Ask an Expert

Free Limited Advice From IMA Experts

A great benefit of IMA membership is access to other IMA members’ expertise and support.

Of course, not every person in IMA is an expert. Many people join IMA to develop some level of expertise and consider themselves more “learners” than “experts”. “Learners” have some level of experience and their personal view points to share, and that IS often valuable.

However, you probably need greater expertise to guide your decision making and planning. Here are a few ideas to access that expertise.


1. Ask the IMA Mentor of Mentors

Barry Sweeny is an internationally known mentoring consultant, trainer and program evaluator in many settings, and he is an IMA Director Emeritus. Barry has agreed to serve as a Mentor of Mentors (MoM) for IMA members. In that role he is available for helping, supporting, and guiding IMA members through limited telephone and email consultations. This free membership service allows YOU to get expert advice for your own practice and for your mentoring program.

Just call Barry at 630-668-2605 or email him at

BE SURE to tell him you are an IMA Member.

2. Another opportunity to tap IMA expertise is through face-to-face interaction at the IMA International Conference or at Regional Conferences. Private conversations between sessions, at general sessions, during receptions, or at a dinner or lunch together are common opportunities. You can identify persons to talk with who have the expertise you need by just being observant. Consider:

  • IMA Keynoter speakers
  • Conference session presenters whose topics interest you and settings are like yours, or who have experience working in many settings.
  • IMA Board of Director members. Watch for the ribbons under their name tags and ask for a few minutes of their time. If they have no time at the moment you ask, request time during a meal or at a reception with them, and agree on a meeting place and time.
  • Expert trainers and consultants who are also conference participants.
    Thes folks know they must extend their assistance to people in order to earn potential future business. They know not all contacts will pay off that way, so they are generally willing to share ideas and offer advice to you on a LIMITED basis. of course, some are more or less busy than others and more or less willing to spend free time and offer free advice to you.

A. How can you identify these experts? Look through the IMA Membership Directory and the publications, and presentations the experts have done will pop out at you.  Identify a person or two IN ADVANCE of coming to the conference, to select who you will look for (use name tags) during the conference. When you see the person, let them know WHY you have been looking for them.B. Sit with them during general sessions and relate with them, looking for a chance to ask your questions. Be very specific in these questions to conserve their time.C. Consider a “reciprocal” arrangement to encourage them to help you.
Offer to buy their lunch or dinner and eat with them. OR, offer to give them a testimony to use in their business, if you feel after the conversation that their advice was helpful.

3. Access to IMA mentoring expertise is available ON-LINE constantly through:

  • The on-line IMA Membership Directory
  • The email links for the IMA Board
  • Links and email addresses for other members on many articles
  • Other contact information contained throughout this web site.

4. A fourth alternative is to consider using a professional mentoring consultant.
Although these services are NOT FREE, they are very worth the investiment IF you choose your consultant carefully. For guidance in doing THAT, go to Finding & Choosing Professional EXPERTS to help you with your program or mentoring processes.