Ask Anita Stefanovsky, director of marketing at Frankenmuth (Mich.) Credit Union, what fuels her creativity and you’ll get a direct answer: “A large white chocolate mocha made with skim milk, no whip, no foam, stirred and steamed at 150 degrees.”
She makes specialty coffee in her office each morning. “I have my own barista bar,” Stefanovsky says. “Whenever I need creativity, I make my drink and sit down. It works.”
Her creativity, along with impeccable design sense and a touch of whimsy, has served Frankenmuth—and its 30 branch locations—well.
During her eight years at the $1.2 billion asset credit union, Stefanovsky has designed and built a new website, mobile app, and a chatbot to make doing business with the credit union easy and fun for members.
“Carl,” Frankenmuth’s online chatbot, was born out of Stefanovsky’s frustration with trying to cancel an online service subscription. One night, she used the service’s chatbot to accomplish her goal.
“That’s when I knew I wanted to create a chatbot so our members can get the answers they’re looking for in the middle of the night,” she says.
There was just one problem: Stefanovsky didn’t know how to develop a chatbot. Even so, she dove in as she always does, writing more than 150,000 unique query threads in just a few months.
She enlisted the help of her daughter, Ellis.
Stefanovsky also created the Employee Access Reference Library (EARL), a 1,200-page intranet site where Frankenmuth employees can learn, post, and interact with each other.
“I’m not afraid to take on something new,” she says. “I’m not afraid of breaking something. And I’m not afraid to ask for help when I do.”
Her digital design leadership has elevated the credit union’s profile.
Stefanovsky’s been an expert presenter on digital advertising for the World Council of Credit Unions. Her design of Frankenmuth’s mobile app was a finalist for the 2022 FinTech Futures Banking Tech Awards USA best mobile initiative.
She’s most proud of the fact that she and her marketing department of four “do it all in-house.”
“Marketing only works if it’s memorable,” Stefanovsky says. “Nobody remembers the average, the boring, the medium, or the norm. I approach everything with that in mind because my design is marketing. I want you to remember a rate, a special, a product, a service, or a brand.”