Hi everyone, I’m Fran Muench, Financial Coordinator at First Presbyterian Church. I grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights. After attending a huge high school, I wanted the small college experience. Attending William Woods University was perfect. Along with my education, I had the opportunity to gain leadership experience in a variety of organizations, including Alpha Phi, student senate, and the honor society. I graduated as the Outstanding Scholar with a B.A. in Marketing. Later in life, I completed the Chartered Financial Consultant Designation through The American College of Financial Services.
My career journey started with a couple years spent at the Edward Jones headquarters in St. Louis as a marketing research specialist and licensed investment representative. Next I moved into a management career, spending more than 25 years in operations leadership at State Farm in Columbia. This experience provided me with the opportunity to lead a wide variety of teams and projects. Due to company restructuring, I needed to move into a new career phase. So I took the opportunity to reinvent myself by joining the nonprofit world – first as project coordinator for Grade A Plus, and then as financial coordinator at First Presbyterian.
Community involvement is a priority in my life. I’m an active member of Trinity Presbyterian Church, serving on the Finance and Worship committees. I serve as a board member for three nonprofit organizations: Grade A Plus, William Woods Alumni, and the City of Columbia New Century Fund. I’ve been a member of Women’s Network for nearly 20 years. The XWN program was my gateway into serving on committees. This is my third year as part of Women’s Network leadership. I co-chair the Mentoring Program and serve on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce.
My husband, Jim, and I met in college. We raised our son and daughter here in Columbia, but now we’re empty nesters. Both kids attended college in Kirksville, and our son had a job in Iowa for a couple years. Fortunately, they both now reside in Columbia, so we can frequently have family time together.
As for hobbies, I enjoy gardening, fitness walking, reading, visiting Missouri wineries, and singing soprano in church choir. My Facebook friends know that I post many photos of my flowers and other plants throughout gardening season.
Travel to new places is another passion. Our family has enjoyed exploring many locations in the US and Canada. But my biggest travel adventure was a 3.5-week European tour of five countries as part of a World of the Renaissance college course. Jim and I look forward seeing more of Europe via river cruise in a future trip.
My advice for other Women’s Network members, based on my personal experience, is that you will maximize your benefits from WN membership by getting involved in something besides just the monthly luncheon meetings. Check out the XWN (Experience Women’s Network) program, join a committee, attend mixers and other special events, sign up for the mentoring program – there are so many opportunities. As we hopefully move beyond pandemic concerns this year, make it a goal to ramp up your involvement in WN – it’s the best way to build your network!