Deborah K. Gaffney
TEI presented the Distinguished Service Award to Deborah K. Gaffney, TEI’s director of conference planning for thirty-five years until her retirement, at TEI’s Midyear Conference. The award recognizes outstanding service to TEI and the tax community. In his nomination of Gaffney for the award, TEI’s international president, Mitch Trager, detailed her accomplishments as follows.
Gaffney joined the Institute’s staff in March 1985. As the Institute’s very first director of conference planning, she professionalized TEI’s approach to planning events, traveled extensively for TEI, and personally ensured that TEI’s conferences, seminars, courses, and meetings were organized, hospitable, and effective. She built strong relationships with hotels, conference centers, and other vendors, and through her experience, knowledge, and integrity, she made TEI a sought-after customer in the conference-planning arena. She also served as an effective teacher and mentor to other members of the staff (and, through her own volunteer efforts, other rising meeting planners) as well as TEI’s chapters and regions.
Gaffney was also instrumental in designing and implementing TEI’s successful sponsorship program, which has provided the Institute with a stable source of revenue for funding for close to thirty years (and which forestalled increases in dues and program fees). Every single member has benefited from those efforts, even if they have never attended an Institute-level program.
For more than three decades, Gaffney made TEI’s conference-planning train run on time; she worked tirelessly to ensure that every detail was addressed during the planning process, and she was unflappable under pressure. All the while, she provided care and attention to TEI’s leaders and made TEI’s members, speakers, and sponsors feel welcome and part of the TEI family.
Without question, Gaffney was an effective ambassador for TEI. Her professionalism, decorum, and grace brought honor to the Institute and enabled TEI and its members to accomplish their education, networking, and advocacy objectives in a hospitable and conducive environment.
James A. Kennedy
TEI presented an honorary membership to former TEI international president James A. Kennedy at TEI’s Midyear Conference. The award recognizes outstanding service to TEI and the tax community. In his nomination of Kennedy for the award, current TEI international president Mitch Trager detailed Kennedy’s accomplishments as follows.
Kennedy led a distinguished professional career, with experience in steel and energy, chemical and pharmaceutical, electronic, consumer products, and financial services industries. His tax department leadership roles included serving as vice president, tax, for Dole Food Co.; vice president, global tax, for Whirlpool Corp.; and most recently, senior vice president and chief tax officer for OppenheimerFunds for nearly fifteen years. Upon his retirement, Kennedy has been the president and Board chairman of a private charitable foundation providing financial assistance to cancer patients in need.
Although Kennedy has been a member of the Institute since 1996, he has attended TEI meetings for over thirty-five years, starting with the Pittsburgh Chapter. He was a member of four other chapters, including Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Western Michigan, and most recently the Denver Chapter. During his more than two decades as a TEI member, Kennedy has exhibited exemplary leadership and vision to foster the development, growth, and success of the Institute around the world.
Kennedy played an active role in the Denver Chapter, serving on the chapter board for eleven years, having assumed the role of treasurer, secretary, first vice president, president, and chapter representative for the chapter. He served as Region 7’s vice president and as a TEI Executive Committee member. He served as the Institute’s international treasurer, international secretary, international vice president, and international president.
In addition, Kennedy took an active role in TEI’s standing committees, including the Corporate Tax Management Committee, on which he served as vice chair; the State and Local Tax Committee; and the Tax Reform Task Force. In his capacity as an officer of the Institute, Kennedy has chaired the Advisory Committee, the Internal Affairs Committee, the Investment Committee, and the Nominating Committee.
Of note, Kennedy’s contributions over the past two decades reflect his determination that future members have the opportunity to benefit as greatly as he did from participation in TEI. His passion to “give the ball” to his fellow members is wide and deep. Throughout his service on the board, the Executive Committee, and as an officer, his primary focus was on improving the financial stability of the Institute and enhancing its operational effectiveness, both to ensure the ability to continue to deliver exceptional value to the members for years to come.
