Tag : accounting

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Accounting Spotlight: Kevin Crawford

By: Dezaray Barr

Kevin Crawford

Kevin Crawford graduated from Marion College, now Indiana Wesleyan University, in 1985 with a double major in Business and Music Business. Crawford attended Wesleyan churches most of his life, but he came to IWU to study under Professor Jerry Franks.

“I had a great experience at IWU, Marion College at the time,” Crawford shared. “It was whirlwind four years that fortified my work ethic, established deep friendships, grew my spiritual life and transformed my life.”

Crawford said that his time at IWU involved more spiritual growth than just chapel services or religion classes. “Growth happened through the interaction with the professors where they shared what was going on in their own lives with us while taking a sincere interest in what was going on with who we were,” he said. “My overall college experience taught me so much and gave me the foundation that I have been able to build on, that has allowed me to be successful both in my career, as a husband, father, now grandfather and in my spiritual life.”

During his time at IWU, Crawford’s greatest influence was studying under Jerry Franks. “Jerry (as he always had us call him) was so much more than a college professor,” Crawford shared. “He was a mentor and a friend that taught me spiritual and life lessons that still influence my life today. We stayed in contact even after college, where he was always so supportive of my business career and journey, even until his death in 1989. My college experience is best told through the influence that Jerry made on my life.”

Now, Crawford is an accountant in a small firm, where he specializes in payroll. He works with over 30 clients across several states. He also does general accounting and consulting work for several business, preparing over 250 personal tax returns each year.

Crawford and his family in Washington, DC.

In 2000, Crawford had to put the life lessons he’d learned into action like never before when his brother was murdered. “I had to rely on faith and trust in God like I never thought I would have to,” he shared. “I had to find out all that it takes to know what forgiveness really means. We ended up adopting my brother’s 14-month-old son and raising him, watching him learn to navigate all that life had thrown him. We had to endure a criminal trial, newspaper headlines and way too many court hearings.

“But through it all, we learned at a very deep level what God’s grace was all about, how family and friendship can help you overcome, and that God is always faithful. As James 1: 2-4 states, ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’ But just as important is what Romans 8:28 teaches us: ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.’

Crawford is still an active trumpet player and plays in several groups across many different styles of music, including leading his church praise band and orchestra. He played in a local symphony orchestra for 15 years and enjoyed playing in a local brass ensemble. He has been married to his wife, Lori, for 33 years. Together, they have three children and two grandchildren. He has been the treasurer of his church for nearly 25 years, and he loves to spend time boating and water skiing.

If Crawford could give IWU students advice, he’d tell them the same thing he told his three kids when they headed off to college: “Study hard and get involved in as many groups and activities as you can without forgetting to have fun. The most important lessons you will learn in college will not happen while you are sitting in class; they will be the life lessons you will learn interacting with your friends, classmates and professors and the knowledge that you can overcome obstacles.”




Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

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Accounting Spotlight: Veronica Gabbard

By: Dezaray Barr

Veronica Gabbard graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2013 with her MBA in Accounting.

“My student experience at IWU was all remote,” Gabbard shared. “My only interactions with classmates and instructors were electronic. Being able to study remotely was such a blessing, as it allowed me to work full-time, gaining relevant experience in my field, while at the same time gaining the educational experience and credential I needed to excel.”

Gabbard was attracted to IWU because she knew it had a great reputation and a flexible online program. She is now the Chief Financial Officer of Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation (HVAF) of Indiana, Inc. HVAF is a non-profit organization that provides housing and services to homeless veterans. She is also a small business contract bookkeeper and owner of a Bed & Breakfast.

Gabbard said that IWU influenced her in her career. “Without the MBA degree, I wouldn’t have been eligible to set for certification exams that have given me an advantage in my field,” Gabbard explained. “An MBA from IWU is also a great asset to my resume.  Also, the communication skills I learned while working with classmates remotely have been invaluable.”




Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

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Prayers for Hope and Healing: Seeking God’s Strength as You Face Health Challenges by Sarah Forgrave

By: Kendra Housel

Sarah Forgrave is a 2002 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and left with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Forgrave says that she looks back upon her time as a student very fondly, remembering how much she enjoyed the spiritual atmosphere on campus. One thing she really valued was the opportunities she had to know her professors on such a personal level. The ability to know them vulnerably, hearing about their home lives and spiritual walks was a rare gift that she feels you do not find on most college campuses.

She was initially drawn to the campus because of the distance it was from her hometown. As a high school senior, on her own for the first time, Forgrave desired a school that was not too far, but far enough that she could learn how to be an independent adult. At IWU, she found the perfect distance, even allowing her the ability to travel home on the weekends when she had the time. Another thing that initially drew her was the campus itself. Forgrave remembers being impressed by the facilities and the quality of the buildings on campus. As stated above, she deeply prioritized finding a campus with a strong spiritual atmosphere, and she found that immediately at IWU.

