Getting Involved

Nicolle Taylor-Sheafor, CCIFP, Hardman Construction Inc.

After joining CFMA, it may be difficult to know where to start to get more involved. It also may be difficult to understand the personal and professional benefits that you will see by becoming more involved. When I joined in 2018, I was simply looking for educational opportunities which I found quickly on the CFMA website. There are numerous live and recorded webinars and publications for just about every topic you could want to get information on.

Being in accounting — in the construction industry — is more unique and isolating than I had imagined when I began my career. I live in Western Michigan which has a very active membership base, for which I am extremely grateful. Our chapter offers monthly roundtable sessions where you can be grouped with other non-competitors and a mix of associate and general members within your chapter. Each roundtable session runs for around six months and requires a small, separate fee. This program offered by the chapter was where I really felt like I could get my feet wet. I got to know a small group of highly engaged members during that time. I found trust was developed amongst us all and formed some long-lasting relationships. I have enrolled each year since and it has given me the opportunity to share, learn, and develop professionally. Each month someone in the group decides a topic and drives the conversation. I can say that I have had some of the most influential discussions of my career with these groups. These folks experience the same unique challenges that I do because of the industry we have in common. I can’t imagine having the same dialogue and camaraderie if I was in a room of other accountants & service providers and we didn’t share in the same industry.

The roundtables are where I learned about the CCIFP designation and the benefits of CFMA’s Annual Conference & Exhibition. I attended my first conference in 2019 in Vegas. During the weekend there I attended the CCIFP preparation class, and I knew from that point that this it would be something that I would like to pursue. Everything covered in that class was something that directly related to my position within my company. I joined the CCIFP Study Group to hold myself accountable and get to know other faces throughout the country.

After receiving my CCIFP designation in 2021, I knew that I wanted to involve myself more within the association, so I decided to join the Specialty Trade committee. In this committee, I was able to meet people from throughout the country — expanding my network base substantially. I now know people from throughout the country that I can turn to should the need arise.

I have recently joined the Board of Directors of my local chapter after seeing how my efforts could influence what I get back from the association. Everything I put into the association I get back ten-fold with expanding my knowledge, influence, and network. Joining CFMA was transformative for my career, and I can honestly say that my skills and knowledge would have been lessened had I not joined. I have gained a great amount of confidence by putting myself out there with my peers and have always felt so welcomed by the other members.

My path is what worked for me – there are many other ways that you can get involved. Here are a couple of other members with advice about how to get involved and what they found beneficial to them.

Brad Anderson, CRIS Business Development, IMA

Say yes. There are so many volunteer opportunities — just say yes.

To gain familiarity with CFMA, the association has invested in numerous resources, their website, in my opinion, being the most helpful! I suggest spending time on the website and getting familiar with the organizational structure of CFMA. They’ve strategically hired personnel to add value to the member experience. I’ve worn out the phones and emails asking questions and gaining great insight through their feedback. These conversations helped me gain confidence at the local level — that’s where the magic happens. The local chapters usually have websites as well and they offer contact information to local members, including a list of the board members leading the chapter. I connected with a few members whom I’d found to be very active and learned more about their experiences. In doing so, I found myself getting to know people, learned how I could be more resourceful and gained the confidence to say yes!

Over the last three years I’ve been asked to be the Suicide Prevention Chapter Chair for the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter which has empowered and provoked a vision for improving mental health in the construction industry and offering an architecture to better support current and future employees, alongside building a framework to support recovering individuals through industry support, education, and employment opportunities. By providing a more thoughtful mental health approach, we can fill the labor shortage gap as well. The vision? Build a framework in Dallas-Fort Worth and introduce and help support similar projects throughout the country utilizing CFMA and other industry associations as a foundation for success.

Lastly, I’ve joined another local chapter in Central Texas, a national Specialty Contractor group and was asked to participate in a national focus group to help improve the member experience for associate members throughout the country.

I just started saying YES!

Rod Dode - Director of Contracts & Risk Management, Loftin Equipment

When I joined in early 2023, I stated that I hope to learn more about how different construction companies operate and how they contract with the owners/prime contractors as well as with equipment suppliers like Loftin Equipment. I hope to interact with people from many different types of companies and with different types of responsibilities. I hope to participate in both learning and social events. I would encourage any new member to participate in the various learning and development opportunities as you gain both applicable knowledge and interaction with other construction finance professionals. There are in person lunch and learn events through your local chapter. There are on-line courses and there are seminars through both the local and national chapters. I also have tried to attend informal social events as well as the formal events such as the annual executive awards banquet. Most recently I joined the Specialty Trade Committee to have an opportunity to learn from other committee members as well as have an opportunity to develop and present information relevant for our niche in the construction industry.  


There is no one way to get involved in the association and you can customize your level of involvement based on what type of bandwidth or desire you have. Your commitment to volunteering, if you so choose, will pay off in more ways than you can imagine and you just may find some new friends along the way.



About the Author

Nicolle Taylor-Sheafor

Nicolle Taylor-Sheafor is the CFO of Hardman Construction, Inc., a Midwest leader in foundation, geotechnical, and bridge construction.

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