Ross Williams, NYAC CFO and Director of Administration Announces Plans to Retire, Effective June 2021

Ross Williams, NYAC CFO and Director of Administration Announces Plans to Retire, Effective June 2021


God always has a wonderful way of placing the right people, in the right place, at the right time. But this happens, as many say, for a reason and a season. And believing it, doesn’t lessen the sadness when the time comes to say “goodbye” to one of your own.

The latest member of the New York Annual Conference (NYAC) in-house team getting set to offer a goodbye is Ross Williams—our dedicated, diligent, and highly respected Chief Financial Officer and Director of Administration. 
Williams, will be leaving NYAC effective June 30, 2021 to begin a season of much-needed renewal, respite, and retirement. 
In typical fashion, Williams, 57, is thoughtful and pragmatic about this impending new chapter. “It’s just time. It’s been ten years of great ministry, but you get to the point when you just know that it’s time for the next thing. And for me, the next thing is taking life a little bit easier and being able to stop to smell the roses.” 
Making a Long-lasting Impact on the New York Annual Conference

Williams will be missed in unimaginable ways.

For the 10 years that he has been in service to our Conference, Williams has focused attentions on shaping NYAC finance and administration (indeed, and some would say the Conference as a whole) into a finely-tuned machine focused on professionalism, intentionality, customer service, and excellence at all levels.  
Williams is a life-long United Methodist who was born and married at Asbury Crestwood UMC, attended Darien UMC for over 25 years and currently calls New Canaan UMC his home church.  During his professional career, he has served in a variety of local church positions including Treasurer, Finance Chair, Stewardship Chair and member of the Staff Parish-Relations Committee.  
Since joining the NYAC Williams has helped guide the Conference and its local churches through rough waters that include the myriad uncertainties of a global recession, a challenging leadership transition encompassing six Bishops, a large-scale renovation, transition into new office space in White Plains, New York and now, the Coronavirus pandemic. 
In reflecting on this news, Bishop Bickerton explains, “Ross’ impending retirement evokes a lot of mixed emotions.  I have never worked with a CFO that works as hard as Ross does.  His deep loyalty and commitment to the United Methodist Church and to our New York Annual Conference is clearly evident and will be deeply missed.” 
Bishop adds, “Ross has been so helpful and supportive of both Sally and me in our transition to New York and has been for me personally a true partner in ministry.  These will be difficult shoes to fill.  Yet, I know that this retirement is well earned and deserved. I wish for Ross all the best of God’s blessings moving forward.”    

The Right Person, in the Right Place, at the Right Time

In August 2010, Williams joined the Conference after a serving as Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for a multi-national information technology services firm. The move, he says, was prompted by a desire to do something that was more rewarding, enriching and that would allow for an opportunity to give back to a faith which had given him so much. 
It’s no secret that he inherited a department and Conference staff in dire need of a makeover. Williams began what he refers to as a “period of great change and investment.” Within a two- year period, he exited four finance staff and hired five; with the addition being a badly needed  HR and Benefits Manager.  Only two members of the Conference’s 35+ member team that existed at the time of his hire remain today. 
He was instrumental in implementing a long-term plan to upgrade Conference staff and the services provided to NYAC clergy and laity to a very professional level. “I like to think that our staff upgrades have reduced the time and effort that clergy and laity deal with administrative matters so that they may instead focus on vital ministry,” he says. 
“Today, every single phone call, every email and every person who walks into the Conference Center is made to feel like a valued customer, who will have their needs met in a timely and efficient manner. We take care of the small problems, so they don’t become big problems.” 
Also under Williams’ belt: turning a lemon into lemonade in the form of a Conference Center renovation. He’s characteristically modest about his involvement, noting that the NYAC Board of Trustees did most of the “heavy lifting.” Nonetheless, those who were there at the time note the importance of his leadership to the Conference’s transition out of the old, decaying 1950’s style building, into temporary space in Connecticut and then back into the newly-renovated Conference Center in December 2016. 
Bishop Bickerton remembers those days transitional vividly and how Williams stepped up on behalf of the Conference. “In the few weeks prior to our arrived in 2016, I was informed that our staff was housed in a temporary facility [because] of desperately needed renovation work on our old space. Ross was instrumental; he made sure all aspects of the work was done with integrity and detail,” he explains. 
“The real blessing of the project was the ability of the staff to bond together in the close confines of the temporary office.  Once again, Ross helped us keep morale at a high level, which made the transition more of an adventure than a burden.”
A New Chapter, A New Season and Time for Renewal

All that Williams accomplished and continues to achieve is no small feat. Yet in true fashion, he wishes he’d been able to do more. “I would have liked to have been able to spend much more time working at church locations with pastors, treasurers and finance chairs,” Williams explains, noting how he would have enjoyed having more time to travel and spend meaningful time with the clergy and laity that he served from afar.  
“I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of this Conference.  It has been an extraordinary fulfilling capstone to a 35-year career in finance & administration.”