Donor spotlight: Britton Steele

Networking opportunities inspire young alumnus to give back

A seemingly routine evening class turned out to be a pivotal moment for School of Business alumnus Britton Steele ’12 M.B.A.

“This president named Fred came to class as a guest speaker, and he discussed four case studies of issues he dealt with while at New York Life,” Steele said. “It was all right up my alley, and I thought it was such a cool opportunity.”

The president was alumnus and Wayne State University Foundation Board member Frederick Sievert ’76 M.S., who retired from New York Life Insurance Company in 2007 after 16 years. Sievert was part of an alumni outreach effort by the School of Business that includes mentorship and networking opportunities. Steele said the experience inspired him to create his own insurance company.

“It’s so gratifying to me that Britton has reaffirmed the realization of that personal goal,” said Sievert. “One of the primary passions that I have taken with me into retirement has been a desire to positively impact young people’s lives.”

This was the first of two life-changing connections Steele made with fellow business school alumni. The second came when a friend introduced him to alumnus Paul Glantz ’80 B.A., the co-founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment and President of Proctor Financial, Inc. The pair struck up a friendship, and Glantz helped Steele navigate the ins and outs of establishing a business.

“These guys gave me the confidence to do it,” Steele said. “I had the skill set and the ability, but I needed the confidence. Paul took the time to meet with me and guide me.”

In 2013, Steele founded Provision Insurance Group. He credits this milestone to the mentorship of people from his Wayne State network. “I feel like the university played an important piece in where I am today,” he said. “I wanted to get reconnected with Wayne State because of that.”

Today, Steele is providing opportunities to the next generation of students by establishing a $500,000 planned gift to support scholarships in the School of Business. Glantz suggested the gift as a way to reengage with the business school, and Steele thought it was a great idea.

“I was thrilled when Britton decided to follow through with the planned gift,” said Glantz. “It’s a privilege to earn a Wayne State degree, and when you’re bestowed with a great privilege it is your responsibility to give back.”

Steele agreed and said the gift was the right thing to do because of the many great opportunities he received as part of the Wayne State alumni network.

“It felt good,” Steele said. “It was a big commitment, but I owe a lot to Wayne State and I felt like I needed to pay it forward.”