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GBHEM: Our Road Reimagined

August 12, 2020

Today, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) launches a new guiding structure for its long-held mission of preparing leaders for the Church, the academy and the world.

“Our Road Reimagined” is the result of a months-long process to survey and remodel the agency. This effort included a complete program evaluation, a cost-savings review and an exploration of additional revenue streams. It will reshape the agency into three primary areas of focus:

  • Constituent Relations and Services
  • Product Innovation and Implementation
  • Administrative Relations and Services

“This structure will allow us to be nimble and more sustainable,” said Rev. Greg Bergquist, GBHEM’s general secretary. “We are choosing to do this so that we may offer the same high level of service while we begin living into the new vision and mission that God is setting for the United Methodist Church.”

This week, GBHEM named the leaders of its three new areas: Rev. Shannon Conklin-Miller, Janet Jones and Karen Ward.

New Team Leaders
From left: Rev. Shannon Conklin-Miller, Janet Jones and Karen Ward.

Conklin-Miller assumes leadership of Constituent Relations and Services after previously serving as the associate general secretary for GBHEM’s Division of Ordained Ministry. In her five years with the agency, Conklin-Miller has built strong educational and formational relationships throughout the United Methodist connection. In particular, she has been a major force behind strengthening the Course of Study and expanding it globally.

“Our connectional relationships are crucial to supporting and strengthening ministry in the Wesleyan tradition. I look forward to furthering the mission of GBHEM in the formation of leaders equipped to serve in the Church and the world,” said Conklin-Miller.

Jones is new to GBHEM and will bring more than 20 years of experience in strategy, marketing and business development to her role leading Product Innovation and Implementation. She joins GBHEM from the Coffman Organization, where she served as chief revenue officer for the global management and consulting firm. Her experience will help the agency craft a future that is more financially self-sustaining.

“I am honored to embrace this new role in the ‘Road Reimagined’ for GBHEM and excited to serve the agency as we chart a dynamic course ahead,” said Jones. “I look forward to listening, learning and sharing in service to GBHEM and the United Methodist Church with reverence to God’s mission for our work.”

Overseeing Administrative Relations and Services will be a natural transition for Ward, who has worked for GBHEM for 12 years and spent the last four serving as the agency’s associate general secretary of finance and administration. She has successfully stewarded GBHEM’s resources through times of uncertainty in the Church and has played a critical role in preparing the agency to weather the current economic climate.

“Increased collaboration across the agency and the Church will lead to greater efficiency. This new model will allow us the freedom to rethink old ways of doing business and help us to thrive into the future,” said Ward.

All existing GBHEM services will be realigned under the umbrellas of Constituent Relations and Services, Product Innovation and Implementation, and Administrative Relations and Services. As part of the new organizational design, the Division of Ordained Ministry and the Division of Higher Education will remain as reporting entities to the GBHEM Board of Directors, but they will now be managed under the daily leadership of the three new focus areas. The Division of Ordained Ministry and the Division of Higher Education are still integral parts of GBHEM’s governing design.

Throughout the realignment process, there will be some adaptation of staff roles, and in some cases, it may be necessary to create new roles to meet each area’s objectives.

“Our Reimagined Road” sets a course for an agency that is more collaborative, innovative, diverse and equitable at all levels. In the weeks ahead, GBHEM will be sharing regular updates on the concrete steps it is taking to make this happen.

“Every action we are taking is intended to preserve and grow our mission. To continue our unique service to the Church, we must become more efficient, effective and sustainable,” said Bergquist. “We know that our trainings, resources and educational support are essential to the Church, the academy, and the world. We want to keep them as relevant, accessible and inclusive as possible.”

Constituents and colleagues with questions about “Our Road Reimagined” are encouraged to email GBHEM directly at communications@gbhem.org. Followers can expect regular updates from the agency throughout the fall and winter.

About GBHEM: The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry embraces the ministry of learning and leadership formation in The United Methodist Church and Wesleyan tradition; serving Christians around the world who are shaped by a process of intellectual engagement, spiritual and character formation, and leadership development. We cultivate a dynamic culture of call and vocational discernment that encourages lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in God’s ministry and mission for the Church, the academy and the world. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.