Advertising alumna Frautschi establishes scholarship fund for Media students
After developing a satisfying career, Deanna Frautschi (BS ’70, advertising), retired executive vice president of communications and human resources for COUNTRY Financial, wants College of Media students to reap the benefits of an Illinois education just as she did.
Last year, Frautschi and her husband, Alan Bedell, established a scholarship fund for Media juniors and seniors, regardless of their major.
“Because my education from the College of Media has been so rewarding throughout my life, I want others to have this experience,” she said. “I know some are not equipped financially to pursue an education without help at this time in their lives.”
Frautschi said she came from a middle-class family that had to “scrape and save” for her and her siblings to attend college. All three graduated from the University of Illinois and used their degrees successfully.
She advises current Media students to take advantage of the learning opportunities available both in and out of the classroom.
“If you can volunteer to help a nonprofit organization using skills you have gained from your classes, do so,” she said. “If you are lucky enough to get an internship that allows you to use and develop your skills on the job, do so. These learning experiences are invaluable and sometimes help you chart the next direction in your work and life journey.”
At COUNTRY Financial, where she worked for 33 years, she began as a sales promotion specialist, responsible for all agent sales materials, even obtaining licenses in property/casualty and life/health to have a better understanding of the language used in the insurance industry.
“It was my degree in advertising that helped me secure this job,” Frautschi said. “Because I became involved on a volunteer basis with the company’s programs for on-boarding new hires and its Toastmasters programs, I was seen by top management as having more potential for other roles.”
Upon becoming the director of human resources, Frautschi studied with experts from the areas she was responsible for, including hiring and benefits administration. She also obtained certification as a senior professional in HR.
Frautschi was later given responsibility for COUNTRY’s Communications Division and ended the last few years of her career as executive VP, adding the Learning and Development Division. She said she thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities she had for career development with COUNTRY Financial and couldn’t have asked for a better complement of roles where she could use her communication skills.
“My college experiences in class and outside of it were beneficial to my professional life,” Frautschi said. “The advertising and communication classes that focus on organization of thought and creative expression have been invaluable. Not only have I used them in work settings at every job I had, but also in my personal life, volunteering for many community nonprofits.”
Frautschi has chaired United Way of McLean County and served on the boards of the American Red Cross, The Baby Fold, and the Humane Society of Central Illinois, among others. She currently is a member of the Miller Park Zoological Society (where she previously served as president) and is the chair for Greenways of McLean County.
Her current mission is to connect others with the nature in their own backyards—something she is very familiar with, having developed five acres of farm property into a park-like reserve certified by the National Wildlife Federation. She has been writing articles for local and regional publications, taking wildlife photos, and giving presentations on nature topics.
“And, yes, all of these skills were initially developed during my time in the College of Media,” Frautschi said.
—Kimberly Belser, Communications and Marketing Intern