CEANNATE LEADERSHIP

MEET OUR EXECUTIVE TEAM

BALAJI RAJAN
Chief Executive Officer

Balaji Rajan, aka RAJ, is CEO of Ceannate Corp, the parent of three companies providing technology enabled services in the higher education lifecycle to students and families, colleges and employers. Ceannate’s enterprise consists of companies META, IonTuition, and Financial Management Systems.

 

META is the nation’s first mobile app that provides college students on-demand access to mental health counselors;

 

IonTuition for Universities (also operating as “The i3 Group”) provides financial literacy and default aversion services to colleges and universities; IonTuition for Employers provides a voluntary benefit to Fortune 100 and small to mid-size businesses to help employers attract, retain and provide financial stability to employees;

 

PIE by IonTuition is the nation’s newest and most complete ISA program manager and Servicer;

 

Financial Management Systems is the nation’s most successful default portfolio manager for education related receivables.

 

In addition to serving as CEO, Raj sits on the Ceannate Corp Board of Directors and has been active in education finance policy and operations. He is a contributor for various OpEds on The Hill and Roll Call publications in Washington. He is a member of YPO Gold - Chicago Chapter.

MAUREEN PETERSON
President & Chief Operating Officer

Maureen Peterson, recognized as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Professionals in the sector, has managed ARM operations in increasingly senior positions for the last 25 years. She has contributed and operated in all facets of debt collection, loan servicing and default aversion. The asset classes include first-party, later stage, and purchased debt collections. She has managed operations domestically as well as near shore. Over the past ten years her area of operational management expertise has expanded into web-based tools and data focused solutions.

 

As President and Chief Operating Officer of Ceannate Corp, she is responsible for operations across all Company subsidiaries. Since joining Ceannate in 2008, she has led the Company through a period of unprecedented growth. The formation of i3 Group, followed shortly thereafter by the launch of IonTuition, effectively expanded the Company’s service offerings to higher education institutions with an emphasis on student-facing web services. Today, IonTuition also serves as a benefit offering for employers. Maureen is also a member of Ceannate’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining Ceannate, Maureen served as President of an Account Receivables company where she grew the organization to over 1,400 employees and top rankings across all competitive client contracts.

TROY HARDEMAN
Chief Compliance and Technology Officer

As Chief Compliance and Technology Officer, Troy Hardeman brings over 15 years of IT management and executive-level experience to Ceannate, including 10 years in the area of loan servicing with a focus on default aversion and debt collection for primarily government and higher education entities. He has worked closely with other key members of the Ceannate executive team for much of his career and currently oversees the company’s in-house infrastructure and information security teams.

 

Troy has successfully led numerous project implementations, each calling for complex system integration requirements in support of the company’s strategic initiatives including its NIST and PCI-DSS compliant co-located data centers as well as the deployment of the LoanAxis(TM) case management system for The i3 Group, LLC, and the IonTuition™ portal for IonTuition, Inc. Troy also oversees Ceannate's information security programs and is well-versed in developing the people and systems needed to maintain compliance with critical data security and privacy standards including ISO 17799 (27002), GLBA, FACTA, FCRA, HIPAA, Patriot Act, Bank Secrecy Act, SSAE 16, and PCI DSS. Troy holds a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from Millikin University.

WALTER PRYOR
Senior Vice President, Government Relations & General Counsel

Walter Pryor joined Ceannate in 2013 as Senior Vice President of Government Relations and General Counsel. Walter is a seasoned legal expert with a background in government relations. His previous positions include Vice President of Government Affairs for Career Education Corp, Principal and General Counsel for the Podesta Group, Legislative Director for Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Deputy Director and Managing Attorney of the National Association of Attorneys General. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Hendrix College, the Board of Directors of Legal Prep Charter Academies in Chicago, the Board of Directors of the Washington Children's Foundation, and the Board of Trustees of National Collegiate Preparatory Public Charter High School in Washington, D.C.

 

Walter earned his B.S. in Political Science as a cum laude graduate of Hendrix College and received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

MARK ROWLAND
Vice President, Head of Innovation

Mark Rowland has been with Ceannate since August of 2005 and has worked extensively in every operational practice area the company has engaged in. Mark brings a wide range of experience in developing systematic solutions to enhance processes and solve business challenges. In his tenure at Ceannate, he has worked as a Collections Manager, Training Manager, Knowledge Engineer, Senior Manager of the Business Intelligence Group, Director of the Data Solutions Group, Vice President of Loanlook, Inc., and his current role as Vice President of Technology Solutions.  Mark has worked in the student loan industry for his entire career and has an excellent understanding of the loan lifecycle, both in terms of federally guaranteed and private education loans. He was instrumental in implementing systematic processes for many of Ceannate’s student loan contracts including the U.S. Department of Education Debt Collection Task Order (2009), Sallie Mae Private Education Credit, USA Funds Student Loan Collections, and several large university contracts.  Mark also led the systems development and implementation of LoanAxis™ for i3 Group and engaged extensively on the development of AuthenticAID, Inc.'s patented solutions. Mark now leads design and development initiatives for iontuition as he works to align the self-service portal's value with the needs of client-schools and their student-users.

