50 Notable Alumni

Julie Allen

Co-Founder & Marketing Director – Informed Athlete

Associate in Applied Science

Medical Secretarial Sciences

Class of 1975

Database Programming, Business Classes and Seminars at Parkland: 1988-1997

In 2008, Parkland College alum, Julie Allen, combined her 20+ years of direct and online marketing experience with her husband’s 25+ years NCAA rules expertise and they started InformedAthlete.com, an online based company that helps high school and college athletes and their families navigate the complex NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA rules on issues related to recruiting, eligibility, scholarships, and transfers. Initially started as a part-time venture, Informed Athlete? has grown into a viable full-time company that has helped thousands of athletes and their families throughout the U.S. and internationally including Australia, Canada, Spain, Japan, France, England, and Italy.

Julie attributes her success to the encouragement and inspiration from Parkland instructors Shirley Mahaffey, Betty Riggins, and Kelly Sellers and the many database programming, business courses, and “starting your own business” seminars she attended at Parkland College back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

In 1995, she started Data Management Services, a small direct marketing company that provided targeted direct mail lists, mapping analysis and development of customer loyalty databases. Shortly after her launch, she joined MarketShare, a consortium of marketing professionals here in Champaign.

Julie moved with her family to Oklahoma in 1997 and after completing her bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma Wesleyan, she took additional graduate hours in database development and data mining techniques with a world-renowned database and analyst expert and professor at Oklahoma State University.

She then moved into a business development incubator in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and rapidly expanded her client base by adding tech schools, museums, and non-profit organizations. Her client list also included a 13-year-stint managing targeted direct mail campaigns for Carlos O’Kelly’s 45 restaurant locations.

After living in Oklahoma and Kansas City for over 16 years, Julie and her husband, Rick, moved back to Champaign in January 2014 to be closer to family and friends.

Julie’s most memorable moment at Parkland was “…when Shirley Mahaffey and Betty Riggins, (two Parkland faculty members) took our class up to Chicago and we toured Standard Oil, Northern Trust Bank, the Chicago Post Office, and stayed in the Palmer House. That trip opened up a whole new world for me.”