Who is Donna Francavilla?


Donna Francavilla is award-winning journalist and founder of Frankly Speaking Communications, LLC, a boutique communications strategy firm. Donna’s agency specializes in voice-over work, presentation and media training, and publicity. Francavilla is a sought-after speaker.


You may have seen Donna in front of a camera when she filled-in as a local television reporter on ABC-TV affiliate WBMA-TV. You might hear her voice on national radio when she covers the state’s biggest news stories for CBS Radio News – heard on 400 stations around the country.  She serves as a guest writer for the Radio Television Digital News Association’s (RTDNA) Communicator Daily and wrote a monthly column for the Alabama Media Professionals (AMP) newsletter where she also served as the Vice President of Professional Development.

Francavilla also enjoys freelance television producing for CBS TV News and Oprah: Where Are They Now television series.

Over the years, Francavilla has won numerous awards. Francavilla is the 2016 Communicator of Achievement, recognized by Alabama Media Professionals. In 2015, the National Federation of Press Women judged her work the best in the nation. She won four first and second place communication awards. That same year, Francavilla won the most communication awards (12) in a state-wide contest by Alabama Media Professionals. Francavilla has earned top honors statewide and nationally, for 5 consecutive years.

The mother of four was elected Italy Chairman of the Birmingham Sister Cities Project and has been listed in the 2015 edition of Positive Maturity’s Birmingham’s Top 50 Over 50.

Last fall, as Vice President of Professional Development for Alabama Media Professionals, Francavilla envisioned and together with AMP colleagues, and other marketing and small business groups implemented a day-long conference entitled Navigating Today’s Media.

As a reporter, Donna has filed stories from many countries: Cuba (Voice of America: 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution); Germany (A 7-part series, NBC 13, Alabama’s Connection to Germany); Peru (CBS: Natural Disaster); France (CBS: Europeans on War); Spain (CBS: Easter) and most recently, Italy (CBS: The Canonization of the Popes), to name a few.

When not traveling, Francavilla feels it is crucial to give back to her community through volunteering and leadership roles.  She serves as the Italy Chair of Birmingham Sisters Cities, Vice-President of Alabama Media Professionals, P.R. and Marketing Director of the Feast of Saint Mark Italian Festival, and volunteers as a lector at her church.  Francavilla served as Birmingham International Center Co-Chair for Spotlight in India.

Additionally, Francavilla served three terms on the Board of Directors of Leadership Shelby County, where she is a class representative and part of the alumni committee. Francavilla is a graduate of Leadership Shelby County (2000) and Leadership Birmingham, (2010).

Francavilla completed two Radio and Television News Directors Foundation International Journalism Fellowships (1999; 2006) after graduating with honors with a degree in Mass Communications from Emerson College in Boston in 1985.   Donna was elected by her peers as a Director-at-Large on the RTNDA Board in 2006.

Published in Agence France Presse, among other outlets, Francavilla has been the subject of articles. She has been featured in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Shelby Living Magazine, Greystone Living Magazine,  H Life Magazine, The Birmingham News, B-Metro, Shelby County Reporter, Shelby County Reporter’s Profile Magazine and numerous other publications.


Donna is a critical practitioner of the electronic journalism profession, having demonstrated throughout her career the ability to tell a complete story with just the right combination of her words what we in the business call “natural sound.” Her incredible talent and skill are matched only by the depth and breadth of her expertise. Anyone who takes advantage of Donna’s advice, guidance or the actual practice of her abilities will be better off for it.

Dan Shelley
Chairman – (RTDNA) Radio Television Digital News Association

Mike CavenderDonna served on our Board of Directors for several years at the Radio Television Digital News Association. She was both diligent and innovative in her contributions to the leadership of our national professional organization. Donna is very experienced and talented in many facets of electronic journalism and media communications. Her work for CBS Radio and others consistently demonstrates a unique understanding of effective communications and the best ways to convey convincing stories and messages. I heartily recommend her work to anyone looking to effectively navigate the growing media landscape.

Mike Cavender
Executive Director at RTDNA/F

Marcy McGinnis Communications trainer:Media consultant: TV news executive: University administrator:professorDonna is a great reporter and writer, and a fabulous media trainer. Looking for somone who knows her stuff….delivers the goods…you’ve got it in Donna!
Marcy McGinnis
Communications trainer/Media consultant/ TV news executive/ University Administrator/Professor
Pamela Auerbach News Manager, Assignment Editor, and ProducerDonna was one of our go-to freelance producers when I was a Supervising Producer at CBS-TV “The Early Show.” She is resourceful and intelligent. Her professionalism, work ethic, and perseverance are great assets, She has the skills to find the story and get the right guests. She is self-sufficient, eager and a pleasure to work with.
Pamela Auerbach
News Manager, Assignment Editor, and Producer
Arleen Lebe Radio News Producer at CBS News“Call Donna.” It’s good to know that’s what we at CBS Radio can do when Alabama is where news of national interest is happening. She is versatile, fast, accurate, resourceful and always helpful on every kind of story. Tornado, hurricane, flood, politics, general news, feature-Donna can do it all. Whatever the assignment, Donna will deliver a story worth hearing. Arleen Lebe CBS Radio News producer.
Arleen Lebe
Radio News Producer at CBS News

Donna's Photography & Videos

Check out Donna’s creative and professional photography and videos taken while at work and play across the world. 

Bio 9
Walking the trail in Peru.

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