Dr. Rosalyn Francis has a keen eye for potential.
“I am a developer of people and projects,” Francis said. “That’s what I do; it’s what I love and what I thrive on.”
She’s developed youth.
“After college, I was a mentor for kids in a detention center developing them into someone they could never see themselves being,” Francis said. “I was also a teacher in an urban community. Some of the kids I taught are now doctors and lawyers.”
Now, she’s a small-business developer.
“We do our best work when others can’t work” is how Francis describes Global Supplier, LLC, the Houston, Texas-based logistics and supply chain company she established in 2019. “We’re focused on supplying the world with the things that are needed to survive these days.”
Exploring how to take Global Supplier’s work in sourcing disaster-recovery supplies and services to the next level is what drew Francis to Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC).
“I was invited to the kick-off event and was very interested in finding out what ICCC is and how they could help leverage my organization,” she said.
She quickly discovered ICCC is, at its core, a developer of developers. Just like her.
There’s a great energy of ideas in the room during ICCC. You can see those ‘aha’ moments happening in real time …
John Stacy, Commercial Banking leader and market executive for Regions in Houston
Through its Harvard-level, “mini-MBA on steroids” approach, ICCC business training, supported by Regions Bank, serves entrepreneurs in under-resourced areas by providing practical insights on capital access, talent retention, strategy, marketing and more. Business owners also get one-on-one coaching and access to online resources following action-packed, in-person ICCC events. The cost of admittance? $0.
Regions has worked with ICCC since 2014, sponsoring training events in Atlanta, Tampa, Indianapolis, Houston, St. Louis and more. During that time, more than 800 small-business owners have completed ICCC training due to the bank’s support.
“There’s a great energy of ideas in the room during ICCC,” said John Stacy, Commercial Banking leader and market executive for Regions in Houston. “You can see those ‘aha’ moments happening in real time for entrepreneurs as they hear practical solutions they can easily and quickly implement at their companies and as they network with fellow small-business owners who face their same challenges.”
Francis has already begun leveraging takeaways (see below) and not just at Global Supplier, but also at another organization close to her heart.
You see, Francis is also a community developer.
In 2017, Francis founded the Settegast Heights Redevelopment Corporation in the northeast area of Houston, where she grew up. Its mission? Addressing poverty, housing issues and safety hazards following the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.
“One day after Harvey hit, I said, ‘You know what? It’s time for me to go help my community,’” Francis recalled. “I decided to put everything on hold to start my own nonprofit.”
She was inspired to make the lifechanging leap from a Bible passage.
“I was reminded of Nehemiah being so saddened by how his community looked when he returned home,” Francis explained. “That’s how I felt. It was like looking at the ruins of a community.”
But not for long.
Francis leveraged her ability to develop relationships with nonprofit and corporate partners near and far to galvanize support and then offer help and hope to Settegast residents in need.
“We supplied just tons and tons of supplies in the community,” Francis said. “We did things like rebuilding the foundation, repairing the roof and repainting the outside of a house owned by an 82-year-old homeowner.”
Francis and team also ensured hundreds of seniors didn’t go hungry.
“We found a vendor who provided hot meals,” she said. “Seniors were home by themselves and couldn’t cook. We would take them Sunday dinner.”
Coming home took Francis back to those early days that shaped her values.
I told people for years, ‘God has something greater for me. One day, I’m going to have an opportunity to help people worldwide.’
Dr. Rosalyn Francis
“Settegast was just a very family-oriented type of community,” Francis recalled. “We had so many seniors who lived on our street. I guess that’s the reason why I’ve gravitated toward helping seniors.”
Francis’s ability to secure supplies and provide support following Harvey’s destructive path inspired the launch of Global Supplier.
“I had an inner voice that said, ‘You should do global supplier work; there are so many people who need supplies,’” said Francis. “I started off with the disaster-management part because that’s how it began with the nonprofit. Today, Global Supplier has manifested, and it’s going 100 miles per hour.”
Long before she launched the company, Francis knew she was destined to do something bigger.
“I told people for years, ‘God has something greater for me. One day, I’m going to have an opportunity to help people worldwide,’” she said. “I was never satisfied working an 8-to-5 job.”
Whether it’s running Global Supplier or through her leadership with Settegast Heights, the chief perk is the same for Francis:
“I absolutely love what I do. I like helping people,” she said. “This isn’t for me; it’s for the people. I want to be able to leave a legacy for the next generation.”
Rosalyn’s ICCC Takeaways On: Capital: “Professor (Derrick) Collins discussed the significance of securing venture capital to help grow your business and take it to the next level. This was especially helpful to me because it’s a component where I’ve been lacking. I know I’m not as good at it as other areas. I learned a lot from his session.”
“Dobbin Bookman was amazing. His presentation took me to a different level of thinking. He’s truly a thought leader. I really appreciated his commitment to small-business owners and how he encouraged us all to invest in ourselves … I want to be able to inspire other women my age and remind them it’s never too late to step out on faith.”
Connections: “There was a couple seated at my table who own a construction business. We connected and began discussing ideas related to marketing. I came away with new contacts and new ideas of how to integrate exporting into my business model.”