LEN STREPEK
Senior Vice President, FMS

Len Strepek’s experience spans 30 years in the accounts receivable management industry. Len has held the position of Contract Administrator/General Manager on several contracts for the U.S. Department of Education task orders from 2002–2008 and led the operation to first place finishes in several competitive ranking periods.

 

Len has managed a variety of business types including FSA default collections, GSL student loans (e.g., USAF, ECMC, CSAC, TGLS), university/campus, credit card, debt purchased, and other retail credit lines. His experience includes managing a $150M annual revenue budget exceeding targets year over year as well as collecting on portfolios over $1B in placement value.

 

He has worked closely with Maureen Peterson and Balaji Rajan throughout his career. Len’s expertise in systems and process management are key to his successes. His team has been the top performing agency in all areas, most notably for FSA. Len credits his success to his management team, well trained staff, and the continuously development of skills to stay ahead of industry changes tied to the evolving collection technology and strategies.

BRENT GIVENS
Senior Vice President, i3 Group

Brent Givens has over 25 years of experience in the student loan financial services industry. He has full responsibility for all operations and business development initiatives of i3 Group/IonTuition, subsidiaries of Ceannate Corp. Brent leverages his student loan program knowledge at the school, guarantor, and servicer level to enhance cohort management services, focusing on the Company’s data aggregation solutions and student outreach services. Today, Brent’s team is the best performing third party servicer in all competitive contracts, dealing with over 900 campus codes, and monitoring over 750,000 students. Brent also championed the development of PiE by IonTuition, the nation’s most complete Income Share Agreement servicing platform.

 

Prior to joining Ceannate, Brent most recently served as Corporate Director of Student Loan Management with Career Education Corporation (CEC), a leading collection of higher education institutions serving over 100,000 students across 90 campuses. Before CEC, Brent held a series of escalating management positions during his 16 years with Sallie Mae., including Director of Lender Due Diligence, where he led a team of over 200 employees and managed over 500,000 student accounts monthly. While at Sallie Mae, Brent was also responsible for business development and service for United Student Aid Funds (USAF) among other national accounts.

SHANN GREWAL
Vice President, IonTuition

Shann Grewal has spent more than a decade focused on addressing the widespread impact of student loan debt, working with businesses, schools, and government organizations to provide assistance across sectors. He began working for Ceannate in 2009. Shann’s intimate knowledge of the federal student loan repayment system has made him ideal to oversee the design of products dedicated to helping employees manage student debt. His expertise has guided IonTuition to the forefront of the employee benefit space, filling the demand for better financial wellness tools.

Shann holds an M.A. in New Media from DePaul University and a B.A. in Journalism/PR from Northern Illinois University.

SRI SANTHANAM 
Senior Vice President, META

Srikanth Santhanam brings more than 25 years of experience in developing software solutions across multiple industries. Prior to leading META, Sri worked for several Fortune 500 companies managing large scale ERP and software implementations and running global high performance computing centers. Sri’s focus was on developing engineering solutions that helped top line by accelerating product development cycle-times and facilitating extended enterprise collaborative efforts between design partners and customers. Sri has also successfully managed international large scale, multi-million dollar enterprise transformation projects . At Deloitte consulting, Sri worked on multiple mergers and acquisition initiatives for Fortune 50 clients in technology, medical, finance, and manufacturing industries. Sri also closely partnered with a $1.8T Big 3 financial institution to articulate and socialize IT and governance strategies.        

 

Sri developed META from scratch, leaning on his technical development background and strategic operational skill set. META’s mission, branding, and applications are all closely nurtured by Sri’s leadership and unique product vision. By optimizing the user experience through a continuous quality assurance process, META is poised to become the teletherapy service of choice for clients across the country.  

JULIE MITCHELL-BARNEY
Vice President of Higher Education, Ceannate

Julie Mitchell-Barney is Vice President, Higher Education for Ceannate Corporation.   Julie has over 29 years’ experience in Higher Education, Accounts Receivable and Contact Center sales and management.  Hired in 2019 to provide leadership and sales management for: META app, a tele therapy app designed exclusively for college and university students, Financial Management Solutions and i3 Group. Her experience includes senior management positions at Sallie Mae, General Revenue Corporation, Enterprise Recovery Systems and Windham Professionals. 

 

Julie has also held several state, regional and national association positions including a 2 term Commercial Chair for the Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Corporation.  She holds a BA from Stephens College in Columbia, MO.

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