Q and A with Julie Fliflet

Q: How do you say your last name?
It sounds exactly like “leaflet”, with an F (and I’m told it is Norwegian). When I got married I gave up my maiden name, Julie Peterson, and am now dealing with Fliflet. Not sure yet if that was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Q: What do you do at the Freshwater Society?
My position will include managing the administrative and financial areas of the organization including finance, IT, human resources, and facilities. Included in these areas would be accounting, audit, budgeting, legal, tax, insurance, risk management, internal controls, contracts, and compliance.

Q: What interested you in the position with the Freshwater Society?
I am very excited to join the FWS, and hope that my experience and expertise can make a positive impact. I am very impressed with the work the organization does, and felt that the position and culture of the organization was a perfect fit for me.

Q: What challenges are most nonprofits encountering these days?
I think accountability is a big one, and also revenue. Nonprofit organizations were greatly affected by the recession and as a result must work harder than ever to ensure diversity within their sources of revenue so they do not rely too heavily on revenue from any one particular source. Competition for charitable funds is definitely more challenging today so organizations must be able to show they are accountable and good financial stewards of their funds.

Q: Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Chisago City, MN. My Dad passed away about 8 years ago, but my mom, brother and a lot of my relatives are still living in the Chisago City/Lindstrom/Center City area. For those not familiar it is north of the Twin Cities between Forest Lake and Taylors Falls. The Chisago Lakes Area has numerous lakes (Chisago Lake, Big Green, Little Green, North Lindstrom, South Lindstrom, North Center, South Center…) so I grew up on the lakes – summer and winter. As a teenager you could get anywhere you wanted to go by boat or snowmobile before you were old enough to have a driver’s license.

Q: Anything stand out for you growing up? My grandfather owned a family business in Lindstrom which was then passed down to my Uncle Pete called the Community Market. It was a small town meat market and they also sold groceries. They butchered, smoked hams and bacon, made homemade sausages, sold cheese, and of course sold lutefisk, herring, and sylta. I worked in the store all through high school and college, and I can still remember the sign hanging behind the meat counter that said “Lutefisk – it puts the fear of cod in you”. I think working for the family business has definitely shaped my business approach today and instilled in me a strong work ethic.

Q: Tell us a little about you and your family.
Todd and I have been married for 18 years and we have one daughter, Chloe, who is going into 3rd grade. We also have a yellow lab named Duke who is three.

Q: Where does your family live?
We built our first house in White Bear Township where we lived for 4 years before building our current house in Lake Elmo where we have lived for 12 years. We absolutely love our spot in Lake Elmo and I don’t see us ever leaving. We have 25 acres of open space land behind our house that is protected in the Land Trust that cannot be developed and we enjoy a beautiful view of a large pond and lots of biking/walking trails.

Q: Are you involved in any community activities?
I am quite involved in our little town. I was appointed to the Lake Elmo Planning Commission and recently finished serving 8 years on the commission. I now serve on the City’s Finance Committee.

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy taking walks with the dog; I love hockey and am still a huge fan for my Alma mater St. Cloud State University so I go back to St. Cloud for several hockey games each year (Go Huskies!!); I love being a Mom and being involved with Chloe’s activities including coaching her softball team; and I love spending time at our cabin in McGregor, MN on Big Sandy Lake.

Q: How do you work with non-accounting professionals to bring them the clarity and knowledge they need?
I always try to focus on the pertinent, relevant financial information. While producing financial statements is obviously important, walking line by line through a financial statement isn’t always the best way to inform and give people the information and knowledge they need. I try to present things in a way that will be easily understood, interesting, relevant, and at a level of detail that is appropriate.


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