Francisco, who has practiced martial arts for 20 years and has earned a fourth degree black belt, has also taught seminars on self-defense. She has been with Caryl Communications, an established, award-winning public relations and marketing firm, for 12 years. In her current role, she is responsible for overall client services, news placement, and supervision of account coordinators and writers. In her career, Francisco draws on the philosophies behind martial arts to face the challenges and pressures of her workplace. The precise techniques of taekwondo require self-control and self-discipline, and result in self-confidence and awareness. Mastering these life skills can translate into a more productive work environment, according to Francisco.
“My martial arts training keeps me grounded and helps me attack daily challenges at work with a clear focus on only succeeding,” Francisco said.
Taekwondo is an empowering sport. “It keeps you disciplined for the task at hand, and when you’re training you don’t think about anything else,” explains Francisco. “I apply that to work by immediately addressing what needs to be accomplished in the most efficient manner and also being able to switch gears at any moment.”
“She has a really strong mind,” said Master Kyoung Jin Oh, who trains Francisco at Triumph Tae Kwon Do in Norwood. She had competed 15 years ago locally, but this was her first national black belt sparring competition, and she was only one of two students chosen by Master Oh to compete.
Battling Injury to Compete
One of the biggest challenges Francisco had to overcome while training for the competition was a torn ACL. “More important than winning was overcoming the injury I had a year ago,” said Francisco. A year after recovering from surgery for a tear in her left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Francisco had to deal with an 85% tear in the other knee. “I decided to avoid another surgery because it’s a long process to get back to where you want to be.”
Francisco was cautioned about the risks if she continued to spar. She persevered with the help of physical therapy, a knee brace, and endurance exercises while cross-training with tennis. All the while, she was hoping her injury would not hinder her performance.
“I accepted the challenge, but in the back of mind my biggest concern was my knee,” Francisco said. “We went full force with the training, and my knee just kept feeling better. I was amazed with the results.”
She is a determined spirit who claims to have caught the competition bug and looks forward to reaching further and achieving more in the sport and in her career. “Competing – whether in sports or challenging yourself at work – offers you the chance to gauge where you really stand … where you have succeeded and where you need to improve.”
Francisco earned her bachelor’s degree in English from William Paterson University. She also writes her own food blog: http://dishingondining.wordpress.com.
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Photo: Evelyn Weiss Francisco celebrates a gold medal at the 2013 US Open Taekwondo Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her coach Master Kyoung Jin Oh of Triumph Tae Kwon Do in Norwood, NJ.