Read to Achieve
Lorena Franco uses her hobbies to better her community
By Justin Walker
Lorena Franco enjoys a good book. It can entertain, educate and even allow you to escape. And Franco also knows how it can empower a community.
Franco grew up in Buenaventura, Colombia, a small town full of potential yet poverty-stricken, she said. Franco’s family were fortunate to have everything they needed, but she remembers the emphasis her parents placed on helping those in need, something that has stuck with Franco her whole life.
When she was 16, she moved in with some of her father’s family in Dallas for what was initially a temporary visit.
“The plan was to come for just a year to study English,” Franco said. “But then I decided to stay. My family was very supportive and I am grateful for that today.”
Upon graduation from high school, Franco’s desire to help others inspired her to enlist in the U.S. Army. Her two older brothers had already joined, prompting Franco to continue in their footsteps. It helped that she would have the opportunity to see the world, as well.
Franco served as an E-4 logistics specialist in an aviation unit in Afghanistan. Her team was responsible for helicopter maintenance, ensuring they stay functional during flight, she said.
Lorena Franco, BBA ’17
Marketing Associate; KPMG
After returning from her deployment, Franco was stationed in the Hawaiian Islands—an experience she described as “pretty great.” Her time in the Army helped develop skills that assisted her transition into her collegiate and professional life, Franco said.
“It has made me confident, not only as an adult but also as a professional,” she said. “I have had a lot of life experiences that not everyone has had and I know that I am strong and capable. I can offer a lot to those around me.”
After leaving the Army in 2013, Franco enrolled at Baylor to study Entrepreneurship. It was not a difficult decision, she said. Baylor’s program was and continues to be highly ranked, plus it was not far from her family in Dallas.
Franco continued to help others while at Baylor. She was very involved in the Veteran Educational and Transitional Services (VETS) program. It was there she met Janet and Ray Bagby. Janet, a senior lecturer at Baylor, helped develop VETS and Ray, a recently-retired professor in Entrepreneurship, served as Franco’s mentor throughout her studies.
After college, Franco worked in marketing at Marathon Petroleum before accepting a position with KPMG in Dallas. In her current role as a marketing associate, she provides internal support for healthcare accounts, conducts research and helps plan and facilitate events. But her favorite duty is assisting with the KPMG Family for Literacy (KFFL) program.
“KFFL supports communities in need by promoting literacy,” Franco said. “We donate a lot of books, e-readers, computers and any other supplies that kids may need to be successful at school.”
The program was a significant factor in Franco’s decision to join KPMG, she said. Her mother runs a similar program in Columbia, so the opportunity to combine her passions of reading and helping others was natural for her.
Outside of work, Franco continues with her passion for reading. She has started a book club, and regularly attends a Bible study. Franco is also working toward an MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas, all while she and her husband begin to grow their family.
Franco is staying busy, but she enjoys it. She recognizes how she can help those in need while incorporating her passions and hobbies. And that’s what it’s all about.