Franci Neely, a retired partner at Susman Godfrey LLP, has both collected hats from all over the world and worn many of her own. She claims that one of her top influences, law partner Steve Susman, offered her some of her best career advice, encouraging her to “not procrastinate” and to always create a high-quality work product without waiting for perfection.
Throughout her life, Franci Neely has held fast to that advice. Now, she is the leader of the Franci Neely Foundation and a very dedicated philanthropist on the board of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Moody Center for the Arts, and Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
For Franci Neely, Procrastination is Not an Option
Franci Neely is determined to travel to all the countries of the world and reports that she’s making progress towards this goal. She’s already set foot in more than 180 countries. ”When people ask me what my favorite trip has been so far,” Neely states, “I usually answer with the one I just had.”
Franci Neely says that, ”Traveling is a great way to learn. Enter such experiences with an open-minded attitude, and you will gain a lot of insight into the world and its differences, which is simply the best form of education there is.”
Exploring different countries, she enjoys sampling the local food and shopping for distinctive clothes in local stores. However, Franci Neely has gained something even more valuable from her travels: the connections she has made from the Philippines to Cameroon, and everywhere in between.
Throughout her travels, she connected with a large number of people through the art of pen pal writing and continues to maintain contact with a good number of them.
In 2008, Franci Neely was placed on the list of the Houston 50 Women of Influence and proudly declared, “I am the one who has been greatly benefited by this.”
Franci Neely expresses her appreciation for all of the relationships she has built, from her pen pals to the five grandchildren and eight godchildren she has. Family and friends are very important to her, and she cherishes them.
Franci Neely Recognizes the Value of Time
Neely states that when you’re younger, it is easy to assume you have forever to do things. However, no one knows how much time they have, so they should take initiative and set achievable objectives. Franci Neely acknowledges that she is not perfect and is continuously striving to better the lives of those around her. She wishes that her epitaph would read, “She sought to make a difference in the world.”
According to Franci Neely, having been lucky in life demands that one give back. She believes that money provides the means to make things better for those in need, which she has been dedicated to doing.
Inprint, a Houston-based literary arts group, recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. The organization, of which Franci Neely was once president, works to inspire writing and to foster reading, as well as providing programs for the community and outreach to those who are incarcerated. Neely reflects on her involvement with the group, stating “My life is richer for it.”
Neely mentions that Inprint has had a considerable effect on the local community, seeing more than 15,000 people annually. She goes on to state that the organization’s 40-year history of promoting, praising, and honoring diverse literature has made it a well-known literary source across the world.
The Houston philanthropist is passionate about supporting the arts as is something she has been familiar with since childhood. To continue this legacy, she co-founded the Houston Cinema Arts Society and works on the Art of the Islamic Worlds subcommittee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Additionally, she chaired the Baker Institute’s 25th Anniversary Gala, which was attended by President Barack Obama.