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Talk Local: Mabrie Jackson

Jackson is the director of public affairs for HEB/Central Market
mabrie headshot
Photo: Mabrie Jackson

Being a member of growing communities in North Texas has its challenges. But being a local leader, trying to manage balance in your life, is even harder. Local Profile reached out to nine leaders in the Collin County community that have learned through trial and failure how they create balance in their daily lives, and just maybe, you can learn from their advice and experiences to find balance in yours.

Mabrie Jackson is the director of public affairs for HEB/Central Market and the honorary consul of the Royal Netherlands. She is a former city council member in Plano, Texas and interim president of the Plano Chamber of Commerce. Jackson has served as the CEO-president of the North Texas Commission and worked to better her community through leadership.

What does community mean to you? 
Community is a group of individuals who work towards a common goal and support each other. We are all part of many communities where we live, work, worship and serve.

How do you stay productive?
I’m part of a fantastic team supporting our community efforts non-stop around the state. A public affairs role in the retail industry has no shortage of opportunities that require a lot of checklists to stay organized and an updated list of helpful contacts in times of need.

What everyday thing do you excel at?
Change — I adapt and respond quickly to new direction, crisis and relationships as required.

How do you decompress or relax?
I am at the lake with a book. My ultimate relaxing day is sitting on a pool saddle, in the lake, with a book and a drink propped up on my paddleboard. Most often my dog is on the paddleboard sleeping. 

When was a time you had to step out of your comfort zone?
When I started at H-E-B almost seven years ago, I had no idea the volume of work and creativity required to bring products to the shelf and truly serve the needs of communities across the state-often at a moment's notice. Working with people who do whatever it takes to make it happen is truly a gift. I’ve adapted, but not coming from a retail background, I really started from zero. 

How do you hope to improve your community?
At work, my team and I wear several hats: philanthropy, media relations, government relations and community outreach. We are stewards of company resources and information, at the appropriate time, for the communities we serve. Our primary focus is to make a positive impact on neighborhoods through grassroots nonprofit organizations.

At home, [my husband] Marshall and I are passionate about the success of our students and teachers in Plano ISD and keeping Plano a great place for families to grow.

When are you happiest?
I am happiest when Marshall, my boys and extended family are sitting around the table at the lake playing cards or dominoes and when we have our boats tied together in the middle of the lake listening to music and watching the stars at night. These moments are priceless to me.

What do you think your community is in need of?
We are in desperate need of unity and civility. We all want our families to be safe, fed, housed and educated. The unabashed vitriol directed toward others who might worship, love, learn or vote differently is really disconcerting.

What motivates you?
See a need-fill a need. Seeking out ways to help others is very fulfilling. I am constantly reading news reports and social media to find the best places to direct our resources in a timely matter.

How do you consider yourself a local leader?
Marshall and I have lived in Plano since 1970 and plan to live here forever. We are invested in the success of our city and our schools, and we seek out ways to make a difference.

What do you wish you were better at?
I wish I was committed to learning foreign languages. I am fascinated by people who are able to fluently converse across cultures.

What kind of goals do you set for yourself? 
Did my husband put you up to this question? On our honeymoon 30 years ago, Marshall asked me when could I sit down with him to set goals as a couple. We still haven’t done that. It’s a joke question between us now. Seriously, my goal is to learn something new each day and to be better than I was yesterday. Most days I meet my goals.

To find out more about how to be the best at work, at home and in the community visit Local Profile’s previous issue.