Webinars offer new option at support day


By Anne Marie Amacher

Parish and school staff from across the diocese attended Diocesan Support Day April 19. Participants had the option to attend at the diocesan office or via a webinar over the Internet.

DAVENPORT –  The Diocese of Davenport offers a  support day annually for parishes’ and schools’ staffs. This year’s event, held April 19, focused on finance and human resources at the parishes’ request.
The one-day Diocesan Support Day was available in two formats: in person at diocesan offices in Davenport and off-site via webinar over the Internet.
Nancy Karn, the diocese’s accounting coordinator, led the morning session. She talked about parish accounting, QuickBooks, internal controls and payroll. Leading the afternoon session were Char Maaske, diocesan chief financial officer, and Sheryl Lackey, diocesan accountant. They covered employment law, job descriptions, employee personnel files, staff handbooks, human resources internal audit, hiring/interview, background checks and other issues.
Thirty-two people attended the support day on site. Another 20 individuals participated by webinar, said Laurie Hoefling, staff support for the diocese. She noted that some of the webinar sites had more than one person attending, so the total number of participants could be higher.
Maureen Peck of St. Mary Parish in Tipton attended both sessions by webinar. “As is always the case, I found the information provided to be very helpful and well presented. I came to work the next day aware of more changes that we need to make in our office processes. The learning portion of the staff support day is a wonderful asset.”
Having the webinar option saved commuting time and gas – so it’s both financially and environmentally positive, she noted. “However, one of the fun parts of staff days is just meeting the diocese staff and parish staff from other parishes in our diocese … and neither of those can happen via webinar. I am certainly glad that we have access to these learning opportunities via webinar, and look forward to the monthly sessions that are planned for the future. But I certainly hope that there will continue to be some opportunities to go to the diocese’s offices for staff days, also. Face to face is always best!”
Kathy Herwehe of St. Anthony Parish in Knoxville also attended support day by webinar. “This was my first webinar and I was amazed at the technology involved. I would definitely encourage more to use this.”
Mary Ward, business manager for St. James Parish in Washington, attended support day in person. “I chose to drive in because I am a new business manager and wanted to be sure to receive all the information while being able to ask questions and network with other employees in the diocese. It was also very important to me to be able to put faces with the names of people that I have been communicating with on the phone and by email.
“I did like the idea of a webinar option for those who would be unable to travel, but I did think that it interrupted the flow of the presentation because many questions and answers needed to be repeated. I stayed for both parts of the day and found it to be excellent. The presenters were very knowledgeable and open to discussing any questions during the presentation or afterwards.  I look forward to future support days. I would like to see some information on creating custom reports in QuickBooks and some advanced training in Excel.”
Kimberly Tighe, office secretary at St. Mary Parish in Oskaloosa, also appreciated the webinar option.  She liked not having to travel, especially since she was able to attend only one of the two sessions.

Future webinars
The Diocese of Davenport plans to offer monthly webinars for parishes on the first Tuesday of each month.
Computer Tips and Tricks was offered May 1. Future topics are 401k on June 5, workers compensation on July 3.

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