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Great Women of Texas 2019: Carol Ware Bracken

Carol Ware Bracken, J.D.

Associate General Counsel, Tarrant County College District

Carol Bracken brings 36 years of legal experience to her current position as Associate General Counsel for Tarrant County College District.

In her current role, Bracken manages a team of professionals spanning multiple disciplines, including litigation, human resources, real estate, construction, contracting, taxation, public finance, contracts and governance. In addition to providing strategic legal guidance to TCC’s college presidents and other members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet, she is responsible for developing and coordinating integrated policy making and other programs designed to reach internal and external stakeholders of the District’s six campuses, as well as the District overall.  Since joining TCC in October 2013, Bracken has overseen a restructuring and repositioning of the District’s legal services to better address the District’s mission and serve the TCC community as a whole.

“Carol is not a person to seek accolades or the spotlight, yet her brilliant 37-year career combined with nearly as many years serving — giving back to the community — warrant her being justly recognized among equally influential and exceptional women,” said Suzanne Groves, executive director of communications at TCCD, who nominated Bracken.  

Bracken earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin and her law degree from The University of Texas School of Law. She has served as president of the Tarrant County Women’s Bar Association and the Fort Worth Professional Women’s Association. She currently serves on the Board of Powerful Purses Inc., a local charity providing college scholarships to women.

Bracken began her legal career at the firm of Law, Snakard and Gambill here in Fort Worth, rising to become a partner in its real estate section. She then became general counsel and chief operating officer for The Woodmont Company, a local development firm with projects and operations across the country.

–       Robert Francis

What advice would you give young women rising to a position of prominence?

Understand the need to “pay your dues” in your profession.  That is what will ultimately make you a great leader – knowing your field from every angle and knowing all the people and processes that must work together to be successful.  Embrace the work and find meaning and fulfillment in it, but don’t let it consume your life.  Family, friends and community should all be honored and included in your highest priorities.  Our world is changing rapidly, and you will need to be flexible and adaptable throughout your career if you are to stay relevant.  The best way to do that is to be a life-long learner, engaged and curious in every direction, not just in your current endeavors.  Finally, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before, and you owe it to the people who helped you to help others. 

Who is the most significant role model and/or mentor in your life?

 

That’s a hard question.  I have been blessed with many generous mentors and role models in my life – teachers, colleagues, leaders – and they all guided me and eased my path in ways I never would have figured out on my own.  But if you want me to name the most important influence, it would have to be my parents, Ben and Barbara Ware.  They loved and believed in me, gave me the best education and training they could, and most importantly, they modeled how to live a productive and happy life.  Love your family and friends, work hard, live simply and help others any way you can. 

What book, movie, TV series or play influenced you growing up?  Why?

Reading opened a world for me far beyond Waco, Texas, where I grew up.  The school and public librarians in Waco made sure I was exposed to a wide range of books and ideas, and for that I will be forever grateful.

 

What would you like for us to know that we might not know to ask?

My husband and I are both committed to dog rescue.  We always choose older Labrador retrievers because it is so hard to place old, big dogs.

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