After a 20-year career in law, Franci Neely, the retired Susman Godfrey LLP partner, has credited Steve Susman as one of her most significant influences. The advice Susman provided was, “don’t procrastinate,” and “produce quality work but don’t seek perfection.”
These are tenets that have guided Franci Neely throughout her life. She currently serves as head of the Franci Neely Foundation and is a committed philanthropist on the board of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Moody Center for the Arts, and the Baker Institute for Public Policy of Rice University.
A Passion For Travel
Neely is an avid traveler, with a goal of touring every nation on the planet, she is steadily making progress toward attaining that dream. She’s already visited over 180 countries, the most recent one being Africa. Neely remarks, “When people ask me what my favorite trip has been, I typically say the last one I took.”
Neely, a University of Texas at Austin School of Law alum, believes travel “is the best form of learning.” She recommends approaching travel with an open mind. “Becoming aware of the world and its variances; nothing can surpass that kind of education.”
Appreciating the Value of Time
Neely reflects that in youth, people often assume they have plenty of time ahead of them, but in reality, they cannot know how much time they truly have. Therefore, she advises, they should set goals while they can. “It’s so important to cherish the time we have,” says Neely. “Time with friends and loved ones is the most valuable of all.”
A Legacy of Giving Back
Neely maintains that she values all experiences and relationships, refusing to put off anything until a later time. She wishes to leave behind a legacy of giving something back to the world. Acknowledging that she is far from perfect, Franci Neely is striving to better her own life and the lives of those around her.
Franci Neely believes that when one has had good fortune, they have a moral duty to give back. “Having money allows one to make the world a better place for those in need,” she states. This has been a core value of Franci Neely’s throughout her life.
Franci Neely is the former president of Inprint, a Houston-based literary arts group that recently marked its 40th anniversary. The organization works to inspire and support writers, provides reading programs to different age groups, and does outreach to those in jail. Neely declared that her life has been enriched by her involvement with Inprint.
Inprint has had a major impact on the community, providing services to 15,000 patrons annually, as Neely noted. For the past 40 years, Inprint has been celebrating the range of literature and has earned a global reputation as a beacon of the literary world.
The Houston philanthropist has a deep appreciation for the arts, and makes it a point to give back to the arts community. She co-founded the Houston Cinema Arts Society and works diligently to add variety to the Houston arts community. She also co-chairs the Art of the Islamic Worlds subcommittee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and has chaired a number of galas for nonprofits in the area, such as the Baker Institute’s 25th Anniversary Gala, at which President Barack Obama was a featured speaker.
In the words of Winston Churchill, Franci Neely lives by one of her favorite quotes, ”’What we get is how we make a living. What we give, however, is how we make a life.'”