President's Message

President's Message

Welcome to a new year!  First let me introduce myself.  I am a forensic accountant with the law firm of Ballard & Watson in West Columbia, South Carolina.  I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, graduated from the University of Puget Sound (the other UPS) and moved to South Carolina some 35+ years ago.  I started my career in the insurance industry first as a cost accountant with Blue Cross Blue Shield South Carolina (BCBSSC) then as a Manager for their then HMO Companion HealthCare.  I left there after 13 years to take a position with Colonial Life.  It was during my time at BCBSSC that I first became interested in becoming a CMA and it is a decision I will never regret.  It launched my career in ways I could never have expected. 

This year is a year of transition and the dreaded word change.  No one likes change.  It’s hard.  But as CMA’s it is our calling to be leaders.  We often have to be the leaders.  Be that as the whisper in management’s ear or better yet, the voice at the board room table.  So this year we will focus on bringing you up to the minute CPE sessions on emerging topics in finance, technology and leadership.  For the immediate future, the national organization has requested that we keep those sessions virtual.  However, we endlessly hold out hope that we can all meet in person again soon. 

Your board and I will also be reaching out to local businesses to introduce the IMA/CMA brand and what it could do for them.  So I ask you to send me your stories of what the CMA has done for you.  Submit those stories to so that I can share them with the business leaders across the state.  If you are interested in presenting to a business or have a business you would like a presentation made to, please send that information to us at the same address above.

And lest I forget, we will also be reaching out to the academic community to support the students coming up to be the next generation of CMAs.  If anyone has any interest in assisting in that endeavor please let us know. 

I thank you for your time and look forward to a wonderful year. 
Mara T. Ballard, CMA, CFE