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Longtime NIC accountant retires…Successor back “home”

Posted: October 24 2020 at 09:45 AM
Author: Anne Marie Gerhardt, NIC Dir. of Communications


Athena

Athena Staveris

After more than two decades serving the Northern Illinois Conference as the Director of Accounting, Athena Staveris is hanging up her calculator and retiring. Staveris’ last day is Oct. 30, 2020.

Staveris said she will miss her co-workers the most. “I love my work and the conference as a whole,” said Staveris. “I really enjoyed working with the people here. They’re loving people and the reason I stuck around for 21 years. I can’t say enough about them.”

Staveris, a self-identified numbers cruncher, oversaw every financial transaction of the conference, ensured that all income and expenses were properly recorded, and prepared records for the annual audit, said NIC Treasurer Lonnie Chafin. 

“She is the one to be sure the money is spent well and as expected on a daily basis,” said Chafin. “She's been pivotal in ensuring the proper use of funds, check by check, transaction by transaction.”

Staveris was born in Cephalonia, Greece, an island in the Ionian Sea, and immigrated to the United States in 1964 with her family as a young girl. She often shared baked treats in the conference office celebrating her Greek heritage and holidays. She is excited to spend time with her son and daughter and five grandchildren in retirement, as well as catching up on her favorite hobby, reading. 

“Athena has been a rock of reliability for the conference and we are so grateful for all she did in keeping the finances accurate. We all love her very much and know she will give as much focus to being a grandmother as she did to being the director of accounting,” said Chafin.

New Hire Brady Goetz feels he’s back home

Bradygoetz2

Brady Goetz

Brady Goetz, who officially started Oct. 15 for training with Staveris, will be the NIC’s new Director of Accounting, and he is no stranger to the conference. From 1998 to 2000, he served as an intern starting in the accounts payable department and was quickly promoted to the accountant position after a few months. Some of the processes he created are still being used today in the conference office. 

“I am super excited about coming back!” Goetz said. “When I heard the position was available it’s like the stars aligned.” 

Goetz said his experience at the conference helped propel him into a 20-year career working in corporate accounting and finance for companies such as American Express’ tax and business service, a leasing business, and a company that provided diagnostic imaging services. Goetz wanted to return to a job that grounded him and allowed for more time with family.

“I was working on a personal business and doing eLearning with my two children, but when my wife and I decided it would be best to put the kids in real school my schedule freed up and things slowed down,” Goetz said. “The next thing you know I was interviewing with the same people I worked for in the past!” 

Goetz said his career has come full circle as he looks forward to returning and contributing his skills and knowledge to a place he’s always loved. “Coming into the office and working with Athena again has been great,” Goetz said. “Before I left the conference, I trained her to take over and now she’s training me! It’s truly been a blessing – God laid it out perfectly.”

While the pandemic has made this a challenging year financially for businesses of all types, especially the church, Goetz believes working together will make us stronger.

“I am enthusiastic about bringing all my abilities/knowledge from the for-profit sector to a not-for-profit entity and help the church stay lean as well as evolve during this challenging time by using technology, teamwork and passion,” Goetz said. “We need to remember the church has adapted and will continue to grow in a new way. We are all in this together and God will help see us to the other side.” 

Goetz is married to his high school sweetheart, Rosa, and they have two children, a son Lincoln  (7) and a daughter Logan (4). They live in Arlington Heights. To contact him, email bgoetz@umcnic.org.

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