Deb Medsker

Adjunct Instructor; Senior VP, Global Operations, Publicis Media

Deb Medsker headshot

Deb Medsker is an Adjunct Instructor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She teaches Strategic Media Planning, and has recently revamped the course content to reflect the latest trends in how strategic messaging campaigns are delivered to their intended audiences.

Deb brings more than 30 years of marketing and strategic communications experience to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She began her career in media at the Chicago office of legendary ad agency Leo Burnett, developing media plans and negotiating TV buys for the Kellogg Company. Her time with Leo Burnett Media also involved extensive strategic work for the Coca-Cola Company, not just in the US but also in Mexico, Germany, South Africa and the UK.

As the industry evolved to favor dedicated media agencies, Deb helped navigate the transformation of Leo Burnett Media into Starcom, where she led the strategic media planning and buying Agency of Record assignment for United Distillers & Vintners (now Diageo). In addition to pushing the envelope to deliver new placement opportunities in a highly regulated environment for UDV, Deb played a key role in winning the media planning & buying assignment for Walt Disney Studios with her deep knowledge of the entertainment industry and movie marketing landscape. Disney remains one of the agency’s largest clients.

Deb’s subsequent experience has spanned Starcom MediaVest Group, Spark Foundry, and Publicis Media—with assignments across a multitude of industries including retail, fashion, communications, finance, food, beverage, software and pharmaceuticals. In addition to strategic media planning, Deb has done branded content development, promotional and event planning and marketing, multicultural planning and activation, business development, knowledge management, financial management, and online and offline media negotiations.

Concurrent with her work for the University, Deb continues to serve as Senior Vice President, Director of Global Operations for Publicis Media—where she applies her decades of media experience to help teams solve problems and work more effectively for the organization’s largest global clients.

Deb graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (Advertising) and Psychology. Winner of a Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship, Deb worked side-by-side with Dr. Esther Thorson studying cognitive processing of the same message content via multiple media channels, and spent much of her undergraduate career working with campus publications.

Deb has guest-lectured in advertising classes at the UW-Madison in the past, as well as at Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, and she taught “Essentials of Advertising” to Cal-Berkeley students via their online extension program for many years.

Deb is a second-generation instructor for the UW-Madison, as her father Charlie Hill taught Chemical Engineering there for nearly four decades. Her sister Betsi Hill is also a senior lecturer within the UW-Madison School of Business.

Deb is thrilled to be back home in Wisconsin. She lives in the Middleton/Verona area with her husband David and their teenage son and daughter.