Profiles: Louise Phanstiel

Louise (McCrary) Phanstiel

Louise (McCrary) Phanstiel

BS 85, LHD 14

Managing Director at Phanstiel Enterprises, LLC, Member, Board of Directors at Myriad Genetics & Verastem



Louise was in her mid-twenties and had a couple of years of college under her belt. She was feeling uncertain about her future. With $200 in her pocket, she got in her car and drove across the country.

Working as a secretary to the purchasing agent for a small hair product manufacturer, it didn't take long for the owner of the company to recognize Louise had a knack for accounting the company soon offered to enroll her at Golden Gate University so she could take some accounting courses. She worked during the day and went to school at night.

Louise later landed a position as a secretary at a small CPA firm in LA. Then she landed a job as a second year staff person at Coopers & Lybrand. It was tough and she worked hard to catch up, but she was recognizing along the way how much she loved the accounting profession. As a partner at Coopers & Lybrand from 1993 to 1996, Louise was responsible for managing the financial, actuarial, tax and advisory services for 30 clients. She specialized in life and property/casualty insurance, high technology and non-profit higher education.

In 1996, she was drawn to a new opportunity at WellPoint, Inc. where she would spend the next 12 years. In her first position, she wore several hats with titles to match including Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller and CFO of its major subsidiaries. She was responsible for corporate-wide planning, budgeting and forecasting, and juggled a variety of responsibilities including redesigning the company's reporting systems to support expansion to a national Fortune 50 company. It was during the next several years at WellPoint that Louise had some of her greatest successes as a strategic leader and as President of Specialty Products.


In every position, she has worked toward making a difference. She challenges herself and others along the way. Louise has been involved in a variety of philanthropic efforts that include education, medical research and animal rights. She has served on numerous boards throughout the years, including companies such as Myriad Genetrics, Verastem, Inveresk Research Group, I Have a Dream Foundation and Cedars-Sinai Health Systems. In 2013, Louise was the recipient of the Circle of Orange Award, recognizing leaders who shape the future and create positive change.

Syracuse students who were recipients of the Phanstiel Scholar Program tell stories about how Louise makes a difference with more than just dollars. She guides them, encourages them to focus on their career, and she considers them her family. She loves to share how her grandmother lived a life of ‘selfless and silent philanthropy' and was her first example of giving.

In 2011, Golden Gate University recognized Louise as Alum of the Year. She delivered the GGU commencement speech in 2014. She shares the importance of being the "CEO of me" and reinforces the importance of having a plan, but to be ready for adversity, disappointment, make mid-course corrections and reevaluate plans along the way. Her career mantra: Act like a lady, think like a man and work like a dog.


In 2008 Louise retired and also opened the door for new adventures, community involvement and other hands-on projects such as: website design, a blog and YouTube channel of instructional cooking videos. You can find all her creative work on