Kennedy’s deep involvement and commitment to the Institute undoubtedly shaped and prepared him to assume TEI’s international presidency in 2020. Kennedy devoted countless hours and played an integral role in the Institute’s response to the pandemic to ensure the Institute’s future strength. The pandemic required TEI to move swiftly and effectively to transform how it provides members with services and value. In 2020 and 2021, TEI hosted five successful fully virtual Institute-level conferences and educational seminars and hundreds of virtual chapter and regional events. Kennedy was also instrumental in the Institute’s transition to a return toward normalcy, guiding the staff in their plans to move TEI’s 76th Annual Conference from San Francisco, California, to Orlando, Florida, and embark on TEI’s first hybrid event. Kennedy also led the search for the Institute’s new executive director, Pilar Mata, providing her with counsel and guidance as she assumed her new role and responsibilities.
As these fundamental shifts and developments took place, Kennedy remained steadfastly committed to executing a member-driven long-term strategic plan in TEI’s seventy-fifth year: Choosing a Path Forward. Kennedy established several workstreams to examine how TEI has operated historically, what changes have occurred both internally and externally, and most important, how TEI should respond to meet the challenges and opportunities for the future. These workstreams focused on continuing education; advocacy and government liaison activities; financial and operations; membership recruitment, retention, and networking; chapter development and relations; and governance and management. The workstreams identified challenges and opportunities and made critical recommendations for TEI to serve members of the in-house tax profession more effectively and over the next sevent-five years. These recommendations will provide a road map for TEI’s focus and direction over the coming decade and beyond.
Kennedy remains a strong friend and resource to the Institute, its members, and staff, serving as a ready resource and sounding board. He has rendered outstanding service to TEI, demonstrated professionalism and leadership, promoted active member participation, and advanced the Institute’s educational, networking, and advocacy objectives.
C. N. (Sandy) Macfarlane
TEI presented an honorary membership to former TEI international president C. N. (Sandy) Macfarlane at TEI’s Midyear Conference. The award recognizes outstanding service to TEI and the tax community. Macfarlane was nominated by the San Francisco Chapter and by TEI’s senior vice president, Wayne Monfries. In his own nomination letter, Monfries detailed Macfarlane’s accomplishments as follows.
Macfarlane has served TEI with distinction since 1993 and was the Institute’s international president in 2015–2016. Macfarlane finished his career as vice president and general tax counsel for Chevron Corp. in 2021 and is an emeritus member of TEI’s San Francisco Chapter.
The San Francisco Chapter’s nomination letter details Macfarlane’s numerous contributions to the Institute. As described in that letter, Macfarlane played an active role in the San Francisco Chapter, having assumed the role of treasurer, secretary, first vice president, senior vice president, president, and chapter representative from 2000 through 2012. Further, Macfarlane served as Region 8’s vice president and as an Executive Committee member. He became the Institute’s international treasurer, international secretary, international senior vice president, and international president. Since then, he has continued to serve on the TEI Board of Directors and the Advisory Committee as a past international president. As an officer of the Institute, Macfarlane has also served on the Internal Affairs Committee, the Investment Committee, and the Nominating Committee.
Besides these leadership roles, Macfarlane took an active part and significantly contributed to several of TEI’s standing committees, including the Corporate Tax Management Committee, the US International Tax Committee, the IRS Administrative Affairs Committee, the IRS Compliance Assurance Process Subcommittee, and the Tax Reform Task Force.
His TEI international presidential term year, themed Building for the Future, addressed critical initiatives such as developing and implementing value-added programs and initiatives for TEI’s emerging tax professionals; developing an integrated, three-year membership recruitment and retention strategy; determining how TEI could better serve its members outside of North America; strengthening the linkages among chapters, regions, and the Institute through periodic communications; identifying the needs, wants, and expectations for TEI’s web capabilities; analyzing the Institute conference pattern; and assessing and updating TEI’s investment guidelines and TEI portfolio. The recommendations resulting from these initiatives continue to this day as cornerstones of the Institute’s operations and strategy.
Many of these initiatives are still important to the Institute today, but Macfarlane’s value to TEI was even more than what he did and accomplished, it was how he did it. Through selfless leadership, he provided a guide to how the members should and could contribute to TEI. He made service in TEI leadership a destination in which many saw value, and he made it a fun and worthwhile experience. He set an example for all TEI leaders to follow.
As this and the San Francisco Chapter letter detail, Macfarlane has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to TEI and has made a lasting impact on his fellow professionals. He has consistently exhibited decorum, respect, and selfless dedication to the Institute.