Following a defiant seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12...
America’s Empowerment Expert
By Tony McClean, BASN Editor In Chief
Updated: February 2, 2007
EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview first appeared on BASN in 2007.
NEW HAVEN, Ct. (BASN) – A television and radio personality. A filmmaker and producer. A inspirational speaker and life coach. A business strategist. An author. A national fitness expert.
Those are just some of the things that Dr. Fran Harris is to her followers and to the general public. Recognized by many as “America’s Empowerment Expert”, the former WNBA player and University of Texas standout is as well grounded as she is well rounded.
A self proclaimed “megapreneur”, Harris played college hoops under the legendary women’s basketball coach Jody Conradt and was a member of the Houston Comets’ first WNBA championship team back in 1997. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in journalism along with a Ph.D. in business administration.
At the end of her playing career, Harris served as an a sports announcer for ESPN, Lifetime Television and FOX Sports. She also was the first woman to host her own sports talk radio show in Austin, Texas in 2001. “Time Out With Fran” was the highest rated show in its time slot.
However, she saw a much bigger picture of her life when her career was over. Harris knew she wanted to start and maintain her own businesses. Along the way, she realized that through reaching her goals she could inspire others, especially women who wanted to get into the business world.
Fran knew at an early age that her calling was to touch the lives of millions of people through her spiritually-centered ministry that focuses on empowerment, entrepreneurship and service. In 2005, she founded the 100 Women Millionaires Challenge, an accelerated business and wealth coaching program.
Called by some as the perfect blend of Oprah, Tony Robbins and Marianne Williamson, Harris is now ready to embark on another aspect of her career. Harris and her associates are in the process of laying the foundation for hosting her own syndicated talk show.
We had a chance to catch up with Dr. Harris for a few minutes.
BASN: If you had to describe in so many words what you do, what would you tell them?
FRAN HARRIS: Basically what I’ve done is turn the various things that I love and are passionate about and turned them into businesses. Everything starts with expression for me and being a part of the media makes me an expressionist.
BASN: How has your athletic background helped you in what you’re doing now?
FH: The greatest thing about being an athlete is that the regiment itself teaches you how to perform under pressure. There is no greater pressure cooker than being involved in the world of business. Especially being in business for yourself. I was able to transfer that from the sports world to the business world.
BASN: Talk to us about how your college days prepared you as well.
FH: Well, because you’re juggling so many things as a college athlete, you were always multi-tasking. College proved to be a great classroom for me as a way of nurturing that entrepreneurial flame. Because of the nature of college, I was always involved in several different things at the same time.
BASN: One of those many things you did in college was play basketball under Jody Conradt. What was that experience like?
FH: That was one of the greatest highlights of my career. She had such high standards for us on and off the court and that was very good for me. Most of us coming from high school to college didn’t really have a concept of work. For me, going to Texas and to a program like that was a great way to really step up my game in so many different areas. Studies and basketball had been relatively easy for me so I thought it was going cake, but it wasn’t.
BASN: How were you able to adjust to the change?
FH: I really have to credit Jody with that. She stayed on me and was very demanding, but she saw greatness in me and she wasn’t willing to except anything less. Every person needs someone like that in their life. You have to have that person that will say “If you want to sell yourself short, that’s fine. But it won’t happen on my watch”. She was that person for me.
BASN: Do you find yourself harping back on some of the things she either said or did while you were there?
FH: Definitely. There are times when I’m training and I feel I can’t go on and I find myself thinking that I’m back to being a freshman at UT. I remember doing those suicide drills and thinking this woman’s crazy (Laughs). But it gave you that confidence and ability to know the power in your body and spirit. Just when you think you can’t do it, there’s probably a little bit more inside of you.
BASN: After your days at Texas, you also played during the inaugural season of the WNBA. And you played on the league’s first championship team. Talk to us about that.
FH: There had been about 14 different attempts at professional women’s basketball in the U.S. by 1997. It was very special to be a part of that kind of history and to be able be on the first championship team made it doubly special. Going into those arenas and seeing all those faces of the little girls and parents that made it all possible was very cool.
BASN: The WNBA has been around for over a decade now. However, it’s still somewhat ridiculed and ignored by mainstream media. Why do you think that attitude still exists?
FH: It’s pure and simple sexism. Society, older white males in general, still can’t get with the notion of women doing anything in their domain. Especially when it involves sports because it’s such a physical and powerful domain. In general, they will accept it in certain sports like tennis. The majority of these men who think that way have been so socialized to see us as sexual objects that they can’t get past it.
BASN: You are involved in so many things, so where do you see yourself in say five years?
FH: This year, I’m looking to host a TV talk show. I have people who are pitching that idea to some network executives about that. I look at it as something on the lines of Suzi Ortman and the “Mad Money” guy. It would definitely have a business edge to it. We’re looking to help people step into their purpose and their passion in life.
NOTE: For more information, log on to www.franharris.com .