By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Nikki Gartner wasn’t actively looking for a job when she took a peek at Page 2 of The Catholic Messenger a few months ago. She was looking for a picture of her son. Right next to the picture though, she saw a job listing from the Diocese of Davenport expressing a need for a new Chief Financial Officer.
“A feeling of peace just came over me,” she said, explaining that after staying home with her kids for a few years, she’d begun to feel God calling her back to work in the accounting field. She just wasn’t sure how or where at the time.
She turned to prayer. A week later, during Mass, a friend brought in a laminated cutout of her son’s Catholic Messenger photo — the one that initially brought the job to Gartner’s attention. Gartner believed it was the sign she’d been waiting for. “I turned in my resume that afternoon.”
Now in the process of training for the job, Gartner, 41, will officially become the Diocese of Davenport’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) upon current CFO Char Maaske’s retirement April 1.
Originally from Dubuque, Iowa, Gartner has lived in the Iowa Quad-Cities for several years with husband Jim, daughter Brianna, 12, and son David, 9. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Loras College in Dubuque and an MBA from the University of Dubuque. As CFO, she will rely on her 20 years in corporate accounting work as well as time spent helping with finances at her home parish, Our Lady of Lourdes-Bettendorf, and Lourdes Catholic School.
As CFO, her responsibilities will include making sure diocesan finances are stable, keeping up with human resource regulatory issues, and working with health, workers’ compensation and property insurance for diocesan entities (which include administration, schools and parishes).
She sees the job as a perfect way to mix her Catholic faith with her occupational skills. “I felt like I could use my gifts for the good of the church … I hope to be a good steward of the money God has given (the diocese) and that I can help to safeguard that to the best of my ability.”
Maaske feels confident in Gartner’s potential as CFO. “I am very happy with our decision to hire Nikki as the next Chief Financial Officer for the diocese. She has the accounting background, but a larger part of the job is management and relationship building. The person in this position needs to understand regulatory issues and be able to relay the information to the pastors and principals to help them do their jobs. Nikki has a strong faith and appreciation for the ministry of all the people we work with. Her time spent working at Our Lady of Lourdes gives her excellent perspective on the struggles of administration of a parish and school. I have faith in Nikki’s leadership ability as the diocese takes on the challenge of change, dealing with almost constant new regulations. “
Gartner is grateful for the opportunity to help those employed by the diocese navigate the financial aspects of their jobs. “I hope to be a resource for them. I pray I can be a tool for them.”