ‘no-brainer’ for all CPAs and future CPAs, resulting in growth for the association. 

“The processes in place and the increased engagement of members has created a sustainable revenue stream in which we are leveraging the Business Learning Institute for relevant, valuable learning and are able to deliver seamless and unforgettable online, in-person and hybrid experiences for our members. 

“The MACPA continues to Connect our members to each other and to the profession, Protect the profession’s interests in Annapolis and beyond, and empower our members to Achieve in their organizations and careers. Members are better equipped and more #FutureReady because of their engagement with us.”

The MACPA volunteers and staff also created the association’s promise to its members, built upon a foundation that consists of three pillars:

  • The MACPA’s purpose: Leading and transforming our profession, Maryland first, and making a positive impact. We Connect, Protect, and help a CPA-led profession Achieve success.
  • The MACPA’s five core values: 1) Collaboration and community. 2) Anticipation and Innovation. 3) L>C, or lifelong learning. 4) Trust. 5) Inclusivity.
  • The MACPA’s core focus: Creating communities of interest, insight, and innovation to assure a future-ready profession in Maryland.

Upon those pillars, the association’s leaders created a Member Promise that consists of four key commitments:

Advocacy
Protecting and promoting the profession in Maryland and beyond.

Professional development
Future-readying the profession with tomorrow’s skills.

Community
Creating collaborative, member-led networks.

Resources
Scanning the horizon to keep our members informed and aware.

“These are more than commitments. They are our promise to our members,” Brown said. “More than that, we believe they are a blueprint of sorts for building a resilient, resourceful, and increasingly future-ready profession. We’re excited to join Maryland CPAs in doing our part to build a profession that’s not just future-ready, but future-proof.”

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