We’re launching a new monthly question and answer session between Shannon Feightner, manager of Alumni Relations at Brandman University, and one of our outstanding alumni.
Tami Frankenfield almost earned her bachelor’s degree from Cal State Fullerton, but her career took off during her senior year, so she left before graduating. After 20 years of growing through career experiences, she turned to Brandman University to formalize her learning through a Bachelor of Science degree in computer information systems.
Now, Frankenfield is the senior director of Analytics and Enterprise Data for Mercury Insurance. She is also a founding member of the Brandman University – Chapman University Alumni Association and was recently named president. Frankenfield is continuing her education by pursuing a Master of Science in predictive analytics from Northwestern University.
How did going back to school help your career?
I felt an obligation to pursue formal training in information systems and better understand the technologies that were becoming prevalent. I was surrounded by peers who went to school 10-15 years prior. I feel that my Brandman education catapulted me above my peers. After all, I was learning about current technologies and how to work in a global economy.
Who inspired you while attending Brandman?
My English literature and writing professor. He was lecturing on ideology – the way we experience life and how it influences our learning and perspective. He challenged us to question the bias present in our lives, our thinking and our writing. This was a marquee moment for me, one that changed who I am by changing the way I think.
Jim Doti, former president of Chapman University and business leader, was another source of inspiration. I grew up in the city of Orange, California, and both my older sister and my daughter attended Chapman. Throughout my life and his tenure, I watched as he invested in the school and the student body. He is a luminary in the business community, an inspirational and down-to-earth guy.
What advice would you give someone going back to school as an adult?
Just do it! Get it done and don’t question yourself. It will be hard, but you can do it.
Did anything surprise you about Brandman University?
I am a master procrastinator and I manufacture pressure on myself by waiting to the last minute. I didn’t think I would be able to finish my degree but even I was able to finish and do it well.
What would you have done differently?
I would have engaged with students more. I now recognize the value of exchanging ideas and participating in group projects. I asked for help from instructors but I would have asked for more help from my classmates.
What motivated you while going back to school?
Grades – I am a little competitive with myself. I like the process of perfecting something and becoming an expert in something. I really wanted and needed to get A’s.
I had a course on operating systems and I hated it because I thought I couldn’t get an A. I sought a tutor and help from the professor. I received an A- and I did not get a 4.0 because of it but I was okay with that.
— Shannon Feighnter