By Di Deppeler
Where and when did you meet?
1996 at the East Gippsland Art Gallery, Bairnsdale.
What struck you about Mary?
I just liked her from first meeting. Very direct, straight forward, honest and real.
How did you get involved in her dreams for rural women?
I was employed as coordinator for the Uniting Our Rural Communities (UORC) project.
What did you learn about life and the rural community from Mary?
The political, economic and social issues.
Why did you believe in Mary’s dreams?
Because they were dealing with real issues that affect rural communities over a broad range.
What drives Mary?
What are her qualities and character traits?
As I saw them…Respect, honesty, intelligence, compassion, humility, kindness, strength, tolerance and social justice, amazing amount of energy and capacity to get things done. Down to earth attitude.
What is she like as a friend?
A lovely warm, kind, and sharing/caring friend.
Where does Mary get her strength from?
Seems inbuilt but that is not for me to speculate, hers only to tell.
Why is your life richer for knowing Mary?
She gave me self-esteem and a belief in my own capacity to deal with issues and take on leadership roles.
How did Mary problem solve?
My perception … through talking, communicating, understanding.
What did Mary do when she hit a brick wall in her endeavours?
From my perspective, she assessed the situation and decided rationally if it could be changed in discussion with others and did her best to do that, or if it was time to walk away.
What are Mary’s leadership skills?
Emotional intelligence, caring for those she works with, listening to stories, passion and belief in her convictions and a capacity to make things happen.