Conference welcomes two new staff members

December 17, 2015

New England Conference Treasurer Bill Burnside is pleased to announce that two new staff members have been hired in the Finance and Administration area.

Deborah Gagnon will join the Conference as Human Resources and Benefits Manager, and Kerry Patles has been hired as Accounts Receivable Specialist. Both will begin their new roles on Jan. 4, 2016.

As Human Resources and Benefits Manager, Gagnon will be responsible for educating and assisting clergy and lay staff members with health and pension benefits and be a resource for all employment issues. Thelma Phelan, Benefits Assistant, will report to Gagnon.

Gagnon comes to the Conference with more than 22 years of experience, having served most recently as HR/Benefits Specialist at STANDEX in Salem, NH. She has expertise in recognizing, developing and implementing techniques to improve efficiency and reduce costs and in collaborating with benefit providers.

“As an experienced Human Resources professional, Deborah brings a skill set that we have not had in the past,” said Burnside. “She will provide expertise and be someone that, I believe, clergy and lay staff will be comfortable talking with about the critical issues of benefits and retirement.”
Gagnon, who lives in Plaistow, NH, earned a bachelor's degree from Merrimack College in North Andover, MA.

As Accounts Receivable Specialist, Patles’ responsibilities include handling the billing for insurance and mission shares, as well as being an important contact person for church treasurers. She will report to Financial Services Manager Steve Hart.

Patles will replace Deborah Canella, who will move from her role as Remittance Specialist to Administrative Assistant for Finance and Administration effective Jan. 25.

“Kerry’s experience is impressive, and equally important, she brings a warmth and enthusiasm that I think will allow her to connect with pastors, treasurers and all our constituents to provide excellent customer service,” Burnside said.

Patles comes to this role from Genesis Health Care Corporation in Andover, MA, where she served as Cash Receipts Specialist. Her past experience includes being Cash Applications Specialist/Revenue Coordinator at NeighborCare Pharmacy in Woburn, MA, and Credit Manager at QSL Corporation in Dracut, MA. Patles, who also lives in Plaistow, NH, is a graduate of Timberlane Regional High School there.

“Please join me in welcoming our new staffers to the New England Conference,” said Burnside. “I am confident that Deborah and Kerry bring not only valuable experience, but energy and enthusiasm that will enhance our ability to serve our membership.”
Contact Deborah Gagnon, Human Resources and Benefits Manager, at or (978) 682-8055 ext. 121
Contact Kerry Patles, Accounts Receivable Specialist, at or (978) 682-8055 ext. 111