Franci Neely Reveals Why Procrastination Detours One’s True Destination — Enterprise Podcast Network — EPN
Philanthropist and retired corporate attorney Franci Neely says some of the best advice she’s ever been given is to avoid procrastination. She says she was originally inspired by Steve Susman, a fellow partner at the law firm Susman Godfrey LLP. “His advice was to give birth to high-quality work product, but not to await perfection,” says Neely, who graduated with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. “Don’t await perfection. Nothing is.”
Another reason the Houston benefactor has fervently avoided loafing throughout her life is because she says she understands what a gift time truly is. Neely has traveled to more than 180 countries, and within the next few years, she says she hopes to achieve her goal of visiting every country in the world. She has packed her bags and headed to the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, India, Andalusia, in Spain, Istanbul, and England, just to name a few. She says she believes travel is the best education you can get.
Throughout her travels, she’s picked up wisdom in the conversations she’s had all over the world. From listening to a woman’s story on a rice terrace in the Philippines to becoming pen pals with a man in Cameroon, Neely says she’s never taken these moments for granted.
She’s also spent much of her time since retiring from her law career focusing on family and friends and giving back to causes and organizations that are important to her.
“I’m very fortunate in having a pretty vast and meaningful network of really close friends,” she says. “We nurture each other and I am so lucky to have them in my life.”
Franci Neely is also quite devoted to spending time with her five grandchildren and nine godchildren. She says family and friends are a priority. “The most important people in my life call me ‘ YaYa ,’” she says on medium.com. “They all make me very proud. They’re so smart, whimsical, and playful.”
Franci Neely Doesn’t Hesitate To Take Positive Action
When it comes to giving back to others, Neely says it’s been more of a moral obligation to share her good fortune with others. “ Money can’t buy you love,” she admits, “but it can give you an ability to ideally improve things for the other. So that’s really the impetus that it is important to me to do that in meaningful ways.”
Neely is also a supporter of the Peace Corps and Doctors Without Borders. In 2008, she was recognized as one of the Houston 50 Women of Influence, and The University of Texas Law School named her its 2007 Distinguished Alumnus for Community Service.
“The arts have enriched my life,” says Neely, who started the Franci Neely Foundation to benefit performing, literary, and visual arts.
Neely was also recognized for donating $250,000 toward Hermann Park Conservancy’s newest water play area for children. This spring, Franci Neely was the honoree for the Conservancy’s Hats in the Park, which raised $493,537. The 108-year-old park has become a special space for Franci Neely, who says she’s proud to be a benefactor. “Any given day, you can see that [diversity] epitomized in Hermann Park,” she says. “So that’s why I’m so happy to be a supporter of that beloved green space.”
In addition to supporting the Hermann Park Conservancy, Franci Neely launched the Houston Cinema Arts Society in 2007 and is on the boards of the Moody Center for the Arts and the Menil Foundation.
She’s also a member of the board of advisers of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. She co-chaired its 25th anniversary gala for the Baker Institute, at which President Barack Obama was a guest speaker.
She’s been a longtime supporter of the literary arts nonprofit organization Inprint. The Houston-based establishment offers myriad writing and reading programs for more than 15,000 people including poetry and memoir writing workshops and senior and youth gatherings.
“Through its 40 years of promoting, praising, and prizing the diversity of literature, Inprint has become an internationally renowned literary light,” Neely, a former president of the organization, said in a press release. “Serving as Inprint’s board president was my singular honor, working with Rich [Levy] and Krupa [Parikh] and Marilyn [Jones] in the atmosphere of grace and wit and warmth they created. My life is richer for it.”
Neely says the COVID-19 pandemic gave her a deeper appreciation for the art s, and she was taken aback by how its absence during the pandemic affected so many lives.
“Living in the time of pandemic taught us a great deal,” she muses. “The arts community learned how to reach broader and more diverse audiences through streamed performances and curated tours and lectures. Those will continue even as we again experience the electricity of live performances and up-close views of original works of art.”
Franci Neely on Avoiding Procrastination and Looking Ahead
Neely says she begins her days waking up before dawn and can’t wait to start assessing her agenda for the day over a cup of coffee. Her to-do list always includes contacting at least one person in need and working on a minimum of one project daily. She says this keeps her days balanced and productive.
“When you’re young, you always think that you have infinite time ahead of you,” Neely says. “No, you don’t. It really goes by very quickly sometimes. Make something of every day of your life.”
Over time, Franci Neely says she’s learned the art of being more proactive and less reactive. When she makes charitable contributions now, she analyzes the causes she’s contributing to and says she’s taken more of a concentrated approach these days than she has in the past. “Contributing vertically to fewer nonprofits in greater amounts is more meaningful than contributing horizontally,” she explains.
Franci Neely also advises setting goals and reevaluating those goals over time. “You change as you age and mature,” she says. “Don’t fritter your time away. Establish goals and keep moving them as you see fit.”
Originally published at https://epodcastnetwork.com on August 24, 2022.