Jeff Thomson: From For-Profit Executive to Nonprofit Association CEO

by | Oct 9, 2015 | CEO Professional Growth, Extraordinary CEO Blog Archive

Jeffrey C. ThomsonJeff Thomson has been tremendously successful and has found deep satisfaction as President and CEO of IMA (the Association of Accountants and Financial Executives) after twenty-plus years as a corporate executive at A T & T, where his posts included CFO for an $18 billion revenue operation. Among other honors, since taking the helm at IMA, Jeff has been named to Accounting Today’s “Top 100 Most Influential People List” in 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

As Jeff explains in this fascinating new podcast, the many similarities between the two sectors enabled him to leverage his business experience and expertise as IMA’s CEO, making the transition from the for-profit to nonprofit sector relatively painless, if occasionally challenging. For example, as Jeff observes, in order to survive and thrive nonprofit associations – like for-profit companies – must be highly competitive, must make money in order to generate the working capital to invest in innovation, and must make use of the merger and acquisition function as a growth tool in these times of rampant consolidation.

Making the dramatic transition to a nonprofit CEO-ship after years in the for-profit world did, of course, require that Jeff acquire some new leadership skills. Learning to lead and manage volunteers, capitalizing on their time and talent in forwarding IMA’s mission, has been an important factor in Jeff’s success at the helm of IMA, as has building a close and productive working relationship with IMA’s large and diverse Board of Directors. Both of these CEO leadership skills have been explored in various posts at, as befits their critical importance to every nonprofit CEO’s success.

About the Author: Doug Eadie

President & CEO of Doug Eadie & Company, Inc., Doug Eadie assists CEOs in building rock solid partnerships with their boards.

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