HOLLYWOOD — Thirty years ago Anthony Frank was about as far from a master’s degree as a person could get. Frank, who is now 57 and works for the Tribe through the Advanced Career Development program, admits he hit rock bottom when he was in his mid-20s.
“Sometimes you have to go through the valley to get to the top of the mountain,” Frank said while remembering the six months he spent living on the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico with no home and no job after his first marriage crumbled.
Despite being in a seemingly hopeless situation, Frank never lost hope. While on the streets, the boost he needed arrived in a divine way. Frank met a Christian man who helped him get back on his feet. The man provided his car for Frank to sleep in and he later paid for Frank to stay at a motel while searching for a job.
Soon after, Frank landed that first job and first paycheck when he started working at a local Burger King. It proved to be just the start Frank needed to get his life back on track. Since then, he’s made the most of his opportunities, not only from a personal standpoint – he has been married to Valerie Glee-Frank for the past 19 years and he has three children and one stepchild – but also with the Tribe and education.
Just how far has Anthony Frank come since that rough stretch in Albuquerque?
This summer, he completed his Master of Business Administration degree.
“Sometimes I look back and say, ‘How did I get here?’ From a gentleman on the streets of Albuquerque to where I am now,” said Frank, whose undergraduate studies were spent in previous years at Broward College and Florida Atlantic University.
In August, the latest chapter in Frank’s ascension came when he started working in the Tribe’s Accounting Department through ACD, a Human Resources Department program that places Tribal citizens with on-hands job experience in multiple areas geared toward their career interest. Ironically, Frank spent 14 years working for the Tribe in Human Resources, but in 2014, he decided it was time to pursue a different career interest.
With the Tribe’s blessing, Frank left his job and returned to college as a student in his mid-50s. He excelled in the classrooms at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, where he earned all A’s and B’s and even finished in first place in an online stocks and options competition against other students. At age 56, he emerged with an MBA degree in finance.
Frank could have taken his MBA and sought employment in the private sector, but he considered the Tribe paying for his education as “a blessing” that he didn’t take for granted.
“My first obligation is to give back to the Tribe because I know this is something they didn’t have to do, but they did support me all the way,” he said. “Giving back is out of gratitude and respect, and that’s what my mom and my grandparents taught me. They were the driving forces in my life.”
The impact his mother, Ethel Frank Marrero, and grandparents, Willie Frank and Lena Frank, had on Anthony is still very much part of his life today.
“They also instilled in me the work ethic that if you receive a gift you should give something in return, and I say the education is a gift,” said Frank, who grew up in Immokalee.
With those parameters in mind, Frank is in the midst of a two-year stint in the Accounting Department. His first year will include working three months each in Fixed Assets and Accounts Receivable and six months in Accounts Payable. He said his first week on the job in Fixed Assets included dealing with the modules, entering and changing tag numbers and transferring assets between departments.
“There is still much to learn,” he said.
Frank plans to stay in the program for the full two years.
“If I start something, I’m going to finish it. That ethic I got from my mom,” he said.
When he finishes the program, Frank would like to work with the Tribe’s Board of Directors in finance.
Frank said he never forgets where he came from nor how far he has come.
“I am proud to be a Seminole; I am proud to have an MBA; and I am proud to be employed,” he said.
Seminole Tribe of Florida citizens who would like more information about the Advanced Career Development program can contact Human Resources at 954-966-6300 ext. 11205.