Service and Duty to Our Profession

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Being an in-house tax professional means service to our employers and to the system of taxation of which we are a part. We are duty-bound to add value, skill, and competence to both, yet how we choose to fulfill those obligations is a matter of personal choice.

For me, joining TEI as a young tax professional and, over time, becoming an active member of the Institute reflected my commitment to enhance our profession by being part of an organization dedicated to those purposes. And involvement in TEI is a (and perhaps the) way to improve our profession overall. I am blessed with the opportunity to serve as TEI’s 2017–2018 international president and will endeavor to lead our organization with purpose and principle.

I have chosen as the theme for my goals “Getting Connected, Staying Engaged, & Having Fun,” all of which reflect essential characteristics of what TEI is all about. Being connected means establishing rapport and creating your own network. This can be in your own chapter or region or within your industry, to connect with your peers, and to share common issues and ideas. Engagement means involvement—leaning in to own a TEI project (or a piece of one), while having fun that, well, doesn’t require much explanation!

In the coming year, we will address the broad range of goals, projects, and initiatives set out below. Pick one (or more) with which to connect, engage, and have fun! Executive Committee liaisons are noted beside each goal.

Expand TEI’s Membership: Our membership recruitment campaign, Access Granted, concluded the first year of a three-year campaign, welcoming nearly 700 new members (with 200+ applications pending) at year end. In year two, we will explore how to accelerate these efforts to expand our ranks further. (Colleen Brown,

Member Communications: Leverage TEI’s new web capabilities to create targeted communications and messaging. (Dave Gillman,

Mentoring: Could a mentorship program benefit Tax Executives Institute? If so, how could it be designed and implemented? What would its key elements be? (Rita Makaris,

Social Responsibility/Community Involvement Toolkit: “Giving back” to the communities in which we work and live is a central element of TEI’s efforts to improve our profession. Giving back can take many forms; creating a catalog of “projects” can leverage our experience and broaden our commitment. (Kathy Castillo,

Emerging Tax Professionals: Continue prominent positioning of ETP-related activities at all levels of the Institute. (Louis Mestier,

Framework for a Nationwide Scholarship Network: Identify ways to leverage and expand TEI’s existing relationships with post-secondary academic institutions to elevate the TEI profile and promote the in-house tax role as a professional career path. (Jim Kennedy,

Global Outreach Report: Continue implementation of the Global Outreach report (i.e., strategize to increase the value of a TEI membership to members outside North America). (Lluis Fargas Mas,

Professional Development: Continue development and implementation of a skills-based curriculum, focusing on capability and skill development (modeled and taught by in-house tax professionals) to facilitate growth and advancement of the in-house tax professional community. (Mitch Trager,

Program Pricing: Evaluate alternative educational program pricing structures for Institute-level educational programs. (Mitch Trager,

Advocacy—Constructive Engagement: Identify ways to grow new and enhance existing advocacy relationships with tax and regulatory authorities around the world. (Katrina Welch,

Advocacy—Tax Reform: Sustain TEI’s constructive engagement in the ongoing tax reform debate. (Jim Silvestri,

Diversity Principles: Identify aspects of the Institute’s Diversity Action Plan to operationalize. (Katrina Welch,

Nominating Procedures Review: Continue evaluation of the Institute’s nominating committee procedures for selecting regional vice presidents and senior officers. (Rita Makaris,

Composition of the Institute’s Board of Directors: Assess the current composition of TEI’s Board of Directors, including the status of TEI’s past international presidents. (Jim Silvestri,

Because every goal requires a mix of skills to help us achieve our objectives, all of your contributions are invaluable to those efforts. This could mean developing strategies, implementing tactics, brainstorming ideas, or crafting advocacy submissions. Every contribution is vital and valued. Even a simple email suggesting something we should consider in developing any of the goals is important. Thank you in advance for your help.

When I was a young, solo tax manager, TEI provided a network of professional support that allowed me to share ideas, discuss issues, and feel connected to the in-house community. In the coming year, I pray that I am able to give back even a small fraction of what TEI has given to me.





Robert L. Howren
TEI International President

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