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MARY Branagan

Mary BranaganCareer Highlights:
I work in grant administration and management. The participants in our programs are our company's greatest asset, and I learn so much from them. Our company helps mature workers get updated training to reenter the workforce. A woman came up to me once and said, "This program pulled me back from the brink. I never thought I'd feel solid on my own two feet again. I don't know how to thank you." I responded that she could thank us by being successful, being healthy, and remembering that she has a lot to give to her employer, and her community. Every day, I go to work knowing that I'm helping people start new beginnings where they will find hope and security. That's a pretty special feeling! 

Community Involvement:
I work for a company that partners with nonprofits both locally and nationally. When I joined the team over two years ago, I was amazed at how nonprofits in Vermont take care of each other! We promote each other's programs. We refer clients to neighboring agencies. I am lucky that my professional role corresponds closely with my personal interests of community development, wellness, and a healthy economy. 

Favorite part of job? My favorite part of my job is having the opportunity to help disadvantaged Vermonters and make a lasting positive impact on their lives. The program I help administer is not about handing out band-aid fixes, it's about finding sustainable solutions that fix the root problems behind economic insecurity and social distress. That's an easy cause to get behind. 

Most inspiring mentor? 
My most inspiring mentor is my father, Chris Branagan, who is an entrepreneur, a great golfer, and makes a mean Cajun Martini.  The year I was born, he and two friends founded Kittell Branagan and Sargent, (KBS), a public accounting firm in St. Albans that they have grown from the ground up into one of the most successful firms in New England. He taught me to work hard, study hard, learn from those around you, and never pretend to know what you don't. I spent two great years working directly under him at KBS; what a precious experience, both professionally, and personally! 

Who is your living hero? 
I don't believe that heroes exist. I'm inspired by ordinary people who do the best they can with their own circumstances. Anyone who overcomes adversity, who never gives up on their goals, or who, despite their own struggles, finds within themselves room for compassion and caring for others--  that's heroic, and that's what inspires me.  

Favorite downtime activity? 
I'm a writer, and I'm currently working on a novel about a woman who faces great struggle, but through it discovers her own spiritual, sexual, and intellectual power. I've always been moved by stories about women who find in themselves more strength than they expected. That's the kind of story I write. I hope it becomes my own story.  

Favorite Vermont Escape? Rira's Irish Pub on Church Street! I think no more explanation is needed on this one..

Favorite social network? The Smith College Alumnae Association! I'm so proud to be a graduate of Smith College, the best women's college in the world, and the finest liberal arts education around. Smith produces women of passion and power, who know that personal success does not and should not come at the expense of others.  Everywhere I go in life, I take Smith with me. I found lifelong friends at Smith. I am so lucky! 

Favorite website? My favorite website is! Fashion, lifestyle, and career advice for overachieving chicks!  

Vermont Business Person you would most want to network with? Richard Tarrant! A lifelong businessman, and a great member of our community. The Tarrant Foundation makes generous grants that enrich communities throughout Vermont. I've always been inspired by successful people who give back, and use their success to build up others. I would love to learn from him! 

John Boutin, VBM Publisher, Mary Branagan and Pat Moulton Powden, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Community Development< Last Next >