Currently, Forgrave is a published author and a wellness coach. After spending eight years working for a public accounting firm, she suffered through severe health complications after the birth of her first child. This caused her to spend a prolonged amount of time off of work and on long-term disability. This time led to her reevaluating her dreams and in a way, reorient her life. As she worked to make a full recovery from her illnesses, Forgrave discovered a deep passion for writing, both fiction works, and eventually nonfiction devotional literature. Her latest work, Prayers for Hope and Healing: Seeking God’s Strength as You Face Health Challenges is currently available. Forgrave says that she is still using her degree, just not in the way that she always expected she would. Her jobs both call for her to use her entrepreneurial skills, and she also keeps the books for her husband’s business.

Her time spent at IWU helped prepare her for where she is now in many different ways. The things she learned about business of course serve her as she runs multiple businesses. Further than that though, Forgrave says that IWU is where she really built her foundation of faith. She was exposed to what it meant to be open to God’s leading and to hear His voice. Without her experiences at IWU, she may not have been so responsive when God called her into a new season of life. Her career shift was unexpected and very difficult, but she knows that she is exactly where God wants her to be. IWU helped to teach her that when you feel as if you have finally settled into God’s will for your life, it does not necessarily mean that is the end of the road.

A big influence during her time at school, in terms of the growing of her faith, was found in the worship group she got involved in. She and about one hundred other students would gather weekly to spend time in fellowship, worshiping and praying. This group was primarily a global-minded group, and each week they would typically focus on a different country or situation. It was within this group that Forgrave began to discover how deep and powerful prayer really is. The book she just released is also a book of prayers, and she reflects on this time in the global prayer group as a main influence in spurring her to write this book.

As a health and wellness coach, Forgrave says that she always uses her her spiritual life. She approaches wellness from a biblical perspective, emphasizing that God created all of us uniquely and that there is no such thing as a one size fits all plan to wellness. Her main goal in coaching is to “help people understand who they are and that they don’t have to fit a certain mold to live out His will in the area of wellness.” The most important thing in health is that you approach it in a way that makes it a partnership between you and God. The process of finding clients has been varied and consistent. She teaches some fitness classes and many of her clients come as people who have taken her classes and want to build a more consistent relationship in the development of their health. A significant portion of her clientele comes from her large church where she teaches where she teaches a six week intensive.



Written by Kendra Housel, a writer for the Alumni Center. Kendra is a sophomore Education and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. She is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.

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Connections Make the Difference

Untitled“Make connections! Build your network! Build relationships!” These are three statements that every college student hears multiple times throughout their time on campus. What does this mean and why is it important?

Ben Snowden graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in December of 2014, and lives to testify that relationships are key to starting your career. He majored in Accounting and Finance and began the job search before graduation, but he was not having much success.

On graduation day, Snowden ran into the Alumni Relations Director, Rick Carder, and got asked, yet again, what he was going to be doing after college. “I told him I was not sure yet and would soon hit the job search heavy,” Snowden said.

“He told me to contact him so I did, and he proceeded to give me three names. From those three names, I got an interview at all three places.”

Before he had talked to Carder, he was having a difficult time finding an organization with the right culture and environment. Because of all the connections that the alumni office holds with graduates, Carder was able to guide him in the right direction.

“I think the network he built is really cool,” Snowden said. “It helped me get a job at a place where the culture really does uplift Christian values. For me, being able to network with people from IWU who are aware of those opportunities was great.”

Untitled™From that one connection, Snowden’s firm called Hamil, Leman and England, ended up hiring two people from IWU. Their firm now has two recent IWU grads as staff accountants, and the Co-Owner of the firm, Brian Hamil, is an IWU MBA graduate.

“Rick Carder focuses on making connections and keeping in contact with people. For me, that had value because I knew that the connections that he was giving me wouldn’t just be for a job,” Snowden said. “They would be for a job in which the culture was Christian and could help me grow professionally and as a Christ follower.”

He regrets spending to much of his time and effort on work and school while he was at college. He did not take time to sit down with people and chat and just build strong relationships.

Snowden encourages everyone in college and even after college to take time to talk with people and build connections for the sake of relationships. “Often times out of those relationships you build, something great will happen,” he said. “The world becomes so interconnected that you never know what one of those connections could be. “

Along with help from the Alumni Office here on campus, many people receive career advice and assistance from the Career Development Office. Jordan Delks, their Employer Relations Coordinator, serves the students and alum by providing them with meaningful job and internship opportunities.

Most recently, Delks met with an IWU alum in Huntington. The alum bought an insurance business and told Delks he was looking to hire a few sales representatives. Delks was able to send the alum 12 resumes within a time span of two weeks.

Some alum find connections by pointedly talking to individuals such as Carder or Delks. Others attend conferences and events to independently network and get their name out there. For example, the Fort Wayne Alumni Regional Network meets nearly every month at the Fort Wayne IWU Education Center. This would be a great place to see new faces and shake hands with other professionals.

There are so many opportunities to make connections and build relationships here at IWU and around our community. We love to see our alumni succeed in every aspect of life as they move on after graduation.


Written by Kelly Reed. Kelly is a senior Strategic Communications major with a focus in Public Relations. She is the President of IWU PRSSA and hopes to work as a communications director of a nonprofit organization after graduation.