Those Thoman Girls are Amazing!
Certainly raising a daughter who is beautiful, highly intelligent, funny, hardworking, and successful is a source of great pride and immense joy for a parent. Knowing that she is beautiful inside as well—remaining modest and unassuming about her success and showing kindness, consideration, and love to other people—adds a whole new level to that pride and joy.
But raising THREE daughters who exhibit those qualities consistently, both as youngsters and in their adult lives and careers? It is surely a blessing that few parents get to experience, but Carthage native Perri Parker Browning is one of the fortunate ones. Her three daughters—Carley Thoman Butler, Mary Kendall Thoman Parker, and Esme Thoman—are picture-perfect incarnations of those qualities and more.
Mary Kendall graduated from CHS in 2001, then from the University of Texas at Austin, before studying medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She did her residency in dermatology at Washington University in St. Louis, where she was appointed Chief Resident by the attending physicians. She is also in numerous medical honor societies and has had work published in several important medical publications. Texas Monthly magazine recently published that she was nominated by her peers as a Texas Rising Star Doctor.
She practiced in Houston for four years at Nigro Dermatology Clinic and recently moved to Austin, where she practices at Snyder Dermatology. Her husband, Jeff Parker, is an interventional cardiologist whom she met in chemistry class during their undergraduate studies at UT/Austin. He also studied medicine at the UT Health Science Center in Houston and did a residency in internal medicine at Washington University, then a fellowship in cardiology at the DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center at Houston Methodist Hospital. Since the move to Austin, he practices at Texas Heart and Vascular at St. David’s Hospital.
Mary Kendall says, “Mom always told us girls that we could accomplish whatever we wanted to if we worked hard, that we really had no limits or limitations, and that hard work outweighs natural ability most every time. Therefore, I didn’t doubt that I could have this career. I was very fortunate that Jeff and I always wanted the same thing, and we knew how difficult what we wanted was going to be. We are also both very competitive and hyper-focused, able to study and concentrate intensively for long periods of time.”
The couple has two sons—Penn, age 3-1/2, and John Ryan, 9 months. “We have been wanting to come back to Austin for 13 years, and we finally were able to do it this summer,” she says. The family settled in the Westlake area, in walking distance of Carley and her husband.
Carley graduated from CHS in 1998, studied at Panola College for one year, and moved to Stephen F. Austin State University to earn a degree in Business Administration. She did an internship at a marketing company in New York City after graduation, then moved to Austin, where she worked at a bank as an account executive in their lending division. She went to work for the independent lobby group Capital Consultants in 2005, rising in the ranks to become a partner, and in 2011, younger sister Esme joined the firm. In January of this year, the two sisters began their own lobbying, governmental affairs, and consulting firm. They have an office near the Capitol building and serve as advocates for their clients, helping them navigate the difficult path through the state’s legislative, regulatory, public affairs, and appropriations process.
Carley married Zach Butler in 2008, and they have a daughter, Holland, age 6. Zach is a graduate of Baylor University, where he played football, and he now builds custom homes throughout Central Texas. They are also avid runners, constantly training for one running event or another. Carley is also the “news junkie” of the family. She says, “I have always wanted to know what was going on in the world. I remember that my grandfather always gathered us girls together to watch State of the Union addresses with him when we were little, and I always found politics and government fascinating. Maybe I inherited that passion from him!”
She says that even at six years of age, Holland is just like that, not only watching the news, but adding a running commentary about the issues and what the female news anchors are wearing. On a recent family girls’ trip to New York, the adults were discussing the possibility of going to Korea Town to eat dinner. Holland said, “We would go to South Korea Town and not North Korea Town, wouldn’t we? North Korea town would be much too dangerous!”
Esme graduated from CHS in 2004, then received her Bachelor’s of Business Administration and Master’s of Public Accountancy from the University of Texas at Austin McComb’s School of Business. She also attended the Parsons School of Design in New York to take classes in interior design, which remains a great interest and hobby for her, though not a professional career. She began her career as a CPA with Ernst & Young in Houston before accepting the consultant position at Capital Consultants in Austin and then opening Thoman & Butler, LLC with her sister this year.
“I feel like this job found me, not the other way around” she says. “I always expected to work forever in accounting and finance, and of course I still get to use these skills for my clients and for our own business, but I really enjoy helping our clients cut through some of the bureaucratic red tape involved in legislative decision making, hopefully leveling the playing field some so that they might avoid potentially devastating blows to their businesses.”
She adds, “Carley and I have a very specific interest in East Texas businesses. We have seen the divide between ‘rural vs. urban’ issues continue to grow wider, and we want to help businesses in this area to be well-represented. It’s important to us because we have known and loved great, honorable, honest, hard-working people of East Texas our whole lives. We also work closely with legislators and see firsthand how difficult it is to get things done, and that is why we want to ensure that East Texas has quality lobbyists in Austin and Washington, D.C. promoting the industries, businesses, and values that make the area so special!”
As much as the three sisters have in common, it is probably not surprising that they were all members of the same sorority in college, Delta Delta Delta—Carley at SFA, Mary Kendall and Esme at UT. Mary Kendall served as fundraising chair, and Esme as treasurer and vice-president of finance. As an alumna, Esme now serves as treasurer of the House Corporation board that manages the Tri Delt house at UT.
The three sisters and their families spend a lot of time together. They are grateful that both Zach and Jeff were raised in Westlake, have similar families, understand that the sisters come as a “package deal,” and genuinely enjoy the family camaraderie and time together. They all see each other most every day and go every Sunday night to Mary Kendall’s for dinner, since she and Jeff are the cooks in the family. They have all traveled together to such destinations as Croatia, Florida, Greece, and Mexico and enjoy spending much weekend time together on Lake Austin, where Zach’s parents have a home.
Very close to each other their whole lives, these three amazing Panola County girls are blessed to still believe there’s no such thing as too much togetherness! Esme agrees, and also gives credit where credit is due: “Our mother truly exemplifies commitment and loyalty to her family, and without her guidance we would not be the people we are today!”