Upgraded Living February 2019

Page 52

mark francis + jolene francis There are many things that bind us to one another. For Mark and Jolene Francis, a love of their community and a mutual commitment to its betterment are two of these things. It doesn’t hurt that they are also madly in love with each other.

power couples With Valentine's Day right around the corner, we thought it fitting, once again, to recognize a handful of our community’s beloved couples. We refer to them as our power couples, not only because of what they have accomplished in business or life, but because each couple agrees that they derive their individual success from the love and support they give to one another. Although there exists countless others like them in our community, we are delighted and blessed to share with you these individual couples and their collective admiration for each other on display, on a daily basis. To every other couple out there that puts as much stock in love and support as these couples do, we wish time and space allowed us to feature you, too. Happy Valentine's Day!

Both native Chicoans, Mark and Jolene followed similar paths growing up—they were born at Enloe Hospital, attended elementary school within one-and-one-half miles of each other, and both graduated from Pleasant Valley High School, though a few years apart. Mark was in the same graduating class as Jolene’s older sister, and Jolene attended their graduation. A well-loved and respected individual, Mark received a standing ovation from students and parents alike when he was called forward as Pleasant Valley’s ASB President. The experience spoke to Jolene, and the memory stuck with her for many years to come. Jolene went on to work for the Bureau of Land Management while Mark earned his degrees in business and finance at Chico State. Their paths diverged for a few years at this point, but they were ultimately brought back together through careers in the banking industry. Jolene took a position as a two-day-per-week teller at Bank of America in 1979, and Mark soon followed as a loan trainee at the Downtown Chico branch. The two first worked together in 1984. Eventually, both Mark and Jolene moved to a small community bank called Tehama Bank, which was ultimately acquired by Humboldt Bank and, later, Umpqua. As Mark notes, “I worked for three different banks over all those years and never had to change my chair.” Their paths crossed countless times over their years in the banking industry. They married on January 11, 2001. In 2004, Mark had grown tired of the big-bank mindset and, having served in many positions, including president. The banks he worked at, knew he could run a

bank himself. He had lunch with his friend, Brian Sweeney, and they floated the idea of starting a local bank together. Brian saw the value and importance of a community bank, so they invited a few other colleagues into the discussion. The idea took off and Jolene stepped in to manage the project. During the initial public offering the group raised $22 million of local money to fund what is now Golden Valley Bank. With a sense of accomplishment that is hard to fathom, Jolene helped move the bank to its successful launch and retired from banking after 28 years in the industry. Mark continued on as the bank’s president and CEO. Jolene began consulting for other organizations and eventually took over as CEO of the Chico Chamber of Commerce during a time of financial difficulty at the Chamber. She spent three years getting the organization financially stable again, and her work did not go unnoticed. One of the board members at the Chico Chamber was also a VP at Enloe Medical Center. In search of someone with her unique skill set, they offered her a position as the director of advancement and communications for Enloe Medical Center. Naturally, she accepted. Over the past seven years Jolene and her team have been responsible for handling all internal and external communication for the 3,400 employee organization, including advertising and marketing. Perhaps her most impressive undertaking, however, has been with the Enloe Foundation, where she has been in charge of raising money and running the charitable arm of the hospital. It became her mission to raise the bar for the necessary financing of the hospital. Over the past seven years, she has grown the internal audience of donors from 120 employees to over 900. Through her leadership, the hospital has raised nearly $14 million, which has given our community access to a new life-saving helicopter, and other important upgrades and advancements. Currently, she’s in the middle of a campaign to fund a new cardiovascular care center and they’re