i3 Leadership

Balaji Rajan – CEO

Balaji “Raj” Rajan is Chief Executive Officer of Ceannate Corp., a leading business process outsourcing firm focused entirely on the students and institutions in the post-secondary education sector. 


Raj is responsible for the overall strategy of the Ceannate companies which employ over 900 individuals across four wholly-owned subsidiaries including Financial Management Systems; AuthenticAID, Inc.; i3 Group, LLC; and Iontuition, Inc.  Each company addresses student relationship and loan management challenges specific to distinct phases in the education loan lifecycle including: in-school and in-grace servicing, financial literacy, repayment optimization, delinquency prevention, default aversion, and debt resolution. Over the course of his time in the education sector, Raj has developed long-standing relationships with and expertise in programs at the U.S. Department of Education.


As a leading innovator in the student borrower assistance arena and based on the perspectives of Ceannate having engaged in millions of student-borrower interactions, in 2011, Raj oversaw the conception, development, and implementation of IonTuition, the first web-based, user-friendly tool to help student loan borrowers manage and plan repayment of their student loans. Raj has also sought to bring the company’s expertise to bear in the development of public policy relating to financial literacy, financial aid practices, and student loan management by authoring two opinion pieces on those topics:  “Student Loan System Needs an Overhaul” (The Hill, January 7, 2014), “How Congress Can Fix the Student Debt Crisis” (Roll Call, July 21, 2014) and "Proven Private-Sector Practices Can Bring Down Student Loan Defaults" (The Hill, March 6, 2015).


While he maintains an active role across all subsidiary operations, Raj focuses primarily on product development and government affairs as he guides the core business towards profitable sustainability. In addition to serving as CEO, Raj sits on the Ceannate Corp. Board of Directors and has been active in several higher education organizations, including the National Council of Higher Education Resources, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and the Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations. He is also a member of YPO Chicago. 

Maureen Peterson – President & COO

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 20 years. She has contributed and operated in all facets of debt collection – from first-party servicing to purchased debt collections in near-shore facilities.


As President and Chief Operating Officer of Ceannate Corp., she is responsible for operations across all Company subsidiaries, including FMS’ Task Order operations for the U.S. Department of Education. 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. Maureen is also a member of Ceannate’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining Ceannate, Maureen served as President of Van Ru Credit Corporation where she grew the organization to over 1,400 employees and top rankings across all competitive client contracts.

Brent Givens – SVP, i3 Group

Brent Givens has over 22 years of experience in the student loan financial services industry. He has full responsibility for all operations and business development initiatives of i3 Group, a subsidiary of Ceannate Corp. Brent leverages his student loan program knowledge at the school, guarantor, and servicer level to enhance i3’s cohort management services, focusing on the Company’s data aggregation solutions and student outreach services. Today, the i3 Group is the best performing third party servicer in all competitive contracts, dealing with over 900 campus codes, and monitoring over 750,000 students.


Prior to joining i3, 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.

John Kolakowski – VP, Operations, i3 Group

John Kolakowski brings over 16 years of receivables management expertise to i3 Group. With expert knowledge in delinquency prevention and default aversion programs, John’s varied and hands-on experience have enabled the Company to launch and sustain successful borrower outreach programs for some of the nation’s largest school systems, credit granters, and asset management firms. John is a true innovator, having deployed and managed complex operations for best-in-class loan servicing at all stages of the credit lifecycle.

Jim Crone – VP, Sales & Business Development, i3 Group

Jim Crone is an accomplished business development professional with over 28 years of experience in the accounts receivable industry. He has managed key client relationships and large scale projects in a variety of vertical markets including education, financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, and utilities. Over the course of his career, Jim has led numerous, successful project deployments by ensuring that client objectives and operational processes stay aligned from implementation throughout contract performance.

Jim holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Dayton.



Meet the Ceannate Board of Directors

View bios for all Board members at Ceannate.com.