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Kennedy-Bracken steps down as CEO
Former Lathrop Chamber of Commerce CEO/President Mary Kennedy-Bracken shares a light moment with her grandson Jordan Ratchford in front of the Lathrop Generations Center. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Mary Kennedy-Bracken sees a lot of good things in Lathrop’s future.

And she hopes she has done everything she could to make sure the community’s future is as bright as possible.

 Kennedy-Bracken has stepped down after helping guide the Lathrop Chamber of Commerce since 2009 as its first ever full-time chief executive officer. During her tenure with the chamber membership expanded going from 50 to 200, the business organization’s profile was raised considerably in the community, the website upgraded, significantly increased programs, moved to a new location,  and established a unique youth chamber of commerce.

“I want to spend more time with my family,” Kennedy-Bracken said, indicating she plans to look for a position that isn’t as encompassing as the chamber post that often required morning, evening, and weekend work commitments.

When Kennedy-Bracken first joined the chamber in 2003 the organization’s occasional coffees typically drew perhaps a half dozen people. Attendance has jump significantly under her leadership at such events as coffees and mixers that serve as networking for business and the community.

One of her goals was to connect business with the community as well as make the community aware of what Lathrop businesses had to offer.

“Many business owners lived out of town and didn’t know about a lot of local offerings and activities,” she said. “They’d just go to and from work. There also weren’t a lot of activities to catch their interest.”

Kennedy-Bracken, who served as president in 2007, set about to change that. The chamber established round tables where city, county and state leaders could meet with the business community and Lathrop residents.

The chamber also added seminars aimed at helping members sharpen their business skills.

She noted the Lathrop’s Youth Chamber of Commerce — unique because it seeks membership of those aged 13 to 18 and not young adults ages 18 to 35 — is aimed at teaching youth about business and its importance plus getting them engaged in the community. Kennedy-Bracken pointed out that current council member Omar Ornelas was a youth chamber member.

Along the way Kennedy-Bracken picked up numerous accolades including being a California Legislature’s Women of the Year honoree.

She said she’ll miss working with people who are associated with the chamber either as members, seeking information or on community endeavors the most.

Kennedy-Bracken has a background in sales and has her own business as a motivational speaker.  She serves on the Manteca/Lathrop Boys & Girls Club board. She has served on the Worknet Investment board and prior to entering into sales was a trainer at 24 Hour Fitness in the Bay Area.

“Lathrop is a wonderful city to live in, to work in, and to play in,” she said.