Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, Lance-Kashian & Company
True to her Sagittarian nature, Tracy Kashian is always open and forthright when dealing with people—and she deals with a lot of people as the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at Lance-Kashian & Company. Handling the properties at River Park, Campus Pointe, and the Village at River Park, to name a few, may be her day job, but Tracy’s contribution to the community goes far beyond that. Her standards are known to be high, yet people enjoy her company because she is so positive, easy-going, friendly, lively, and has a wonderful sense of humor. But what really sets Tracy apart is her passion for helping others.
This Kerman native began her career as a babysitter at 14. Tracy’s love of children lead her to obtain a liberal arts degree, with the intention of teaching, from California State University, Fresno. “I volunteered at Valley Children’s Hospital during college and it was hard and rewarding at the same time. I would get to hold babies of parents who worked or lived too far away to see their children every day. I would take games into the rooms of kids that could not get out of bed or who were too tired to walk to the play room or just read to them,” Tracy recalled.
But, at 18, she went to work for a local bank—this gave her invaluable customer service experience. Then in 1996, she got a job at DiBuduo & DeFendis (D&D) Insurance—according to her, it was the best time of her early adult life. “Tony and Leonard were like working for movie stars with their larger-than-life personalities. There were so many wonderful people there and we all had the best time together. My good friend (who still works at D&D) actually introduced me to my husband, who I married in 1999.”
She had met her husband, John Kashian, in 1996, and they married at Our Lady of Mount Carmel three years later. They’ve been married for 20 years now, and Tracy credits a sense of humor and traveling to be what keeps the spark alive. “There is something about traveling with family or with your husband that keeps things fresh and fun. Visiting new places, seeing new sites, meeting new people, and not being on a schedule is always a happy time.”
Yet Fresno is still home—home is where the heart grows, and where she and John have built their life together. “What I love best about Fresno is that most of my family and friends live here, or in Kerman, which is not far. I love our families—they are my favorite people in world and I love getting together with them. I still have lunch once a week with my two best friends from high school and grammar school. We have boys the same age and it has been fun watching them grow up together.”
The couple has two boys together: Kyle (age 15), who attends his father’s alma mater San Joaquin Memorial, and Ryan (age 13), who goes to St. Anthony’s Catholic School. But Tracy playfully likes to say, “We have two two-legged kids … and two four-legged kids.” She is referring to Camo, their 3-year-old yellow lab, and Asher, their 1-year-old black lab. “They really complete our family and I could not imagine our life with out them... both two- and four-legged kids! I love my boys!”
When Tracy started working for Lance-Kashian & Company, in 2002, she was a site manager, which required her to visit the shopping centers and make sure all was in order with the buildings, outside landscaping, and maintenance. “Then I started visiting tenants, making sure each tenant had what they needed to be as successful as possible … I visited 200+ tenants a month.” Currently, she is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations. “It is the BEST job. Marketing is like putting the icing on the cake—just makes it a little sweeter. I also get to work with so many different groups of people and non-profits, which is back to my passion.”
Tracy is referring to the evolution of how her role in Lance-Kashian & Company allowed her to bring events to the centers. “This is when my job and love of community service came together.” Non-profits have always been a passion of hers, so she started having events take place on the company properties.
“One of the greatest things I started was Animal Adoption Center at River Park. I got the idea while shopping in San Francisco during the holidays. Macy’s had these window displays with puppies and kittens for adoption. I called on the trip home and asked if they would allow me to turn a vacant space into a temporary animal adoption space and management said yes. It was a huge success with tons of animals adopted and lots of items dropped off for donations. Customers loved it because it is really hard going down to the shelter and this was more like a pet store. That location continued past the holidays for many years until we leased the space. To this day, we have continued to have animal shelters come to the property and bring their mobile units, adopting over 10,000 animals since that time.”
Tracy’s list of charity involvement is long. She has worked with Made For Them (their Christmas tree event is held in one of the open River Park spaces), Hinds Hospice Lights of Love event (shoppers light the Christmas tree at River Park with candles purchased in remembrance of loved ones), Catholic Charities’ Thanksgiving food drive, Toy for Tots, and the Aquarius Aquarium Institute Run for the Reef.
Through the Kashian Family Foundation, Tracy has gotten to dive even deeper into working with non-profits. The Kashian Family Foundation brought New Jersey’s Baptist-based Harvest of Hope Family Services Network, Inc. to Fresno to address a huge need within the Central Valley: increasing permanency for foster youth with significant needs. The goal is to permanently place 15 youth in Fresno within 15 months: it’s called Fresno 15. The work that St. Rest Missionary Baptist Church has done to place children in permanent homes lead Tracy to the Fresno County’s Foster Care Standards and Oversight Committee (FCSOC). Tracy is now one of three District 2 appointees for the FCSOC, and she joined the Board of Directors for The Foundation @ FCOE (Fresno County Office of Education) in 2018.
As her accolades demonstrate, Tracy’s greatest passion in life is for people and helping others—children and animals especially. “I love all the non-profits in Fresno and would join every one if I could. I am blessed that my work and passion can come together in a way that is beneficial for everyone.” Fresno is fortunate to have such an impassioned woman working for the betterment of not just its youth, but of its community as a whole.