THANK YOU, COASTAL EMPIRE!
LFPR’s journey over the past decade has been a lot of hard work, a lot of fun, and as we say here in the South, a real blessing! As I look back on my time in the USA, I am so thankful we chose the Coastal Empire as our home.
When I moved to beautiful Bryan County Georgia from London England, I knew I was in for a great adventure, both personal and professional. Having sold my London-based marketing agency in 2007 just before the big economic downturn the following year, I ran the global PR division of the acquiring group for 18 months. I then turned it over to the new owners and set out across the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life with my American husband. I had spent my first 40 years in Jolly Old England, as well as our first decade of marriage, but in 2009 it was now time to ‘go west’ and set up our new homestead in the USA.
We could have moved anywhere in the USA, and looked at and considered a number of places across the Mid-West and East Coast. We chose the greater Savannah area for many reasons, and I am grateful that we did. This part of the world offers a wonderful quality of life, a vibrant and growing economy, generally good (and always warm) weather, and easy travel access to the rest of the country. The best thing we discovered, however, was a great sense of community and some of the warmest and most welcoming people in the world. Some of our close family loved Coastal Georgia as much as we did, and as a result my beautiful grand-daughters will grow up not with my British accent, or my husband’s Mid-West twang, but instead with a lovely Savannah accent.
I took a summer to settle in, acclimatize our dogs, and take an active role in my mother in law’s last two years and my eldest grand-daughter’s first two. My husband was still travelling the world in his job, but our center of gravity was now firmly in the Southeastern USA. So, in my early 40s I needed to answer the big career question – “What’s next?”
And the answer was Lesley Francis PR, Inc!
The Coastal Empire has made LFPR possible, so giving back to this wonderful community that had welcomed us so warmly has always been high on my list of priorities. I jumped into this effort early on and in a number of ways – serving on the board of the Richmond Hill Rotary Club, eventually being elected as President, volunteering and joining the board of the Savannah Book Festival and Ariel Savannah Angel Partners, and along with two others forming a 501(c) 3 organization and raising the funds to build a much-needed dog park in south Bryan County. I was also invited by our local newspaper – The Bryan County News – to write a bi-weekly column, “An English Rose in Georgia”, which I still do over ten years later. Today, I am proud to say that LFPR still donates 20% of our billable time to non-profit organizations in the Coastal Empire.
I am immensely thankful to this fantastic part of the world. The greater Savannah community has been so welcoming to me, and gave this ‘English Rose in Georgia’ the opportunity to establish and grow LFPR. We now have a high-performing team of eight fantastic women doing great work with our wonderful clients.
I love America and the Coastal Empire. It is where I proudly call home, and I am very blessed. Thank you, Savannah, and here’s to the next few decades!