When Denise Francis joined International Registries, Inc. and its group of affiliated companies (IRI) in 1985, she communicated with clients and government officials through a telex machine, a predecessor to the fax machine. Reams of paper with important communications would come through the machine daily, with an “immediacy” that was striking back then but in today’s age of digital communications would be unthinkably slow. Filing those communications was Denise’s first job with IRI when she answered an advertisement with a temporary staffing agency 35 years ago. Recognizing that she enjoyed the team she worked with, not to mention the nature of the work, Denise asked to join IRI full-time. She’s been making an impact with the team ever since.
Denise’s career has mirrored the growth of the organization. In 2017 she was promoted to Senior Vice President, Corporate. She credits previous IRI supervisors with recognizing her potential and supporting her career advancement. Although the technology has changed significantly since 1985, Denise still spends most of her day collaborating with international clients and team members.
In the early 2000s, after the split with Liberian services, IRI grew significantly, thanks in large part to the collaborative efforts of team members like Denise. She helped guide the development of IRI’s decentralized structure, ensuring that corporate services, which once were housed only in Reston and Zurich, were supported and understood in all worldwide offices. She supported the development and expansion of IRI’s team, identifying opportunities for team members to flourish and take ownership of their new roles.
Asked about IRI’s tremendous growth, Denise said, “We built the worldwide team together. Clients have genuinely appreciated the relationships we’ve built and the sense of teamwork we have cultivated. They know they will receive excellent service from any of our teammates or offices.”
In 2020, the Corporate team launched the Economic Substance Reporting (ESR) portal, a digital platform for clients to comply with economic substance reporting requirements. The digital portal facilitates the filing of annual reports to the Registrar, part of the ESR requirements that RMI passed in 2018.
“Client service today is about offering 24/7 access,” Denise said. “The portal was a collaborative project designed to provide an enhanced client access platform. We will certainly see more digitization of documentation in the future.”
The portal is a first-of-its-kind digital platform, but for Denise it is an extension of what has defined her 35 years with IRI; using teamwork to meet the challenge, or, as she puts it so succinctly, “togetherness.” That sense of togetherness builds not only the team-focused culture that Denise credits with IRI’s expansion, but also the strong relationships with clients that Denise cherishes.
“In 1985, I could never have imagined myself here today,” Denise said. “I like being here. I am happy here.”
Bill Gallagher, IRI president reflected on Denise’s time with the organization:
Since Denise started with IRI she’s always set a high standard for what good leadership looks like. She’s not only focused on the business of the Registry, but also on the people, clients, and team members who make the work of the Registry matter. Without a doubt, Denise has helped lead this organization to the success we enjoy today. She epitomizes hard work, dedication, and team support. A relationship builder focused on the people behind the title, you are just as likely to find Denise working on international business matters as you are to find her planning an internal celebration for a team member. We appreciate having Denise on our team and words cannot express our appreciation at having her build, support, and lead our global corporate team.
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