New director of finance and administration brings three decades of experience

August 19, 2015

By: Christa Meland

Barb Brower, who has more than three decades of experience in non-profit financial management, has been selected as the Minnesota Conference’s next director of finance and administration.

Brower assumed her position last week. She will succeed longtime Director of Finance and Administration Barb Carroll, who announced in January that she would retire in late October after 18 years with the conference. Over the next few months, Carroll and Brower will work together to ensure a smooth transition that allows the conference to continue to steward well the resources entrusted to it.

“I am excited about the passion, experience, and gifts Barb will bring to our staff,” said Director of Ministries Cindy Gregorson. “She embraces our vision of increasing the number of vital congregations that are reaching new people, growing in love of God and neighbor, and healing a broken world and is ‘all in’ on helping us achieve our goals.  I am particularly delighted in the scope of skill and experience Barb brings, which is not always easy to attract to a small non-profit.”

In her position, Brower will be responsible for leveraging and maximizing the conference’s resources to invest in our mission and strategic initiatives; providing sound financial management, accounting, and risk management; resourcing congregations, clergy, and ministry teams; and leading staff and various teams.

Prior to joining the conference, Brower spent nine years as director of finance and administration for St. Paul-based Scientific Societies, a consortium of seven international non-profit scientific associations. Before that, she spent seven years as controller for American Public Media Group, the parent organization for Minnesota Public Radio. Other previous positions include controller for the American Academy of Neurology, manager of treasury and operations analysis for Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital, and senior accountant at Deloitte & Touche.

“Barb brings a strong and diverse background in working with non-profits,” said Gregorson. “Her strengths are strategic thinking, developing scenarios for decision making, and telling the story behind the numbers about the difference we are making.”

Brower grew up on a farm near Mankato and now lives in Richfield. She earned a dual degree in accounting and finance from Mankato State University, then later earned a master of liberal studies from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

“I love analyzing numbers and I love helping others work through numbers,” said Brower, an active CPA. “I love taking complex information and helping non-finance people understand the implications.”

In her previous positions, Brower has been responsible for budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and she has played a key role in major projects and transactions. She worked closely with various boards and committees at Scientific Societies and did some property management at American Public Media. She enjoys both types of work and looks forward to getting to delve into them in her new role.

A Lutheran who attends Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Brower said the Minnesota Conference’s vision and mission resonate with her—particularly the focus on healing a broken world.

“I really want to do something good with the next phase of my career,” Brower said when asked why she applied for the conference position. “I want to help people and really be mission-driven. As a Christian, I can very much support the mission of the Minnesota Annual Conference. This position is the best of a lot of the worlds that I’ve already experienced.”

Because the director of finance and administration position is a complex one, the selection process was extensive and included a series of interviews. The Human Resources Team, the Council on Finance and Administration, and the Board of Trustees were all involved in the hiring process.

Brower said she’s looking forward to learning her new job and is particularly eager to attend her first annual conference in June 2016. Right now, she’s enjoying getting to know the ministry teams that she’ll work with in the years to come.

“Every day that goes by, I learn more and more about what the Minnesota Annual Conference does, and I’m just blown away,” she said.


Here are some fun facts about incoming Director of Finance and Administration Barb Brower:
Family: Married and has a step-daughter, two rescued greyhounds, and three cockatiels
Hobbies: Volunteering with Midwest Avian Adoption Rescue Services, riding her bicycle, gardening, skiing (cross-country and downhill), traveling
Favorite scripture: Matthew 28:20: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
Gifts cited by colleagues: Supportive, easy to work with, strong financial and accounting skills, good with numbers
Favorite book: Gone With the Wind
Favorite movie: All the James Bond films
Favorite place to visit: Italy
Favorite food: Potatoes (prepared any way; she prepares them lots of ways and even makes her own French fries!)
Favorite getaway: Cabin she owns in Siren, Wisconsin

Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058