Michael Goad '86
Greek and New Testament
For someone who wanted nothing to do with the world of business, Michael Goad has climbed high on the financial career ladder. A classical New Testament and Greek major at Bryan, Michael has held the position of Chief Financial Officer at several banks in the Grand Rapids, Mich., area.
While working in business was not Michael’s plan upon graduation – he and his wife, Claudia, wanted to go to graduate school – they both decided that getting into the work force was important.
“I got an entry level position as an operations and financial analyst at Sun Trust Bank in Miami, Fla., and enrolled in an MBA program,” said Michael. “We moved to Michigan in 1993, where I finished my master’s and worked on financial modeling at Old Kent Bank.”
From Old Kent Bank, Michael served as the CFO of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., for four years, and later went to work as CFO of the Bank of Holland. He is currently the CFO for Lake Michigan Credit Union in Grand Rapids. As CFO, Michael is responsible for all accounting and financial record keeping, and for managing the debt of the company. He explained that CFOs must also have a thorough knowledge of risk management as they understand and respond to various risks facing the organization.
Michael has found that while he doesn’t use his Greek every day, his liberal arts thinking has taught him to think broadly about the world around him – including the financial sector.
“We tend to think that things are always going to get better, but if we read history, and apply what we’ve read to the numerous financial problems in our country, we learn to predict crisis,” said Michael. “I was at the Bank of Holland when the economy was really booming. We were skeptical, and started preparing for crisis. When the crisis hit, the Bank of Holland was prepared to handle it when several hundred other banks failed between 2008 and today.”
For those considering a career in finance, Michael suggests finding a training program at a bank, or working for a public accounting firm – both, he said, give a good base and introduction to the field. During his 24 years of banking and business experience, Michael knows which of his employees “have it,” and which ones will stay in the same position for some time.
“Work hard – go to night school if you have to,” Michael advised. “Promotion [through the ranks] is natural. Work for positions you’re capable of, and those in leadership will know when you’re ready to move up.”
Michael and his wife, Claudia, who attended Bryan for one year, live in Michigan and have three children. Their oldest, Katina, is a sophomore at Lee University, while their son, George, is a senior at the Curtis Institute of Music. Their youngest, Giselle, is a freshman at a local high school.