Meet Debra Risner

“I had always vowed that I would never work for an agency—ever, ever, ever,” says Debra. But Fervor’s counter-cultural approach to marketing made Debra break that vow. 

At Fervor, Debra is: Fervor’s Director of Brand Strategy. “In essence,  I’m responsible for how we bring brands to life, both in terms of creative identity and how brands show up practically in the world.” Debra leads Fervor’s signature  Brand Impact Assessmentprocess and Fervor’s creative team, including both in-house creatives and external contractors. 

How We Got Her: Despite Debra’s aversion to typical agency culture, she kept getting drawn into Fervor’s circles. Two former colleagues and a family member had all worked with Fervor…and all told Debra she’d be a good fit for the firm. She tested the waters by doing some contracting work with Fervor first and was surprised by Fervor’s commitment to helping its clients transform from the inside out and do good in the world. She also liked the supportive environment Fervor created for its employees. When the brand strategy position opened, Debra went for it. 

Before Fervor: Debra’s academic background is in communication theory; her graduate degree is in interpersonal and organizational communication. “I’m fascinated by all the ways people connect—all the ways, from one-to-many to one-on-one,” she says. She used that passion in a municipal public information office and a dot-com start-up before spending 16 years exploring human connection at Hallmark. 

Debra Risner

Not-So-Secret Superpower: Solving problems. Debra’s talent for tackling challenges has taken her down some interesting paths, including the time she spent leading Digital Asset Management efforts at Hallmark. “It was really about people sharing stuff,” she laughs. “It’s just glorified sharing!” It was an unexpected focus in her career, and she still does some DAM consulting on the side. 

Outside Fervor: You can find Debra spending time outdoors with her husband and two sons, watching classic movies, reading cozy mysteries and working on her own novel. If you’re lucky, you might also encounter “Soccer Debra”—an entirely different creature—cheering on her sons and Sporting Kansas City.

Digs Fervor because: Fervor is about humans helping humans. “I don’t want to be a part of consumerism culture—inventing needs that really aren’t needs,” says Debra. “Fervor doesn’t sell that stuff. It’s about the most meaningful things in life.” 

Meet the rest of the Fervor team here.