By Laurie Davies
Rancho Cucamonga, California
Rancho Cucamonga is derived from a Native American word meaning “sandy place.” As a communicator, Palmer feels privileged to tell the story of how this once-sandy place has transformed into what she views as a premier Southern California city.
“Making a community better — making it a place people are proud to be a part of — nothing beats that,” she says.
Rancho Cucamonga City Manager John Gillison credits Palmer for having as much impact behind the scenes as she has had externally. A certified facilitator of the Core Strengths leadership training and strengths assessment, Palmer has led hundreds of city employees through the material and trained numerous others as facilitators, including Gillison.
“We use it as a common language internally now. It helps our teams understand how to work with each other,” he says.
He also credits Palmer with creating a robust communications team focused on branding, messaging, video and social channels.
“Had we not had someone like Francie, who is authentic, genuine, loyal and passionate about what she does and why she does it, I don’t think we would have come as far as fast,” Gillison says.
More than 2,000 miles away, in a community on the outskirts of Detroit called Lathrup Village, MyKale (Kelly) Garrett (BSBA, 2006, MIS 2010) is quietly making history as the first African American mayor in the city
“I feel honored to have that distinction,” she says. “One of my goals was always to have where I live be a better place.”