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FEI Chicago Member Spotlight – Jim Patterson


FEI Member Jim Patterson reminds us all - Your Network is your Net Worth
Many of you are long-time members of FEI Chicago Chapter and you have heard my story of how I got involved in FEI. I will repeat it for those newer members and in-transition members and prospects that are considering joining FEI Chicago Chapter. I joined FEI in 1997 but only attended one event a year and it usually was the annual SEC, FASB and IRS updates (the Corporate Financial Reporting Insights Conference) in New York. In 2008 (after 10 years as CFO of a middle market publicly traded company) when I was about to go into transition, I decided I needed to reach out to my network to help me find my next position. I quickly realized that I had let my network go dormant since the last time I looked for a job over 10 years before. It was very uncomfortable to make those calls and start with, “Hi, I haven’t talked to you in 10 years, but how are you?” At that point, I decided that I would never let my network go dormant again. I also realized that I needed to always work on expanding my network. FEI Chicago Chapter was the perfect place for me and here’s why:
  • FEI Chicago Chapter is the leading local professional association for middle market CFOs, Controllers, VP Finance and similar roles.  
  • FEI Chicago Chapter has many events where networking takes place, and everyone is open to networking with you. As a bonus, the events are informative and fun too!
  • FEI Chicago Chapter has numerous programs that offer CPE credits so that you can meet your CPE requirements and learn the latest developments in finance, accounting and tax. 
  • FEI Chicago Chapter has the Career Management Group (CMG) that helps members with relevant matters on managing their career while in transition or when fully employed, including career development, resume writing, LinkedIn profile advice, and more networking, networking, networking.
All of the great aspects of FEI Chicago Chapter are only great for you if you take advantage of the events and programs. You get even more out of being a member if you volunteer to be on a committee – a LinkedIn profile booster! I joined the Membership Committee in 2008 and am still a member today. 
The happy ending to my job search was directly related to my membership in FEI Chicago Chapter. As part of my job search efforts, I mailed cards to over 300 people in my network with a short update letter reminding everyone that I was looking for my next CFO job. One of the FEI sponsor representatives that I networked with at FEI reached out to me about a CFO opening. I interviewed and got the job with PLS Financial Services, Inc. and just retired a month ago after 10 years with PLS.
Now that I am retired, what’s next? I continue to serve on the Membership Committee and I also mentor DePaul University Accounting students. I hope to be able to utilize my skills as a CPA and CFO to help our veterans through one of the many organizations that assists homeless, wounded or disabled veterans. I am also looking forward to serving on middle market private company boards of directors … but for the next few months I just want to improve my golf game!!!
FEI CHICAGO says – Happy Retirement and Good Luck on your golf game, Jim!  
And to the rest of us, what will you do TODAY to grow your net worth?
FEI Members and Sponsors... are you or another member or sponsor doing good and valuable work that you would like to share with the FEI Community? If so, let us know at: Thank you!