CFO Role Transitions at the Initiative Foundation
LITTLE FALLS, MN—Initiative Foundation President Matt Varilek announced today that Michele Miller will succeed Lynn Bushinger as chief financial officer. Bushinger plans to retire in August after serving the organization for 27 years, most recently as chief financial and operations officer.
“Michele is one of the most brilliant finance professionals I’ve had the privilege to work alongside,” Bushinger said, “and it gives me great peace of mind to step aside knowing the responsibilities are left in her talented hands.”
Bushinger joined the Initiative Foundation in 1996–when the organization had total assets of $14 million and 10 employees–and has helped to guide the Foundation with a steady financial hand through more than two decades of economic and social change. Today, the Initiative Foundation is a trusted partner–regionally, statewide and nationally–with total assets of about $100 million.
“Lynn’s contributions go well beyond top-tier financial oversight,” Varilek said. “Her fingerprints are all over every strategic move we make, and she operates with a big heart that has shaped our strong and welcoming organizational culture.”
To identify Bushinger’s successor, the Foundation engaged the services of the executive search experts at Ballinger | Leafblad. The firm previously partnered with the organization to identify and place Varilek as president, as well as Brian Voerding as vice president for inclusive entrepreneurship. Following an extensive search and vetting process, Michele was selected as the Foundation’s next CFO.
“Our exceptional finance and operations team deserves enormous credit for the Foundation’s impact in the region, with Lynn and Michele leading the way,” said Varilek. “Our ability to attract resources and to influence greater prosperity in Central Minnesota is a result of their team’s credibility, sophistication and integrity.”
Bushinger, who also serves as treasurer for the Initiative Foundation’s Board of Trustees, said Miller’s deep understanding of the organization’s business operations, goals and strategic direction will serve her well in her new role. “Michele is a critical thinker who combines her talents with a solutions-based approach to deliver results that are increasingly needed from CFOs in any business,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed seeing first-hand her approach to people and systems and how she is able to leverage the skills and tools to bring about automation, efficiencies and best practices.”
Miller has been with the Initiative Foundation since 2015 and currently serves as director of finance. Prior to joining the Initiative Foundation, Miller served as finance and fund development coordinator for Hands of Hope Resource Center in Little Falls. Previous positions include roles as internal auditor and compliance officer; senior financial analyst; and assistant bank examiner in the Federal Reserve system.
“Lynn has been such a strong mentor to me in my path at the Foundation,” said Miller, who will assume her new duties on April 15. “I’m honored to follow in her footsteps, and I look forward to serving Central Minnesota in a new capacity.”
Miller and her husband, Zac, make their home in Little Falls with their two children and enjoy traveling and supporting a variety of Little Falls Flyer athletics and activities.
Bushinger and her husband, Darren, live in rural Cushing and enjoy lake life, travel and spending time with their children. Her final day at the Initiative Foundation is Aug. 14—27 years to the day of her original start date.