Millennial on the Move: Michael A. Franks

by CoVaBizMag

Michael A. Franks
33, Vice President Commercial Loan Officer at TowneBank, Williamsburg


Contributions to the business community:

Greater Williamsburg Partnership, Regional Executive Council; Member of the Virginia Bankers Association Leadership Division; Member of the Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate; Member of the Hampden-Sydney College Peninsula Alumni Club

Civic contributions:

Co-Founder and Co-Fundraising Chair of the Williamsburg Craft Beer Festival—over the past five years, we have raised and donated close to $100,000 to various local nonprofits within the Williamsburg community; current Member, former Board Member and former Fundraising Chair of the Young Emerging Professionals of Williamsburg; Dancing with the Williamsburg Stars Participant and winner—I personally raised over $16,000 for Literacy for Life and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Virginia Peninsula; United Way; JT Walk


How do you define success?

When I was younger, I thought the definition of success revolved around the size of your bank account—I’ve come to realize it’s much more than a dollar sign. If you wake up and look forward to going to work; if you have the respect of others; you have a mentor; you are able to say you helped someone that day; and, at night, when you go to bed, if you can put your head on the pillow with a smile—that’s how I’d define success.

What person or experience has made the biggest impact on your life?

If it were not for my family, I would not be where I am today. However, from a business standpoint, I would have to say my dad. He told me to take every opportunity that came across my desk. Always tell the truth and always do the right thing—no matter what. Keep your head down and do your best every single day because people will take notice. Embrace change and be responsive. At the end of the day, you want to position yourself within your company to get a seat at the table where the big decisions are made.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Helping my members grow their business is something I am extremely proud of—however, I’d have to say my biggest accomplishment is that I have only worked for one company, TowneBank, since I graduated college. A lot of friends, and people I know, have hopped from job to job. I got lucky—TowneBank has supported me since day one and continues to every day. I’d also like to think my biggest accomplishment has yet to come.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An anesthesiologist.

Name a book that has inspired you professionally.

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley.

What is your best time management hack?

Every morning, I look at my calendar/inbox and ask myself the same questions. What is the most important task that needs to be completed today? What tasks can I delegate that will help me focus on the work that I need to get done today? Most emails and texts always seem to come across as urgent—it is about understanding what is, and isn’t, urgent and maintaining focus through all the daily distractions.

Is there anything that you would change about your generation as a whole? If so, what?

I feel like my generation has become so accustomed to texting and emailing that we forget how effective a call or an in-person meeting is can be. A phone call, a hand written note, face-to-face interaction. I wish my generation would do more of these things rather than assuming a quick email or text message works just as well—because it doesn’t.

What do you think is Coastal Virginia’s biggest challenge?

Finding ways to develop an environment and opportunities which attract the younger workforce while creating jobs that young people find attractive. In addition, I believe competition among sister cities for economic development is another challenge.

How can Coastal Virginia better retain its younger population?

With all the great colleges and universities in Coastal Virginia, the talent pool is vast and easily accessible—it is all about jobs and creating an environment where the younger population wants to work and live.

What’s something that gives you hope for the future?

We are living in a challenging and contentious time—in spite of everything, I believe that people are good at heart and if you pay it forward, the future will be bright for everyone.

From his nomination:

“Mike has a great can-do attitude. Whether it’s getting the job done for his members’ financial needs or learning to dance to show his support for community programs, Mike literally jumps in with both feet.”
—Brian Skinner, president of TowneBank Williamsburg/Peninsula

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