Like many nontraditional students, Tami Frankenfield began many years ago following her career opportunities and aspirations. While exploring her options and personal interests she soon found her passion and place in today's technology-driven world. Here she shares with us her journey to personal and professional success.
Exploring My Options
I am a proud Brandman/Chapman University College graduate, class of 2009, with a degree in computer information systems. My career and education have clearly followed my passions. Notice how I mention career, then education? Maybe not the traditional path, but I think I have always let my work and the opportunities it has presented drive my direction, then supplemented that with the formal education I needed to succeed. Brandman fit the bill.
Yes, I did attend college straight out of high school, even during high school, way back when in the early 80's. I jumped from major to major, trying to discover not only what I was good at, but what I loved. First it was accounting, then art, then marketing...quite a mixed bag. I struggled to apply my academic work to real life. Eventually work got the better of me and I made a decision to follow a career opportunity during my junior year.
Finding My Passion
I always loved the precision and order of numbers, and the creativity that analysis offered. I started out as a bookkeeper, moving to accounting manager, then finally financial analyst. In the latter position, I discovered my passion for technology, really out of necessity. I couldn't get to the information I needed to get my job done, and the IT guys just didn't understand my needs. I befriended an IT manager who ran the accounting system, learned the nuts and bolts of the underlying databases, and was soon designing solutions. And that is what I've been doing ever since, developing business-driven information management, data warehousing and analytics solutions for the insurance industry.
Although I had the hands-on experience and aptitude to succeed, I was missing the formal discipline and structure that I felt my peers had. Throughout my journey, I supplemented my work experience with targeted classes and certifications, but felt it was reactive. I was missing the end-to-end big picture. Although I had tactically gained knowledge, I had not strategically laid down a framework to guide me. This is where Brandman came in. In 2004, I clearly knew my path, and it was time to formalize my education. While working I was able to complete the degree that truly complemented my passions. Today, I actually think I have a leg up on my peers because my education is relevant, current, and offers me a fresh perspective.
Personal And Professional Success
As for my personal life, my husband Ralph and I have been married for 28 years. Our daughter, Rachel, is a student at Chapman University. We live in Cowan Heights, in the foothills where Orange and Tustin meet in Southern California. We have a large extended family; Ralph is one of five children and I am one of six, so we spend much of our time on family vacations. Oh, and that large family? I think it is the reason I am just a little competitive...well maybe a lot. I am also a do-it-yourselfer at heart and somewhat addicted to HGTV. I use our rental properties as outlets for renovation projects.
Today, I am a director at Deloitte Consulting and serve in multiple leadership roles. I am the West Regional Service Line Leader of our Information Management practice, I serve a global role representing the U.S. in our Financial Services/Insurance Analytics practice, and am the Insurance Sector Leader nationally for Information Management. I travel each week to my clients, who are primarily in New York, across the Northeast and Midwest. I love what I do, who I've become professionally, and most of all, how I got here.