Changing of the Guard, Starting a New Chapter

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Kris Rogers (left), Oklahoma City Chapter, and Emily Whittenburg, Houston Chapter, have been instrumental in growing TEI’s ETP subcommittee.

On a beautiful June day in Huntington Beach, California, back in 2014, our lives were changed forever, and the emerging tax professionals (ETP) subcommittee (though unnamed at the time) was officially born. What an incredible four years it has been. We could never have imagined how many outstanding people we would meet or how many adventures we would have when each of us nervously said yes to then-incoming Institute president Mark Silbiger and to his wild idea about starting a new subcommittee aimed at reaching out to and serving the next generation of TEI leaders.

Although we are from the same TEI region (go, Region VII!), we had never heard of (let alone met) each other. In fact, Mark approached each of us separately and then made an introduction that set us on a path to what will be a lifelong friendship. The best part of our meeting was that neither of us was supposed to attend that 2014 leadership seminar. We both happened to fill in for our chapter presidents, neither of whom could make it. Talk about serendipity.

Well, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and after having had the privilege of leading the ETP subcommittee for the last four years (under the leadership of four extremely supportive presidents), it is time for us to turn over the reins to the next group of leaders. Before they play the music on us, there are several special people we would like to thank. First and foremost, Mark Silbiger, thank you for having the vision to create the ETP subcommittee and for entrusting us with that vision but, most important, for introducing us to each other and as a result helping each of us find one of her best friends. To the other three Institute presidents under whom we have served (Sandy MacFarlane, Janice Lucchesi, and now Robert Howren), thank you for your continued support and encouragement along the way.

We also thank our executive committee liaisons over the years, Wayne Monfries, Jim Kennedy, and Jonnell Quarrie, for giving us the freedom to run with our ideas and the guidance to keep us out of trouble. To all those first members who agreed to join the subcommittee with no more than our promise that it would be fun, thank you for sticking with us. A few of these first members have gone above and beyond over the years and helped every time we asked. Eric Johnson, Michell Rodriguez, Nicole Curran, Jibu Vergis, and Becky Kelley, you guys are rock stars! Finally, to Eli Dicker and the entire TEI staff, thank you for pushing us to think bigger and for helping us bring some of our crazy ideas to life (Sunday-night ETP socials and, of course, the charity events).

Celebrating Accomplishments

We want to take a moment to celebrate the accomplishments of the subcommittee over the last four years. We have grown to over forty strong and developed several learning modules targeted at the new generation of tax professionals that have been delivered to more than ten chapters in four regions. The subcommittee has presented sessions at each of the last four Midyear and Annual Meetings and hosted social and charity events at all but one. Subcommittee members have served on the membership committee, the diversity and inclusion task force, and the nominating committee task force. This subcommittee has shown determination, commitment, and enthusiasm unrivaled in the TEI organization. We have often been told that our energy is contagious, and we couldn’t agree more. Although much has been achieved, there is still a lot to do, including helping to develop a TEI mentoring program, launching the TEI Ambassadors Program, and continuing to develop content for up-and-coming tax professionals.

Creating Friendships

As we move on to assume other leadership roles within TEI, our hearts are full, and we are so thankful for having been given the awesome opportunity to lead the ETP subcommittee. The friendships created and our laughs and adventures will forever bring smiles to our faces. We are confident that the leaders who have stepped up to continue the journey and growth of the ETP subcommittee are some of TEI’s best and brightest, and we can’t wait to see where the subcommittee goes from here. Best of luck to Jennifer Bowers and all the members for continued success with ETP. Think big and remember always to have fun, and to keep Jorge Tito, the TEI burro, out of trouble!

Emily Whittenburg and Kris Rogers (a.k.a. “Rogersburg”) are co-chairs of the emerging tax professionals subcommittee.

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