Despite the Chamber of Commerce catching fire on her first day as the new CEO, Jessica Brackeen is excited to begin her new career as the face of Porterville’s Chamber of Commerce.

Brackeen is eager to bring new and fresh ideas to the Chamber, and can’t wait to network and partner with local businesses.

Brackeen, a busy mother of five children, has lived in the Porterville area for the past 15 years. After living all over the state, she decided to move to Porterville to attend Porterville College (PC).

I have kind’ve grown up everywhere,” Brackeen said. “My dad was in the Marines so we moved a lot growing up. I lived in Porterville for a couple years when I was in the third and fourth grade, but I was born in Texas. I lived in Georgia and Florida and then moved to California. I’ve lived all over California, but have been in this area the last 15 years.

I moved here to go to college. I wanted to go to Porterville College. I wanted to move away but not too far because my parents live in Wasco. I had one friend here in Porterville, and that was a good distance away, so I moved here. And then I met my husband pretty much right after I moved here.”

Brackeen and her husband moved to Tulare for a short time, before buying a house in Porterville. She graduated PC with a degree in Business Administration, and landed a job at Maurice’s where she worked as a store manager for 10 years. She says her experience as a store manager will aid her as CEO because it taught her how to talk to people and network among other businesses.

When she stumbled upon the job opening for the Chamber CEO, she initially sent it to her friend and suggested her friend apply. But after looking into the job and what it entails, she knew she needed to apply for herself.

Honestly, I sent the job to my friend and told her it would be great and she should apply,” said Brackeen. “She told me that I should apply. I wasn’t looking for a job because I had just had a baby. I didn’t plan to go back to work right away. But I thought, ‘you know what, I’m going to apply and see what happens.’ I was actually in the hospital when I applied. And then I got an interview and I felt a really good connection.

I’ve been part of the Chamber as a store manager (at Maurice’s). and I really loved doing the events. I loved going to the mixers. I thought it was really fun and after reading into it more, I thought it would be a dream job. I thought it would be really fun talking to people and promoting all of the local businesses.”

As fate would have it, Brackeen landed the job and is ready to bring her ideas to the Chamber.

I really just want to be an advocate for the businesses,” said Brackeen. “My goal is to go and talk to people to see what we can do better, see what the Chamber is missing and see where we can grow and how I can help. I really want to help each business. I want to grow as many people as I can. Other people’s success is my success. That’s what makes me feel successful. I feel that’s what gives me fulfillment, to be able to grow other people and see them succeed. That’s what makes me happy.

I’m trying to think of ways to think outside of our normal box and see what works for us. I’m looking forward to building relationships with the businesses and business managers of Porterville.”

While the Chamber offices on Main Street are repaired for fire damage, Brackeen’s temporary office will be located at 311 N. 2nd Street. She/s also available via email at jessica@portervillechamber.org.

Recommended for you