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Before joining the staff at Nova Southeastern University as Direcator of Major Gifts, Mary was Community Affairs Manager for Sun-Sentinel Company, Mary Riedel was involved in broadening the community relations and event marketing programs of the company by involving its employees and expanding support of community organizations. Through its grants and other programs, Sun-Sentinel provides extensive community support – totaling nearly $10 million this year. In that role, she communicated extensively with both internal and external audiences for the Sun-Sentinel. In January 2003, Mary took on an additional assignment and was named Publisher of the Sun-Sentinel’s Society sections. Society Broward and Society Palm Beach, published each Monday in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, cover the non-profit sector including charity events, organizations and community volunteers. Mary was instrumental in developing a representative, community board for Minority Development & Empowerment, Inc. (MDEI), and has served as board chair and as chair of the nominating committee. In addition to her involvement with MDE, Inc. she serves on a number of nonprofit boards including: United Way of Broward County; Winterfest; Funding Arts Broward (FAB!); Donors Forum of South Florida and the NSU Library Circle of Friends. She is a founding advisory board member of the Sun-Sentinel Diversity Venture Fund through United Way of Broward County and also helped to launch the Palm Beach County Diversity Venture Fund, that is part of the United Way of Palm Beach County. Professional Accreditation Professionally, she is a member and is accredited by the two major communications and public relation professional associations – the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). She has served on the local chapter board or PRSA and was chapter president of two IABC chapters and also served on the international board of IABC. She also is a member of the Broward chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Personal Mary holds a journalism degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she also did graduate work. She moved to South Florida and joined the Sun-Sentinel in 1987, after having held various newspaper marketing and management positions at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from 1970 to 1987. Mary and her husband Bill have two grown daughters, both of whom live in South Florida.

Going back to when you first started with your organization to now, what has been your proudest personal accomplishment?

As Community Affairs Manager at Sun-Sentinel for more than 18 years, I was especially proud of the company’s strong commitment to the community and also of the growth of the Sun-Sentinel Children’s fund and other support that now totals $10 million a year.

I’ve recently retired from Sun-Sentinel and joined Nova Southeastern University (NSU) as Director of Major Gifts. At NSU, I am looking forward to bringing new and expanded support to the University, in particular for our new University Center.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

The ability to connect with so many different people and to make a difference in our community.

What program with your organization do you get the most excited about?

NSU is an amazing force to deliver education to a broad spectrum of students – making higher education accessible to more than 26,000 students when and where they want it.

How did you determine which charitable organizations you would support?

You support causes that are close to your heart – I put Women in Distress and the Susan B. Anthony Recovery Center in that category. They help women who need it the most – those who are victims of domestic violence and those in substance abuse recovery. Both agencies make a big difference in the lives of women and their children.

Is there a charitable event(s) you really look forward to attending each year?

I love the Night of Literary Feasts/Day of Literary Lectures that is put on by Byblos and the Broward Public Library Foundation. NSU is proud to be the presenting sponsor. I love books and reading, so this is a made-in-heaven event for me to meet authors and buy books.

What is your greatest strength that makes you such an asset to your organization?

I’ve been fortunate to get to know and work with a wide variety of people over the years at Sun-Sentinel and now bridge those contacts and relationships into my new role at NSU.

What is your greatest challenge at this time?

Learning everything I can about Nova Southeastern University – it’s an amazing organization.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Worry-free. Stress-free. Not sure that life exists out there!

What is the most important thing you have learned through the years?

Be true to yourself and your values. Treat everyone person with respect.

How do you relax?

I love to read, travel, shop, visit museums – and yes, I love going to events.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

The Cayman Islands and Ireland have to rank up near the top.

What do you wish you could have a never-ending supply of?

Money. Think of all the good it could do.

What can make you laugh?

A good joke, well told, with political overtones.

What can make you cry?

Something tragic happening to any child.

What do you still hope to accomplish?

Get another degree in a new field – this one from NSU.

Now that I’m fortunate to be at NSU, I hope to go back to school in a new professional discipline, take some enrichment courses such as art and music and perhaps teach at some point.

Is there a fond childhood memory you can share with us?

I am fortunate to come from a large and loving family – I’m the oldest of six – and am very close with all my siblings. Of course, they would say I’m the typical oldest sister taskmaster!

When you were a little girl, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?

I always loved books and reading – so it was a natural fit to gravitate to journalism and communications.

What is your idea of a perfect vacation?

Two kinds: 1) A beach and a book. 2) Seeing a new country full of history and culture.

What’s been the key to the success and growth of ----------?

In order to thrive and survive in the corporate workplace, we sometimes have to desensitize ourselves in order to get ahead. Not being real and authentic, isn’t that a big sacrifice to make?

What will we find you doing on a Saturday night?

Having dinner with our good friends Gail and Michael Kaplan – unless, of course, we have a community event to attend.

What is your favorite room in your house?

Well, it’s certainly not the kitchen. That I can tell you for sure.

If your house was up for sale, and a potential buyer did a walk through, what would your home say about you?

She has a lot of stuff! Pottery, artwork, books, china.

What is your pet peeve?

People who you have met on multiple occasions who pretend they’ve never laid eyes on you.

What is your greatest strength?

I’m organized.

What is your greatest weakness?

I procrastinate when I should just do it!

What are you most disciplined about?

Following through on work commitments. Maybe it’s fear of failure, but I’m driven to do the best job that I can no matter what.

If you were going to be on a Space Shuttle for about a year, what one item would you have to take with you?

A book – a big book!

What is your favorite snack?


What is your biggest fear?

Fear of failure.

What do you like the most about yourself?

I care about other people.

What would you still like to learn how to do?

Play golf.

What do you have to say to all the young women/men out there ready to take on the future?

Be bold. Be brave. Be balanced.

How do we get our young people more interested in charitable giving and community volunteering?

I think our young people have a tremendous capacity to give and how great and innovative ideas about doing it. We just need to give them the opportunity to do it.

How do you want to be remembered by future generations?

As someone who made a difference in her little piece of the world.

What would you like to see happen in our world, let’s say, five years from now?

Peace in the world. No wars.

What is the greatest problem we are facing in this country today?

Trying to achieve peace in a very turbulent world.

What can we personally do to make things better for future generations?

Achieve peace in our world. If we achieve peace and understanding among the countries, cultures and religions of the world, this would be a monumental legacy to leave for future generations.