Fireside with Frances Jenkins

August 11, 2021 - After twenty years of joyful service to HighGround and our client partners, HighGrounder Frances Jenkins is retiring this week. In her time at HighGround, she has supported our mission as accounting assistant, account administrator/manager and, most recently, as office coordinator. We sat down, fireside, with Frances to discuss the highlights of her tenure, to celebrate her contributions, and to anticipate all that is in store for her in her next season.

What brought you to HighGround?
God’s provision. In 2001, after almost 15 years at another Texas Baptist entity, my tenure ended abruptly when leadership changed, and I found myself without a job. A week before that day, my husband, Lee, and I had closed on a new house and the offer on our old house had fallen through. Our oldest daughter was in her freshman year at an out-of-state university. It was a time of seeking and praying, knowing that God was in control. While regrouping, I found an opportunity at the Baptist Foundation of Texas, now HighGround Advisors, that didn’t ultimately pan out. However, within a short time, HighGround called to see if I was interested in another position within the accounting team. During the interview process, I found out that I had been recommended by my previous CFO to Wayne Cherry, HighGround’s CFO at the time. God is good.

How has your role developed from when you first started at HighGround to now? 
I began as the administrative assistant for Wayne, Ben Curry (Controller at the time), and the accounting team. Wayne retired within the first two years of my arrival. Ben became CFO, and Kari McGregor became Controller. I loved using my skills and degree in the different tasks laid before me. In the first few tax seasons, I assisted Kari and the other accountants by running tapes for tax return verification. I would say to her, “I am married to an accountant. I am not an accountant.” She still had confidence in me, I suppose, because she eventually asked me if I was interested in being an account administrator. I spent much of my time at HighGround serving some wonderful client partners as an account administrator. A few years ago, I moved to the position of office coordinator. In this role, I serve my co-workers and those who call or visit the office.

What about your work at HighGround have you most enjoyed?
The client service aspects of being an account administrator.

Tell us about a favorite memory or story from your time at HighGround. 
My favorite stories are ones from client partners like Children at Heart and Buckner, who are serving families and children at risk. I’m grateful for stories from donor partners like Dorothy Myers and Orville Rogers who, through their gifts, further God’s Kingdom. One particular story I love is about the Ella Roberta Alexander Memorial Fund. Ms. Alexander was a never-married schoolteacher who loved her pastor in San Angelo and his leadership and ministry with Texas Baptist Men. She established the memorial fund in 1980, and through the years, the income from the account has upheld all the ministries of Texas Baptist Men at one time or another, providing water wells in Haiti and Nigeria, contributing to their international disaster relief and restorative justice ministry, and helping build new churches through Retiree Builders.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements or moments while at HighGround?  
Serving others - being a small part of the bigger goals and achievements of our client partners.

Which of the HGA core values resonates most deeply with you and why? 
Client Service. It has been an honor and privilege to have served in an organization that puts their client and donor partners first.

How do you like to spend your time? What are your hobbies or passions?  
Family, especially my grandchildren, time with friends and volunteering at my church’s preschool ministry. I love to rock babies. My hobbies include reading, but nothing too brain-taxing. Just a good read to go to sleep by.

What are your plans for retirement?
Lots of changes for this girl who was born and raised in Dallas and lived all but 4 years of my 65 years in Big D. My husband I will move to a new home in Crosby, Texas to be near our youngest daughter and her family. A new place means new friends, a new place of worship, and maybe starting to cook at home again.

What are you looking forward to most? 
Being close enough to enjoy the activities of my two granddaughters in Crosby and time to travel and see my other grandson and granddaughter and their parents in Superior, Colorado. I hope to eventually be able to sleep until 7 or 8 a.m. and not answer a 5 a.m. alarm!

Any parting thoughts for the HighGround team? 
God bless each of you and your work with HighGround. Each one has a part of the success of HighGround. Serve as unto the Lord. Colossians 3:23 - Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for Lord, not for human masters. It has been a pleasure to have served with each of you. I’ve been blessed by my relationships with co-workers and lifelong friends. I will continue to pray for you and those HighGround serves. Please keep in touch.