In 2015, Orange County CFMA Director Dan Urias was working for a regional insurance broker in San Diego when he was encouraged to become part of a professional organization to further his industry knowledge. This is when several San Diego folks recommended CFMA: the only organization for construction financial professionals.
Six years later, Dan recognizes that the recommendation to join Orange County’s CFMA was a solid one. Or, as friends and acquaintances said back then, “the most dialed-in group that offers members the ability to grow in knowledge about financial health and overall risk for companies.”
We sat down with Dan to learn about the other ways CFMA educates members and brings them together.
Receiving value, then gifting it back
Members who join the chapter’s board typically are already the most active members within the organization. At least, this was the case for Dan Urias. After becoming a member, Dan immediately immersed himself in all that CFMA had to offer, including learning and networking events. Making these connections led from one thing to another, and before he knew it, Dan was graduating from member to being part of the board.
“I was attending some of the meetings and gained a lot of new friends when someone approached me and said, ‘you would make a great board member!’” Dan tells us. “It’s incredible that you get to rub shoulders with industry professionals that understand what you’re doing, and how you’re doing it in your professional life. These connections are what made clear the value of membership, and the progression into a leadership position was a natural one.”
Something old, something new
The Orange County chapter has gradually grown its number of committees to meet the needs of its members. When Dan Urias first began his tenure with CFMA Orange County, the membership committee was well-established. “This committee focuses on chapter members and how we're encouraging them to contribute to the organization. More importantly, we want to make sure they’re engaged and finding value from luncheons, networking, the Content Hub, and Connection Cafe,” Dan explains.
No matter the medium—whether in person or online—networking is the name of the game in CFMA, and what better way to bring people together than through a new committee? When COVID hit, Dan and the other board members realized it was time to evaluate ways to engage members without meeting face to face. In response, the Communications Committee was born. Leaders like Dan Urias and chapter President Jessica Moeller chose to use the pandemic as a reset for the chapter.
“Early on, the amount of events was much less than it is now. So I reached out to my friend John and asked how we could better put information out there that members actually see, and how we could utilize underrepresented tools that CFMA offers,” says Dan. “We are full of strategic partners and industry professionals, like controllers, CFOs, accountants, and more, but many of them don’t realize that even amidst social distancing, connection was never in question.”
It’s a givers game
Since first brewing up the idea of creating a Communications Committee, underutilized tools like the Connection Cafe have become more prevalent among members. Even years ago, Dan explains how he leaned on his CFMA peers for help. “For general members and strategic partners alike, the Connection Cafe is ideal for staying in touch and asking or answering questions. If I have a question that only other industry professionals can answer, I post it there, and members around the country step in to help,” Dan explains.
“I remember one example where someone asked about charging back for a split wage. I was able to provide information about that, and ended up with a message about an opportunity to vendor their insurance,” Dan describes. “You never know what can come out of offering value back to the community without any expectations. We give without expectation, because it’s a givers game in CFMA.”
And this service mindset has gifted Dan with more than information. Now, he has lifelong friendships with “salt of the earth,” incredible people. “The more we give, the better. We’re a group that extends a ‘hello’ to every new face with total inclusivity,” he tells us.
It’s just the beginning
The Orange County chapter is pleased to say that even through a difficult two years, growth is still taking place—and not just in number. In 2021, Dan and other leaders fine tuned the Content Hub and email marketing with the communications committee. Now, there are sights set on adding more events to the roster, and potentially bringing these events to neighboring cities to grow the community.
To learn more about our growing community and to attend your first event for free, visit the Orange County chapter LinkedIn page. You can also visit our website for volunteer opportunities. We look forward to hearing from you soon!