A Great Bend native is bringing her accounting experience and familiarity with central Kansas to her new position as chief financial officer at Sunflower Diversified Services.
Shelby Zuniga, certified public accountant, anticipates her professional and personal background will allow her to make a smooth transition.
For the past 11 years, Zuniga worked in several capacities for the city of Midland, TX.
“My work for Midland is comparable in some ways to my new responsibilities here at Sunflower,” Zuniga said. “Both involve working with multiple departments and multiple programs.
“In addition,” she noted, “both jobs focus on serving people and working with budgets, while being a good steward of taxpayers’ dollars.”
At Sunflower, a non-profit agency serving people with special needs, Zuniga’s day-to-day responsibilities include: overseeing financial operations; supervising others on the fiscal team; and providing financial services to some Sunflower clients.
“I am looking at the big picture too,” Zuniga commented. “Ultimately, we serve people with intellectual disabilities and delays with an impressive list of quality services that support people from birth through retirement. It is humbling to learn about these different facets of support.
“It is neat to see how important Sunflower is to the whole community too,” she added. “For example, clients and staff are involved in the manufacturing plant, Westside Market and our extensive recycling operation. And they enjoy participating in a wide variety of community events.”
Zuniga also noted that as part of her job in Midland, she was involved in many economic-development efforts. This experience will help in her new position, she said.
“Working in economic development lends itself to a certain mindset – a mindset of being creative and innovative while looking for opportunities for growth,” she explained. “I will collaborate with my colleagues to help Sunflower prosper.”
Zuniga and her husband, Juan, had been considering a move back to Great Bend for a few years to be closer to family.
“I am eager to become involved in the community,” the CFO said. “I have stayed up-to-date on what is happening here and am passionate about Great Bend and the surrounding area. I am glad to be back.”
A 1998 Great Bend High School graduate, Zuniga earned an associate’s degree in business administration at Barton Community College before being awarded a bachelor’s degree in business administration in accounting in 2002 at Fort Hays State University.
She then received a master’s of professional accountancy in 2012 at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa, TX. She became a CPA in 2015.
Positions at Midland included internal auditor, accounting manager, general ledger accountant and revenue accountant. She also served as an accountant for two Great Bend companies.
Jon Prescott, Sunflower executive director, said “Shelby has been nothing short of amazing during her first several weeks on the job. We are very fortunate that a Great Bend native wanted to return home and chose to serve people with special needs.
“Shelby has an extensive professional background, and because she is a CPA, Sunflower can reach higher levels of service than we ever imagined. Clients benefit because Shelby will help us zero in on our budget and grant capabilities to help people become even more independent.”
Prescott also noted that Shelby’s husband “is a great addition to our community. We are blessed to have Shelby and Juan back in central Kansas.”
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 53rd year.