Opportunities are Everywhere: Meet Kelly Parker

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Smart, dedicated and always at the ready when students need her, Kelly Parker ’05 (pictured second from right), risk management and insurance program administrator, MBA program coordinator and Gamma Iota Sigma student advisor, is a staple of Olivet’s nationally ranked RMI program. In July, Parker learned she is one of 11 insurance industry professionals nationwide to receive a master’s degree scholarship from the Spencer Educational Foundation Inc. She plans to use her scholarship toward the management in training and development online program at University of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill.

Parker is an Olivet resident, and has been all her life, but she never thought she’d be right where she is now. In less than a month, she will begin pursuing her master’s degree and in October, will celebrate her five-year anniversary of working at Olivet. Parker went out on a limb when applying for the scholarship through SEF. Since she’s technically in the education field, she was concerned that she wouldn’t meet the insurance industry qualifications for the scholarship. “It was a great lesson for me and for the students I work with,” Parker said. “I went for it and I received a great opportunity because of it.”

Leave Your Comfort Zone for Opportunity, It’s Worth It

This isn’t the first time Parker has pursued an uncharacteristic opportunity that rewarded her tremendously. In 2011, Parker was on her way to another job interview when she was called and invited to interview at Olivet. When Carol Breed, recently retired director of risk management and insurance, told her the position she would be interviewing for was in the RMI program, Parker did a double-take. She had applied for a different position at Olivet and was unaware that her resume had been referred to Breed due to her  degree in business. With a career background in art education, she was surprised to be considered for a position that was very loosely related to her previous experience.

Since her hire, Parker has slowly but steadily taken over responsibilities for multiple initiatives through the department, including Olivet’s Master of Business Administration in Insurance program. With her help, the program has seen a leap in enrollment, and in September, Parker will travel to Hawaii with current and past MBA students to the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter Conferment to recruit prospective students.

Discover Your Passion

Now, Parker has two passions: being a student herself and helping other students as they pursue an education. “I really enjoy working with students and always have!” Parker said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re young or old, my main premise is learning.” The first in her family to earn a college degree, Parker wants to encourage others to do the same and to reach any goals they have set for themselves. “It’s all about growth and accomplishing goals. I want to help students get hired for their dream job or gain experience at a really beneficial internship,” Parker said.

Parker is excited and nervous to begin her master’s program, which she will complete in 2018, but she’s looking forward to bringing her advanced skill set back to her role at OC. “My job is a really important one and I plan to continue doing it,” Parker said. “The training I receive as part of this program will help me be an even bigger supporter to Olivet students.”

Become a Student

Parker is proud to be part of one of the best undergraduate RMI programs in the nation, and especially enjoys that OC allows faculty and staff the ability to give personal attention to each and every student. She also encourages any RMI professional hoping to advance their education to take a look at Olivet’s MBA in Insurance program or contacting her at kmparker@uolivet.edu.


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