This October’s Annual Conference was distinctly memorable in so many ways. It was held in the Big Apple where it all began. Nineteen past international presidents and their families attended this special celebration. Record attendance of members from all over the world made it vibrant. Seasoned tax professionals mingled with Generation Z tax students. Education sessions and discussions of topics of the utmost relevance to the tax profession were offered. And evening events provided unprecedented networking opportunities.
Like the rest of the world, TEI emerged from the very long COVID hiatus, slowly but surely and with strength. In-person meeting attendance by members over the last two years has picked up, but holding a seventy-five-year celebration of our organization in the Big Apple brought a record number of our members to celebrate and honor our past and to look forward and adjust to a future filled with a plethora of changes that COVID accelerated, such as the importance of remote work and the warp speed with which technology transforms our profession.
It was also a perfect time to reflect on how we have grown as an Institute—to be the world’s leading organization for in-house tax professionals. We have fifty-six best-in-class chapters. We conduct myriad conferences, seminars, and webinars and hold discussion groups on cutting-edge tax issues, advocate for our members, shape tax policy, and offer fantastic networking and mentoring opportunities for our growing, diverse membership.
But it was also indelibly clear from this meeting that we must rise to meet the challenges of being a relevant organization for all our members, especially students, women, minorities, and emerging tax professionals. We need to sustain the momentum we now have as we come out of the pandemic and embrace change. There was an excellent example of how we intend to meet those challenges at this meeting—the Student Committee convened its first meet-and-greet for local New York City tax students at this event. There was also an honest and thought-provoking session in which tax leaders shared stories of their journeys to leadership to inspire members at the beginning or midpoint of their careers to understand that one is not alone in the challenges one faces and that there is a community willing to assist and from which one can draw strength. This year’s Annual Conference also featured several invaluable sessions, such as:
- Tax Department of the Future: Reimagining Tax Technology
- State Tax Policy: As Deficits Return, Will the Tide Change?
- The New Era of Tax Transparency: Global Trends and Management Strategies
- The IRS’ Increasing Reliance on General Anti-Abuse Rules: Trends and Risk Mitigation Strategies
- We’ll share summaries from these key sessions in our next edition of Tax Executive.
I would also like to thank everyone who worked to make this celebration an absolute success, especially the TEI staff who pulled out all the stops to make our 75th Anniversary Celebration special; the New York Chapter, which graciously welcomed our members to their city; our committee chairs, who designed a comprehensive and inspiring agenda; our sponsors, who hosted New York City tours and more than a dozen social events and created a stimulating and informative exhibit hall; and our members, many of whom traveled long distances to be part of our continuing, illustrious history.
I am very fortunate to have presided over this awesome 75th Anniversary Celebration. As I said in my letter in the previous issue, TEI has the perfect platform to assist tax professionals in all areas of importance to us. We are well-positioned to embrace our terrific history while seizing opportunities to grow and evolve. Facilitating this growth and evolution is the responsibility of each of us. Let’s engage and get involved—we can each make the difference we want to see. I look forward to participating in this journey with all of you.
TEI International President