STEPHANIE FRANCIS

Company: TIAA
Position: Director of Communications & Operations
Age: 27

WHERE WERE YOU BORN?

New Brunswick, New Jersey.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN CHARLOTTE AREA?

3 years.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU?

I grew up in South River, a small town in New Jersey, where I lived for most of my life. After graduating from Rutgers University, I began my career with TIAA, where I have been ever since. I traveled often to Charlotte during my first few years with the company and decided soon after that North Carolina was a place I wanted to call home. I met my fiancé, Chet, shortly after moving down South and we are planning an October 2017 wedding. When I am not focused on work or wedding planning, I am usually building furniture or getting involved in different home projects. I love being active, learning new things and taking new adventures whenever I get the chance. All in all, I am a simple girl with a big heart and passion for living life to the fullest.

DURING YOUR TIME VOLUNTEERING FOR A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY OR PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?

While volunteering for “A Prom to Remember,” an organization that hosts proms for teens battling and in remission of cancer, there are many memorable moments. But, one that stands out for me very specifically was from the 2015 prom. A young boy, dressed head to toe in his prom best, was being escorted up to the red carpet in his wheel chair, connected to oxygen tanks and tubes. Although he could not walk, let alone dance, he had his best friend by his side as his date and when I asked him if he was ready to have a good time, he replied, ‘this is the best night of my life.’ Despite the unfortunate hand that they were dealt, these teens put all of their worries aside to spend one night out of hospital beds, forgetting they are even sick. To be a part of something so special for these kids and have an impact on their life is truly remarkable and something I will always cherish.

IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY?

I like to think that I am a positive role model in my community both personally and professionally. I am currently an active mentor to young men and women looking to advance in their careers, and spend a lot of time empowering and encouraging others. Additionally, I participate in many of the volunteer council events and efforts offered through my company to help influence financial literacy throughout the Charlotte community.

WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTEREST?

Sports, cooking, woodworking, being outdoors and spending time with my family and friends. I spend a lot of my free time decorating and creating new pieces for our home.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE THAT YOU STAND BY?

“A diamond is simply a piece of coal that did well under pressure.” - Henry Kissinger.
“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.”

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS?

This is a question I ask myself often. I definitely see myself here in Charlotte, furthering my career at TIAA. I also see myself surrounded by wonderful friends and a beautiful little family. One of my goals over the next 5 years is to start my own non-profit organization that I am extremely passionate about and become a published author. Life can change at a moment’s notice but I plan to take full advantage of living each and every day to the fullest.

CAN YOUR SHARE ONE THING THAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

Becoming a TED Talk presenter. I would absolutely love to have my own TED Talk series one day. And, sky diving!

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU USED YOUR PASSPORT?

Last year, my fiancé and I took a trip to Punta Cana. We will be using our passports again in October on our honeymoon to St. Lucia.

WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS?

It is rare to have a fact about me that no one knows because I am an open book. But, a fun fact to share is that I was a contestant on Wheel of Fortune in 2011.

WHO IS YOUR HERO?

It may sound cliché, but both of my parents are my heroes. There is no way I would ever be where I am in life if it were not for them. My mother and father are the undoubtedly the most selfless people I know and continue to amaze me everyday. I always say that I hope I can do for my children at least half of what my parents have done for me. They have worked hard their entire lives to support our family and would give up their time and money in a heartbeat to help a friend in need. My parents are the people that I want to become one day and there are not enough words to ever describe how grateful I am for the them.

WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?

The last book I read was “The Woman in Cabin 10.” I have done a good bit of traveling over the past year and I am constantly reading books during long flights. I also just recently finished, “Girl Boss,” which was a great read and one I highly recommend!

WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?

Recently, I watched “Hidden Figures.” Great movie - might be one of my new favorites.

WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?

It has been about a year or so since I went to a concert but I certainly plan on attending quite a few this year. The last concert I saw was in Charlotte and it was Tim McGraw.