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April 16, 2018
Female Influencers Spring 2018: Mary Hutchins and Claire Murray
Since 1986, Historic Kennett Square has been pursuing its mission to enhance the vitality of the area for the benefit of residents, businesses, and visitors. Mary Hutchins, who serves as Historic Kennett Square’s Executive Director and manages the day-to-day operations of the organization, was hired part-time 18 years ago. The nonprofit has grown exponentially since, and today three full-time and three part-time employees, along with a volunteer board of directors and several committees, work tirelessly to keep Kennett Square vibrant. Historic Kennett Square oversees all aspects of marketing and promoting the town and works with elected officials and staff in both the township and the borough to develop the area in a responsible manner.
Claire Murray, Main Street Manager, oversees Historic Kennett Square marketing and events. She cites Third Thursday as an example of the Kennett spirit and “the community building that happens when neighbors and visitors can unplug and socialize in the charming, family-friendly outdoor setting of main street Kennett Square.”
Hutchins and Murray describe themselves as “facilitators for success,” working alongside many different people to make Kennett the best community it can be. And they always welcome volunteers to join them. “Just as Historic Kennett Square is a nonprofit looking for financial support,” Murray says, “we’re also looking for active volunteers willing to help out with our many events.”
Hutchins, the mother of three daughters, says she’s proud to be part of a community where the majority of the businesses are owned by women and the majority of nonprofits are run by women, and where the Borough Council just elected its first woman president. “The supportive nature of community has a very motherly quality to it,” Murray says, “and that’s a valuable attribute for those in leadership positions.”
“I’ve been blessed with the women I’ve encountered in my life and in my places of work, and the Historic Kennett Square office is no exception,” Murray says. “Mary, in particular, is a wonderful cheerleader for what is possible in Kennett Square.” Hutchins says that her constant advice to her daughters is: “know that you’re loved and valued, use your voice, and follow your instincts. I find that women have great instincts, but we can also spend a lot of time second-guessing ourselves.”
Both women agree that Kennett Square has a lot of heart, and they attribute much of this to the women trailblazers. As Hutchins says, “women make the town go ’round.”