Lyon graduate becomes financial manager for STARS Academy

Lyon graduate Iva Popović, ’20, is stepping off the volleyball court and into her new role as financial manager for STARS Academy in Batesville.

STARS Academy is a locally-owned therapy clinic and developmental preschool. As financial manager, Popović maintains financial services by assisting the executive management team

with budget planning and by offering insights and financial advice that will allow the team to make the best business decisions for the company.  

“My job allows me to implement the theoretical knowledge I learned at Lyon and see it work in real life,” she said.

Popović learned about the theory of corporate finance from her economics and business finance professors, preparing her for her current position.

“I am learning how a small business actually runs, not just from a financial standpoint but also from a human resources and, in STARS Academy’s case, a therapy standpoint, too.”

She continued, “It feels great that I am finally able to practice what I was learning about for five years.”

Popović also collects, interprets and reviews financial information, predicting future financial

trends and reporting them to management. She reviews, monitors and manages budgets for both of STARS’ North and South locations in Batesville.

“My favorite part of working at STARS is that I indirectly get to help the kids and work with an

awesome group of people,” she said, “including Lyon men’s basketball alum, David Brogdon, ’93.”

The job opportunity also allowed Popović, a native of Novi Sad, Serbia, to stay in Batesville.

“International students like myself have limited employment options during our time in college,” she said.

This obstacle was made even more challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Finding a job during a global pandemic was extremely challenging and stressful,” Popović said, “but I believe that every stressful situation in life only makes us better and stronger.”

“Perseverance does conquer all!”

She recommends students interested in similar careers participate in as many internship and job shadowing opportunities as possible.

“That experience is very valuable later on,” Popović said. “Network and put yourself out there as much as possible.”

She encourages students to keep an open mind when looking for a career.

“Don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone and be open to all opportunities that come your way, especially in the times we are in.”