Our Master of Business Administration faculty is comprised of professionals from around the country. These diverse and experienced individuals bring real-world knowledge, creative solutions and unique ideas to their teaching.
Carol Britton-Grant, MBA, CPCU, ARe, AU, AIS, ARM, AFIS, AIAF, AIM, AMIM, APA, ARC
Carol Britton-Grant, CPCU, has over 30 years of insurance/reinsurance industry experience as an accountant and underwriter. She began her reinsurance underwriting career in 1999 with Munich Re America as an Associate Treaty Underwriter Trainee. She then held additional positions at Munich Re, such as treaty underwriter director in the regional markets group and treaty underwriter AVP with responsibilities that include multi-line treaty underwriting and account manager responsibilities. In July 2007, Britton-Grant moved to GMAC Re, which later became Maiden Re, and held positions as a broker treaty underwriter, direct group VP treaty underwriter and direct group underwriting manager. Currently, Britton-Grant holds the position of VP casualty underwriting at Munich Re America. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Brooklyn College and received her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. Briton-Grant currently is serving the CPCU Chapter Governor for Upstate New York. In addition to the CPCU designation, she holds other Institute Associate Designations, such as the AFIS designation and NJ Property & Casualty License. Since 2017, she is also adjunct professor at Olivet College.
Steve Ellis, MBA, CPCU, AIC
Steve Ellis, MBA, CPCU, AIC, has been teaching at Olivet College since 2017, and he previously earned his Master of Business Administration in Insurance from the College. In his professional role, he serves as the assistant vice president and claims field manager for auto physical damage claims at Liberty Mutual Insurance.
“Teaching has always been a passion. I call myself a lifelong learner,” Professor Ellis said. “I continue to learn with every class I teach and that fits into my philosophy. I thrive in an environment where I can share perspectives and collaborate, interact with other people, hear their perspectives, engage in dialogue and then upload assignments based on that collaboration. I start every class by asking each student the number of years they’ve been in the industry. Then I add them together and say there is a lot to learn from one another.
“I teach Quantitative Analysis and Decision Making for Management, Ethics and Leadership and Advanced Spreadsheets and Databases.
“The Quantitative Analysis and Decision Making for Management is especially important because I believe you can’t understand something until you can describe it with numbers. I teach it from a theoretical perspective. As a manager, I’ve never been asked to perform quantitative analysis myself, but I have been asked to make decisions based on the analysis presented to me. If I don’t understand that, I might make the wrong decision. I teach students the background to derive data and help them become more confident in decision making.
“I always aim real-life examples around academic lessons. Hopefully I give students a perspective of how certain topics manifest themselves in the real world after reading about it theoretically. Secondly, I always encourage students to get connected and stay connected. I love that this role allows me to connect with and stay in touch with so many industry professionals across the nation, and I get most excited when former students reach back out after they graduate to share how the program impacted them.
“I want students considering OC’s MBA program to know that continuous education is the key to improving yourself. Many professionals are anxious about the time investment. You’ll be surprised about what you can accomplish if you just start.”
Robert Galbraith, CPCU, CLU, ChFC
Robert Galbraith has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry in a variety of leadership positions with USAA, Citigroup and the Federal Reserve Board. He is an internationally recognized thought leader on insurance who is a frequent media contributor and keynote speaker on the future of insurance. Galbraith is the author of the international bestselling book “The End Of Insurance As We Know It.” He holds a Master of Science in insurance management from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Michigan State University. In addition, he holds the CPCU, CLU and ChFC professional designations.
Joseph Louwagie, MBA, CPCU, SCLA, AIC, AIM
Joseph Louwagie is head of the strategy and innovation group for the claims division of Verisk Insurance Solutions. In this role, Louwagie is responsible for three departments of the claims division, including data and analytics, product innovation, and strategy and business development. This includes the divisional strategic and operational planning, business development, mergers and acquisitions, monitoring the major division level goals and objectives, and assessing the competitive environment.
Previously, Louwagie was assistant vice president of Property Claim Services® (PCS®) where he was responsible for catastrophe identification, loss estimating, and activities related to catastrophe response and mitigation.
Louwagie has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, including extensive work in property and auto claims and catastrophe response management. Prior to Verisk, he served at USAA where he spent 11 years, primarily in management of auto and property claims operations. His time at USAA included job rotations as chief of staff for the P&C president and as an HR generalist supporting the senior leaders of the P&C organization. He also worked as a catastrophe coordinator at The St. Paul, where — after directing the claims response to 13 catastrophes in one year — he received the Chairman’s Award.
