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Alum Inspires Sustainability
Ryan Kola '16 Associate Editor
November 12, 2014

Deerfield Academy will be welcoming alumna Tiffany Franke ’02 on December 3rd to talk about her work to educate and inspire people about how their actions affect the world around them. Franke has developed a diverse and varied career in business where she has focused on how companies, through their core products and services, can have a net positive impact on the environments and communities they serve.

After graduating from Yale with a bachelor degree and more recently Cambridge University, with a master’s degree in Sustainability Leadership, Franke wants to help connect the dots for people between the systems they live in and their own ability to bring about change. “We live in a time where,” Ms. Franke explained, “many of the systems we operate in have become so vast and complex that our own ability to understand them has become obscured.”

In 2012, she took a trip around the world to capture the stories of traditional artisans in an effort to help consumers better understand how their purchasing behavior impacted remote communities and cultures. She went as far afield as the Kalahari Desert in Africa, where she met San women upholding an ancient beading tradition.

Martha Lyman, consultant in the Head of School’s office who knew Franke while she was at Deerfield, explains, “Tiffany traveled around the world to meet local artisans and examine the state of traditional arts in a rapidly changing world.”

Ms. Franke fostered a love for international travel during her time at Deerfield, where she eagerly joined classmates on trips to Cambridge, England and Paris. As a senior, she represented Deerfield at the Round Square conference in Alice Springs, Australia, an experience that inspired her commitment to community service and cultural learning.

While at Deerfield, she fondly recounts exploring the woods with friends, visiting teachers in the evening, swimming in the river, dancing and painting. The guidance and instruction of many teachers including Mr. Heise, Mr. Palmer and Ms. Lyman deeply influenced her world view and reinforced a love for the arts, history, language and culture. Deerfield opened her up to the world and gave her the ability to express herself. According to Franke, she “came of age at Deerfield, and in many ways it has helped to shape the person who [she is] still becoming.”

Currently, Franke is working with a tech startup that hosts online forums to allow people across different industries, functional areas and geographies to discuss issues that influence a sustainable future. “I chose the position because I admire and respect the people involved,” explained Ms. Franke enthusiastically. “I love building things and inserting creative energy, and because I really believe in the importance of what we’re doing.”

Having had over 25 clients across seven industries in her management consulting career, Franke explained that she had some interesting encounters. “I actually gained the most from the quirkiest clients… the Yale Center for British Art provided among the strongest client relationships and impacts of my consulting career.”

Not just a busy woman, Franke also enjoys singing in a Manhattan rock band, skiing, exploring, and practicing her Chinese. She explains that her interests include learning about people, the edges of our systems and their natural wonders, and new models of education.

When asked what advice she would give to Deerfield students, Franke explains: “Be thoughtful of how your life and decisions affect the people and world around you. Live your values with humility and integrity. Be yourself and be kind to yourself. And don’t forget to enjoy the ride!”