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40 Under 40 - Class of 2017
Business Observer Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 2 years ago

Savannah Francis, 33

Owner, CEO, Elite Property Research LLC

Some people — even her husband — tell Savannah Francis she’s too positive, too cheery, too jolly.

Francis, whose Bradenton-based Elite Property Research has grown from a one-woman, home-based operation in January 2014 to some 30 employees today, scoffs at the chatter. “What’s wrong with that?” asks Francis. “What’s wrong with taking a crappy situation and making it positive?”

Francis is not only positive, she’s also big on pushing herself.

That’s one reason she launched Elite, to prove to others, including a onetime condescending boss, she could succeed on her own. Elite works with title agents and other clients to provide information on any unrecorded liens for things such as code enforcement violations or unpaid utilities that could impact a property after closing. It has clients statewide, and a presence in Virginia and New Jersey. 

While Francis, a native of Southern California, is happy with the growth and success at Elite, she’s even prouder of how the company has hired some people in down-and-out, tough-life situations. A few of those employees have turned out to be stars. Says Francis: “I have a passion for people who underestimate themselves.”

Francis has several passions outside her company, starting with her husband and three young children, ages 1 to 10. She writes often for the Sarasota Moms Blog and is an active community volunteer with groups like the Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center. In work and in her personal life, Francis says a key lesson she has learned is to trust your instincts. “If you have a gut feeling,” she says, “you have to run with it.”

— Mark Gordon

Survey says

Name: Savannah Francis

Age: 33

City of residence: Bradenton

Employer: Elite Property Research LLC

Title: CEO, owner

Birthplace: Southern California

Years on the Gulf Coast: 24

Marital status/children: Married, with three children. A 10-year-old daughter, 6-year-old son, and 1-year-old daughter.

Alma mater/degree: Keiser University, Legal Studies

Best place to network: Everyday life. Unfortunately, my schedule as a business owner, mother and wife doesn’t leave a lot of time for me to get out there and network in a traditional manner. However, my outgoing personality allows me to connect with people where ever I am. I never miss an opportunity to connect.

Messy desk or clean workspace: Messy…but I like to call it an organized mess.

Eat lunch out or at your desk: What’s lunch?

Best business lesson ever learned: Never be afraid to jump when you feel something in your gut.

Weirdest job you’ve ever had: I can’t say I’ve ever had a “weird” job but the one I hated the most was a medical records associate. Putting me in a room with a bunch of files and no windows was pure torture. I need to interact with people.

A website that makes your job easier: Google! Google is my saving grace!

App you use the most: Instagram

One thing you do everyday: Pray with my son before bedtime

Community group you’re most involved with: The Sarasota Moms Blog

Favorite off-hours activity: Blogging. My 10 year old and I have started a blog called Delightfully Freckled. Writing, web design and pretty things fill my soul!

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Bethenny Frankel and Mark Cuban

What you would be doing if you could pick another career: My original career path was to be an attorney. However, today I would want to be a travel blogger. Being paid to travel and write about it would be a dream!

Top item on your bucket list: Travel to Ireland

Your happy place is: The mountains — being outdoors soaking in all of God's glory is what makes me happy!

Your biggest fear: Failure … maybe that’s where my determination comes from.

Favorite Ted Talk: I have to admit I have never knowingly watched or listened to a Ted Talk. However, one of the most moving speeches I heard recently was Pink’s speech for her daughter about being her true self. She stated, “We don’t change, we take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl.” – inspiring!

Skill you’d like to learn: Calligraphy

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Anne Hathaway

Describe yourself in three words: Determined, dreamer and resilient

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