Louwagie graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in risk management and insurance and from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he attained his MBA. He holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, Senior Claim Law Associate, Associate in Claims and Associate in Management designations. He began his business career as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer on a two-year assignment in Paraguay.
Diane McClary, MBA, CPCU
Diane McClary, MBA, CPCU serves as an adjunct professor in the MBA-Insurance program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin Steven’s Point and an MBA from Olivet College. She has been a career State Farm employee, spanning four states and multiple roles, including claims, management, special investigative unit and training, and she is currently part of the actuary department.
McClary is passionate about engaging others to dig a little deeper. Her philosophy is no one has all the answers, but we should all have questions. She believes hearing others’ perspectives, experiences and ideas helps us all become more well-rounded in our personal professional lives.
Cynthia “Cea” Noyes, J.D.
Cynthia (Cea) Noyes, J.D., is Chair of the Social Sciences Department and professor of sociology and anthropology at Olivet College. She completed her bachelor’s degree in anthropology (archaeology) at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana after first studying at the University of Maryland in Munich, Germany. Professor Noyes earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law, then practiced law in New Hampshire for 11 years before coming to Olivet College in 1995. Professor Noyes was one of the first certified mediators in the State of New Hampshire. She continues her interest in alternative dispute resolution, teaching and training students in conflict management processes such as mediation and restorative justice practices.
Cathy Smith, MS Business Management, CPCU
Karyn Smith, MBA, CPA, CFC, CLU, CPCU
Karyn Smith has been teaching at the college level since 2006. She began this career at Georgia Perimeter College (now a part of the Georgia State University system) in metro Atlanta. After relocating to Normal, Illinois, in 2008 when her husband accepted a position with State Farm, Smith continued teaching for Georgia State online while also teaching at Illinois State University. Smith has been with Olivet College since 2017.
Smith has taught financial accounting, managerial accounting and introduction to business at the undergraduate level. At the graduate level for Olivet, Smith has taught corporate accounting, financial planning and enterprise risk management, and she is assigned to teach employee benefits. Smith has worked with multiple classroom management software platforms, including Blackboard, Desire to Learn (D2L) and Sakai.
Before teaching, Smith advanced her career in retirement housing first as a financial manager for a retirement community, then as a consultant to assist clients in gaining project financing, marketing analysis, and completing any required Certificate of Need applications. Later, she was licensed with Equitable Life Insurance as a registered representative. During her career with Equitable, Smith used proprietary software to provide financial planning analysis to clients to assist them in understanding their financial needs and built a client base of more than 500 households.
Smith graduated from Indiana University with an MBA with a concentration in Accounting. She is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in Indiana. She also maintains a designation as a Certified Financial Planner and was awarded CLU and ChFC designations by the American College.
Smith is now retired from Illinois State University but keeps busy with her Olivet College course assignments. She has also served on the Town Council of Normal since 2019. In her ‘spare’ time, Smith enjoys spending time with her husband, Robin, and daughter, Bella, their dogs, Bandit and Hazel, swimming, and weight training.
Christine A. Sullivan, MBA, CPCU, AIM
Christine A. Sullivan MBA, CPCU, AIM, is the president and owner of CAS Consulting, LLC, which specializes in providing subject matter expertise in claim handling practices and procedures for insurers, educational institutions, law firms, and other supporting businesses. She is on the faculty for the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management where she teaches courses in financial management, health care finance, economics, business ethics and leadership, strategic thinking and strategic management in the MBA program. She is also a faculty member at Olivet College where she teaches economics in the MBA in Insurance program. Previously, she was an adjunct professor at Illinois State University where she taught the risk and insurance and liability courses.
Prior to starting her own consulting company in 2011, Sullivan was a vice president in claims with the Allstate Insurance Company. She started her insurance career at Allstate in 1976 as a casualty claim adjuster and progressed through several technical and managerial assignments before being a named an officer in 2000. As a vice president, she had responsibility for injury and liability claim handling processes, practices, and procedures on a countrywide basis. She was also the chief claims compliance officer from 2009-11.
Sullivan earned her bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of New Hampshire and her MBA degree in finance and marketing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sullivan holds the AIM and CPCU designations from the Insurance Institute of America and the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters. In September 2004, Sullivan was named Claims Professional of the Year by the Editorial Advisory Board of Claims Magazine. She has served on several industry and educational boards and is a contributing author for several textbooks for the Insurance Institute of America.
Contact Mike Lazusky, director of adult professional and graduate admissions, via email or by phone at 269-749-6612.