It is truly an honor to serve the members of the Institute and now to be elected your 2021–2022 TEI international president.
Being international president does not just get you an extra cookie during conference breaks (although that would be nice) but something much more important—a chance to interact with the many friends that I have made over the last thirty years at TEI, including members, sponsors, speakers, government officials, and TEI staff.
As we return to whatever is considered the “new normal,” I want to shout out to a few people who have really impacted my journey to the presidency: my wife, Larissa, who for four decades has always been there, encouraging and supporting me; the PIPs (not the group with Gladys Knight—the past international presidents), who have directed and guided me over the years, including Robert Howren, Neil Traubenberg, Betty Wilson, and, most recently, Jim Kennedy; and Eli Dicker, TEI’s former executive director, who encouraged me to continue the journey after three or four unsuccessful campaigns. I also would like to give a special thank you to all the members of Region 8 who have supported me over the years.
So what’s ahead for TEI? This fall, we will host our first-ever hybrid annual conference, not in our original location, the great city of San Francisco, but in the city where wearing Mickey ears and a mask is totally acceptable—Orlando, Florida. I am excited for this conference and what it will mean for the Institute going forward.
I also want to also introduce you to your new Executive Committee, comprising hardworking, dedicated members who also are here to serve you and to leave the Institute in better shape for years to come—under the leadership of Wayne Monfries, Sandhya Edupuganty, and Josie Scalia.
My goals will not be extreme, nor will they sound foreign to y’all, as they are all fundamental goals that past international presidents have at one time or another considered or implemented:
- Expanding and retaining membership. TEI is a membership organization. We want to better understand who our members are, what they need and want, and how to bring value to them, their careers, and the tax profession.
- Establishing the TEI brand with chief technology officers and decision-makers. In-house support for TEI is essential to our success. We will focus on identifying chief tax officers and decision-makers and communicating the value TEI offers to them and their staffs.
- Enhancing chapter visibility and interaction. Our chapters are the lifeblood of TEI. We seek to better support and connect our chapters and to provide chapters with more visibility on TEI’s website.
- Sponsorship enhancement. Our sponsors provide TEI with incredibly valuable information and resources. We will identify how TEI can strengthen our relationships with sponsors.
- Diversity and inclusion. I am excited to refocus on the important goal of diversity and inclusion. We will focus on how TEI can further an inclusive and collaborative culture that encourages individuals with diverse backgrounds and talents to lead, contribute, and progress.
In conclusion, if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that we must plan for the unexpected and be nimble in our response. The only certainty in this world that I see, coming from a lifelong New York Football Giants fan, is that Tom Brady cannot defeat the Giants in a Super Bowl! Be safe, my friends, and welcome back.
TEI International President