Local author launches book, spotlighting local talents

Maureen Francisco, as co-emcee for the Miss Idaho USA 2013 and Miss Idaho Teen USA 2013 pageant, talks wit Cassandra Searles, Miss WA USA 2013. - Courtesy photo
Maureen Francisco, as co-emcee for the Miss Idaho USA 2013 and Miss Idaho Teen USA 2013 pageant, talks wit Cassandra Searles, Miss WA USA 2013.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

When author Maureen Francisco emigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines at five years old, she struggled to keep up with her other English-speaking peers. Frustrated, but perseverant, she began watching newscasts and carefully practicing the words on the screen.

A seed was planted. Years later, after graduating from Pacific Lutheran University, she found herself returning to journalism as a TV broadcaster. Francisco later transitioned into sales, working with an online marketing company, as she dabbled in modeling, writing and reality television along the way.

Now, the Seattle-based author is releasing a book that exemplifies her own success and draws on her early love for storytelling. It Takes Moxie: Off the Boat, or Out of School, to Making it Your Way in America, will launch in mid-January and details through a series of narratives, how today’s leaders found their own formula for success.

Among them, are James Sun, CEO of Kirkland-based Pirq, Richard Cho, former general manager of the Portland Trailblazers, who grew up in Federal Way, and Dr. Connie Mariano, White House doctor.

“I’d been having this dialogue with people,” said Francisco, “That the economy was so bad and there weren’t many opportunities.”

Francisco couldn’t help but recall her own grandmother, who came to American in her ’50s, and worked both in a nursing home and laundry room. They weren’t jobs most Americans would take, says Francisco, but they allowed her to support nine children and 40 some grandkids.

“How do you [achieve success] in a lifetime? We all have 24 hours in a day and it’s what you do with it,” says Francisco. Many of the vignettes in It Takes Moxie, focus on the stories of immigrants who came to the U.S. with similarly humble beginnings.

Francisco says that Bellevue’s large foreign-born population and its community of innovators offered huge inspiration.

Francisco points to Sun, CEO of Pirq, a Kirkland-based entrepreneur that offers discounts similar to Groupon. An immigrant like Francisco, he came to the U.S. with very little money.

“Not everybody is born with a silver spoon in their mouth or having gone to an Ivy League school,” she explained. “But these people and I came here and seized the opportunity around [them].”

It Takes Moxie will be released in a launch party on Jan. 19. To RSVP and for more information about the book, visit Francisco’s website at


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