Kansas Wesleyan has a new chief financial officer. Annetta Flax ’13 assumed the title on an interim basis January 1, continuing a non-traditional rise up KWU’s organizational ladder.
A mother of five, with four boys and a daughter ranging in ages 15 to 6, Flax’s journey to the corner office has been one of successfully translating practical, every day skills into business leadership.
“At home, it’s more of a manager, here it’s a leader,” Flax said. “You want your team members to shine in their own way, so you are figuring out who people are and adapting yourself to that role.”
Growing up in Clay Center, Flax began her secondary education at Cloud County Community College in 2003 but temporarily put her education on hold to ascertain her future, and to start a family.
In her time away from the classroom, she put what she had already learned to use, working in manufacturing accounting for Hutchinson Mayrath (now AGI), working with payroll, human resources and accounts receivable during her three-plus years. She followed that up with roles with the city government and as a school board clerk.
Flax would ultimately find her way from her family’s home in Minneapolis to Kansas Wesleyan, to finish her degree in accounting in 2013 as a non-traditional student. She earned her master’s from Emporia State University (2021) in one year, after starting in the KWU business office in 2019. She began at KWU as the staff accountant before being promoted to controller in August 2021, and now, takes over the business office’s leadership role.
“All of us in the business office have a really important friendship and work relationship,” Flax said. “We help problem-solve every problem we have in this hallway. We motivate each other, because we understand the importance both of what we do here and what we do outside of work. We promote that balance in this office, and help build each other up.”
Having learned under the leadership of past CFOs Wayne Schneider and Rhonda Bethe, Flax hopes to continue to build on the foundation they laid.
“Annetta has been amazing in working with students and their families on their accounts. She can have difficult conversations and always makes the student, or their parent, feel respected and heard,” Bethe said. “She cares about the people and the mission of KWU. She knows who these students are and is excited to watch them succeed.”
“It’s the connections, it’s the relationships, it’s taking who you are as a person and making you better, helping you succeed,” Flax said of what makes KWU special to her as a proud alumna and now the university’s interim CFO.
Story by Dan Froehlich