Board Member Highlights: Chapter Board Chairs Francie Jones, Chair of the Western Los Angeles Chapter Board
What is your current professional role? Before I retired in 2018, I enjoyed 32 years in the legal industry, specifically law firms. I held positions from legal secretary to director of administration. Back in the day, I jokingly referred to myself as camp counselor working with law schools and overseeing summer internship programs. The acronyms 1L, 2L, 3L, OCI and NALP were used daily. In later years, I honed my focus on human resources and administration collaborating closely with staff, department managers, executive directors, associates and partners to establish policies and best practices. My association with professional groups like the Legal Recruitment Association and Association of Legal Administrators were instrumental in my development and growth.
What was your first job? I grew up in LaGrange, IL (a suburb of Chicago), and I remember having several jobs around the house. The worst one was having to mow the lawn, because my older brothers were allergic to grass. Go figure. My first paying job was as a trail-horse guide. Along with that came feeding the horses and cleaning their stalls between rides. Oh, boy did my family tease me about how much I reeked when I got home.
Where did you grow up? While I spent my formative years in LaGrange, IL, I relocated to Grosse Pointe, MI (a suburb of Detroit) with my dad when I was 15. This is where I completed high school and learned to drive; so I know my way around Detroit much better than Chicago. One of my favorite places to go in Detroit was Greek Town, where there was lively entertainment and delicious food.
What is a fun fact about you or a secret skill you have? I love to tinker. Give me something to fix, and I’m happy.
What is your personal connection to the Red Cross? When I took a Red Cross Fundamental class in Long Beach for my CERT I requirement back in 2016, I was hooked. I learned that the Red Cross does so much more than blood drives. I immediately got in touch with my local program specialist and started the application process.
To set the hook even more, after my dad died in early 2017, I found among his personal belongings a postcard dated Feb. 3, 1944, addressed to my great grandmother from the Prisoners of War Department of King George VI. The postcard provides information from the International Red Cross Committee about the internment camp my father and his family had been sent to in Shanghai on Sept. 19, 1943. I find so many things about this remarkable, especially that it took more than 4 months for this information to reach the family.
After all of this, I’m honored to be celebrating my fifth-year anniversary with the Red Cross on Oct. 31, 2021.