30 Heroes for 30 Years: Mary Kennedy Thompson, Neighborly

Mary Kennedy Thompson currently serves as the COO of Neighborly, the parent company for many brands such as Mr. Rooter, Molly Maid, and Mosquito Joe. But before that she was an officer in the Marine Corps and one of only a handful of Marines that was jump qualified.

Mary is a self-described Army brat – a “child of the world”. After graduating from the University of Texas in 1984, she joined the Marine Corps as an officer and begin to lead Marines. The Marines were the “best of the best”, and Mary knew she had to be among the best. Mary spent a total of 8 years in the Corps, earning her jump wings and leaving with the rank of Captain.

After her military service, and with a growing family, Mary decided to purchase a Cookies by Design franchise. Rapidly expanding to own multiple units, she became quite successful and was able to sell her business after only a few years with enough to retire on. But retirement at an early age was not Mary’s style.

Always ready for a new challenge, she accepted a position as the President of the Mr. Rooter Plumbing Company. Taking a lesson from her time in the Marine Corps, she decided to earn her plumbing license so that she could continue to lead from the front within her company.

Her outstanding leadership of Mr. Rooter eventually led to her being named the COO of the Neighborly family of brands, which includes 19 service brands worldwide.

Mary credits her time in the Marine Corps for much of her success in business. She points out that the Corps is an incubator for leadership, and that because Veterans learn systems, have the discipline to get up in the morning, and tackle the mission, they are often very successful when it comes to working as a franchise owner.

Mary has had many tiles, including Captain, President, COO, and Business Owner, but her favorite is Grandma. But being a grandmother is not going to slow her down. She still has many goals to accomplish, and will continue to lead from the front.



  1. Michael Riley. Mr. Handyman Franchise Owner on June 14, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    Mary, thanks for your service. You continue to serve as a coach, counselor and business development officer.
    Looking forward to many more years of your leadership.

  2. Dianne Davis on September 15, 2022 at 4:06 am

    Mary – so glad to have stumbled over this. Thank you for your service as well as your continued open-handed sharing with our industry. You are an inspiration to me.

  3. Gordon Logan on September 15, 2022 at 5:44 pm

    Proud to know you, Mary! Your leadership skills are exemplary, an inspiration to us all.

  4. Vera Cleaners on February 14, 2023 at 4:28 pm

    Awesome content. Keep doing something as informative as this. Will recommend and share this!

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