Recently, I visited several chapter and regional events to get a first-hand look at the energy and drive that animates our members, and the unique ways in which TEI provides value to them. Interestingly, while the three geographic locations could not have been more different – few could reasonably contend that Billund, Denmark; Houston, Texas; or Ottawa, Quebec share a great deal in common – the presence of a TEI event at each suddenly made each feel a little more like home. Common to each was outstanding technical content, delivered by subject matter experts and thought leaders in an open and engaging way. Equally evident was the strong sense of camaraderie, with everyone trying to make all (especially me) feel welcomed and at home. And, finally, the willingness of everyone to be open and share was apparent. I truly enjoyed the hospitality and courtesies that were extended to me during my visits. I only wish that I had been able to spend more time at TEI events in other places.
I came away from my TEI-related travels even more fully appreciative of the fact that the TEI formula truly works. Blending interested and committed in-house professionals who seek opportunities to meet and engage with their peers, coupled with supported employers and sponsors, TEI provides the ideal environment for the in-house tax professional to grow both personally and professionally.
But where should TEI seek to extend its membership base next, its brand and its commitment to serving in-house professionals? After a good deal of due diligence, I am delighted to report that the Institute’s Board of Directors has unanimously approved the creation of a “chapter in formation” in Latin America, principally located in Brazil.
As many of you know, over the last decades, TEI has taken several preliminary but ultimately unsuccessful steps to explore forming a chapter in Latin America. These efforts lagged largely due to the absence of interested and committed in-house professionals willing to expend the time and energy necessary to establish and sustain a TEI chapter.
Recently, in-house professionals from several companies, not-ably Lluis Fargas (Alcoa Europe), Steven Foster (Dell), Lionel Nobre (Dell) and Daniel Paco (Petrobas) among others, have signaled a willingness to pursue a TEI chapter in Latin America. Their efforts, in conjunction with the strong efforts of Christer T. Bell (EMEA chapter) have renewed our focus on expanding the Institute’s presence to Latin America with a particular focus in Brazil. I am truly delighted with these developments, especially given the growing prominence of Brazil as a global trading partner, as well as the exponential growth in the number and diversity of both foreign and locally-based MNC’s there. These developments strongly suggest that the timing is right for pursuing a TEI presence there. In addition, the existence of a local group, Corporate Tax Brazil (on LinkedIn.com), comprised of several hundred in-house professionals also suggests that the critical mass of in-house professionals that is vital to establishing and sustaining a nascent chapter exists.
In the coming months, TEI staff, working with both in-house professionals located in Brazil as well as sponsors and others, will build a project plan of meetings and events, designed to help spread the news about TEI, and build a record to demonstrate that a chapter can thrive in Latin America. Should you be interested in helping with these efforts, please let the TEI staff know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almost on the other side of the world, in Shanghai, China, a big TEI shout-out and thank you to our Asia Chapter for their successful China International Tax Forum. Under the leadership of Bob Lider, Tracy Neighbors and others, and a big assist from PwC, our Asia Chapter hosted a technical program attended by almost 150 in-house professionals representing both domestic Chinese and multinational businesses. The program covered development trends in China, APAs, GAAR, and tax function effectiveness, and featured speakers from industry, private practice, as well as a senior official from the Chinese tax authority (SAT). Thank you for extending the common bonds of TEI’s brand in China. I very much look forward to further developments from the region as the level of TEI awareness continues to grow.
As you can clearly see, TEI never stands still. We are constantly moving forward in an effort to bring greater value to our members – everywhere. In that regard, I was delighted to help kick off our 2013 Leadership Seminar in Orlando, Florida. Developed for our incoming regional vice presidents and chapter presidents, our day and a half in Florida focused on building teamwork and camaraderie among next year’s leadership cadre as well as sharing common experiences and challenges about chapter leadership. And, oh yes, we did cover many of the rules and guidelines that help order the Institute’s business. What I saw was a sense of energy and commitment about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for us as a professional community and a global organization.
What lies ahead in the concluding months of my term is to ensure Teri and her team has all the support they need to ensure a seamless transition, sharing all of our knowledge to enable her and her team to hit the ground running. It is very hard for me to believe that my term has gone by so quickly. We have made significant strides in many of my “Members First” goals and objectives, and I look forward to fully reporting on those efforts in our next issue. For now, I wish you and your families a happy, safe and enjoyable summer!
Carita R. Twinem