By Dan Portnoy

In 2010, our local theater received a nice upgrade and became an ArcLight Cinema. The specialty theater for movie lovers had moved into my neighborhood and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. The ArcLight is truly an experience. You can pick your own seat, they show old movies and have Q&A’s with the stars. It’s a movie lover’s dream!

For each screening, the theater attendees are personally welcomed to enjoy the show. This greeting features some info on the film, like who’s starring, runtime and the ground rules so we can all enjoy the feature. The greeting is a throw back to the days of a stage show and having someone host you as the master of ceremonies. ArcLight knows that its attendees love movies and its whole system is designed to make the movie-going experience as ideal as possible.

It was in this context that I met Frank Lozano. Frank is a greeter at ArcLight … or, better said, he’s the greeter. I had been to the theater and experienced the personal welcome from other workers at ArcLight, but when Frank took the stage… he knocked it out of the park. Frank’s welcoming tone and sheer excitement made the movie better. He would regale us with tidbits and trivia about the stars and why he liked them. He shared his appreciation for the art form, and as an audience we drank it in.

With the theater just a few blocks away, I became one of the regulars on the weekend. My buddies and I would throw elbows at each other and say, “Here comes Frank, pipe down. Pipe down!” The theater would come alive as Frank’s voice rose over the crowd.

“Hi, my name is Frank and I want to welcome you to ArcLight Pasadena!”

Simultaneously, there would be a roar of applause and whispers of couples and friends saying, “Sweet, it’s Frank.”

“Sweet, it’s Frank”.

“Sweet, it’s Frank”.

Several months later, I was catching a flick with a friend who worked for ArcLight’s home office. We were talking about great stories of businesses. I suggested the idea of creating a series of short films around the theater and I wanted to start with Frank. He has an instant magnetism, and I wanted to try and capture that moment as he hit the theater. I pitched the idea in the corporate offices not long after that and with a little encouragement, Frank agreed as well.

Up to this point my interaction with Frank had been one-sided — other then the occasional “hello” when I saw him at the theater. We sat down for an interview to talk shop and I was surprised to hear that Frank did this work, not because he had to, but because he wanted to. At 72, this was the time and place where he really shined and he had no plans to give it up.

"At 72, this was the time and place where he really shined."

“At 72, this was the time and place where he really shined.”

I began to talk with his coworkers and they all had a story about Frank. A story of how he encouraged them or how he made the work go faster. It was the same when I interviewed the weekend regular attendees — they all had reasons why they were spending their money and time in a packed theater each weekend.

"They all had a story about Frank."

“They all had a story about Frank.”

I’ve been around visionary leaders and innovative middle managers, but I’ve never been around a front-line employee who exemplified the mission of an entire brand until I met Frank.

"I think Frank’s secret is emotional connection."

“I think Frank’s secret is emotional connection.”

If I had to put my finger on it, I think Frank’s secret is emotional connection. People leave his presence feeling better. It may be because he inspires or encourages me, but I can’t wait for Frank to welcome me again to the theater.

(You can watch 2 minutes of my time with Frank at ArcLight below. RSS subscribers can access the video here.)


Dan Portnoy is the author of The Nonprofit Narrative: How Stories Can Save the World, and founder of The Portnoy Media Group

Fieldnotes Magazine is a publication of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. We would love to hear from you about people, businesses, or other organizations we can interview or feature. Please email The Editor at Fieldnotes Magazine.


One Response to “Sweet, it’s Frank.”

  1. sumyunguy1234 says:

    Thanks for sharing this story Dan.