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Omaha Magazine

South to North: Fernanda Reutzel’s Heritage

Nov 23, 2020 05:19PM ● By Wendy Townley
Fernanda Reutzel, outside, downtown Omaha

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

One year after graduating from Creighton University, Fernanda Reutzel works in marketing and communication at Physicians Mutual and is active in Omaha. She serves on the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Council, Omaha’s American Marketing Association, and the Junior League of Omaha.

To understand what drives Reutzel—the choices she makes and the paths she chooses—one needs to look no further than her heritage.

“I have been a family person from day one,” explained Reutzel, who was born in Mexico City and moved to Omaha with her mother at age 4.

Family ties for Reutzel run deep. She and her mother, Claudia Reutzel, moved to Omaha for a job opportunity. A few cousins lived in South Omaha and both spoke English.

“But not as well as we do now,” she said with a chuckle. “Mom and I have a strong bond. In the Latino and Mexican cultures, we’re encouraged to stay close to our families. Family is everything.”

Beginning new lives together meant shared experiences and building upon a strong work ethic. Reutzel, now 23, excelled during her years at Millard North High School. She was active in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, which offered classes immersed in global relations. Add to the list DECA, a student mentoring program, and National Honor Society. She counted English, journalism, and marketing classes among her favorites those four years.

Following graduation from Millard North in 2015, Reutzel enrolled at Creighton University. Once again, she invested equally in experiences and relationships. In 2016, she traveled abroad and studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The six-week summer courses included global marketing and managerial accounting.

Never before had Reutzel traveled so far “where someone wasn’t waiting for me at the other end,” she said. It wasn’t nerves but rather excitement that pushed Reutzel to bring the opportunity to Creighton faculty and leave the security of home that summer.

Before graduating from Creighton’s Heider School of Business in 2019, Reutzel was active on campus: in Alpha Kappa Psi sorority (which included a heavy emphasis on volunteer opportunities); as a marketing volunteer for Creighton’s Magis Clinic, which offers the homeless and uninsured free health care; and in Creighton’s chapter of the American Marketing Association.

It was clear early on that marketing—but perhaps more specifically, storytelling—would become the path that Reutzel would travel for the foreseeable future. 

It seems only appropriate that a publishing opportunity would soon present itself.

Last year Reutzel received a message via LinkedIn from Eric Koester at Georgetown University about writing and publishing a book.

“Fernanda’s background and experiences at Creighton showed me that she had a unique voice that I thought the world would benefit from hearing,” Koester explained. “I’m also originally from Omaha, so having authors from my hometown is exciting.”

In early 2020, Reutzel’s first book, The Female Collaborative: A B.O.S.S. Gal’s Guide to Stop Doubting and Start Doing, was published by New Degree Press.

Koester said he is thrilled with The Female Collaborative, adding that it is “a way to clearly represent her story and voice, and to speak to other young and ambitious women like her. The response has been outstanding and I’m happy to see she has clearly hit a nerve with the book—as we all believed she would.”

As a first-generation Latina college graduate, Reutzel understands the importance of higher education and what can follow, “I have the opportunity to be a voice at the table that many do not have,” she said. “I have a voice and the ability to use it.”

She added, “My path has led me this way, and I said yes (to each opportunity). My goal is to keep doing what I’m doing and using my voice.”

Visit physiciansmutual.com for more information.

This article was published in the December 2020/January 2021 issue of B2B.