Indiana University alumna Sabra Rowley encourages finance and accounting students to master the fundamentals, then work in a field they enjoy. This advice has served her well.
“If you don’t know what to do, accounting offers a good foundation,” said Rowley, who graduated in 1987 with a B.S. in business administration.
After learning generally accepted accounting principles, students can pursue careers in almost any field: sports, music, business…you name it, she explained. “Accounting is the language for all businesses. Learn that, then follow your heart,” she said.
A certified public accountant, Rowley worked at two of the “Big Four” accounting firms after graduation. She gained valuable experience at Deloitte & Touche, followed by Ernst & Young. Then, she left the workforce to raise a family. Today, she’s an assistant vice president of affiliate operations at Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, one of the nation’s leading property and casualty insurers of Christian ministries.
An interest in ministry is what led Rowley to Brotherhood Mutual in 2013. The company insures more than 65,000 Christian churches, schools, camps, and related ministries. It employs more than 500 people in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and intends to hire 100 more in the next five years.
The seeds for her assignment were planted more than a decade ago, when Rowley was managing her church’s finances. A church friend offered her an accounting job, which eventually opened the doors to a leadership role at Brotherhood Mutual.
She loves the company’s mission: Advancing the Kingdom by Serving the Church. Rowley also loves the people she works alongside. “l get to work with like-minded people who also support the mission.”
Rowley’s current duties include overseeing the financial operations of several business units that are part of Brotherhood Mutual. The largest is MinistryWorks®, a national payroll service provider for Christian churches, schools, and other ministries.
Rowley encourages IU grads to explore the field of insurance, because it’s an essential global industry.
“People and businesses always need insurance,” she pointed out. “When people trim their budgets, insurance is one of the last things they cut out.”
Attending IU also helped Rowley strengthen her communication skills. Participating in sorority life and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes allowed her to connect with students from around the world.
“It helped me become comfortable interacting with people who didn’t have the same background as me,” explained Rowley, who considers herself somewhat of an introvert. That was a good experience, because being able to relate well with people has enhanced both her career and her life. “In an executive officer role, we have to have strong interpersonal skills,” she said.
In the game of business, accountants are the scorekeepers, Rowley says. They understand the rules, and they communicate information that lets business leaders know how well a company is performing.
Carrying out this role with integrity can help accounting students become trusted financial advisors. Gaining fluency in the language of business offers a key to open that door.
About Brotherhood Mutual
Celebrating more than 100 years in business, Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company is one of the nation’s leading property and casualty insurers of Christian ministries. The company serves more than 65,000 churches, schools, colleges, camps, and related ministries in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Brotherhood Mutual is staffed by 580+ employees and works with 476 independent agents in 111 agencies nationwide.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
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