Fortifying TEI's Future.

Author:Welch, Katrina

When Paul Smith and his colleagues founded Tax Executives Institute (TEI) in 1944, the global economic landscape was almost exclusively on a war footing, with industrial productivity (in the United States and elsewhere) focused on supporting the Allied war effort. Smith's vision for an organization dedicated to supporting industry tax professionals (in-house tax professionals in today's parlance) foretold the eventual conclusion of global hostilities and a return to economic activity and growth focused on commercial, industrial, and consumer enterprises.

As the U.S. economy grew, so too did TEI, with chapters established throughout the United States. In the early 1970s, TEI established its global presence by setting up chapters in several key cities in Canada. Toward the end of the century, TEI further expanded its global footprint to Europe (later extended to the Middle East and Africa) and, ultimately, to Asia in 2005 and Latin America in 2015. This growth reflected the continuing vitality of Smith's vision that TEI should serve members of the in-house tax community wherever they may be located.

Yet the growing complexity of the business tax landscape, coupled with the shifting responsibilities of in-house tax professionals, demanded a reassessment of TEI's membership structure. Attracting future generations of in-house tax professionals could no longer start when individuals reached the threshold for TEI membership (i.e., five years of management experience). Rather, TEI had to create membership opportunities for prospective tax professionals who, at the very earliest stages of their training and careers, could experience TEI directly and learn about the in-house tax profession as a potential career path.

Tasked with this challenge, TEI's Membership Expansion Task Force, under the leadership of Colleen Brown (Salt Lake City Chapter), set out to craft new categories of membership that were consistent with Smith's vision yet reflected the new and changing business tax landscape. Their efforts resulted in the creation of two new membership categories, students and associates, effective September 1, 2019.

Full-time students can now join TEI for a nominal fee and immediately experience TEI by interacting with in-house tax professionals and by building relationships with TEI's diverse membership. In addition, they can gain insight into career trajectories and advantages helpful to...

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