Dynamo Mary Sikes wants Coronado to know that she first came here 43 years ago as a young Navy wife with three kids under the age of six. The family immediately felt a kinship to the city during a one month training course, before heading out for a three-year tour representing our country in New Zealand. “We fell in love with this island and bought a house saying ‘we’ll come back one day,’” laughs Mary. During the next 14 years, she moved 17 times before she came back to live here full-time in 1989 with her daughter Kelly and sons Josh and Mark. I sat down with Mary and learned about her impressive resume and dedication to Coronado, as she shared her passions for wanting to become a City Councilmember.
What makes you a good City Council candidate?
“Having been blessed by this community for over thirty years, it would be my honor to invest myself, my experience, my time, and my skills to serve the hometown that has been a haven and a home to me and my family. I have a passion borne of gratitude to give back for those many blessings received.
I was one of seven children, so I learned to collaborate and compromise at an early age and this is as natural as breathing is to me. I look for win/win solutions and find them in the intersection of common interest. That has served me well, both personally and professionally.
I am a fiscal conservative. I have always found creative ways to mitigate costs and do more with less. With years of experience working with the federal government and regulatory commissions, I have learned to work towards positive outcomes in the public sector. Having been involved in strategic planning most of my adult life, I take the long view. I believe in managing the pace of change with a keen eye on who will be impacted by that change.”
Mary has a B.S. in Business, and an MBA and went to Harvard Law School studying contracts and negotiations. She had a 30-year corporate career, starting with running the Automotive Business Unit for Claritas Consulting Group and utilized statistical game theory applications for Honda, Toyota, GM and BMW for consumer behavior prediction and production forecasting for the U.S. market. She was then recruited to join Equifax where she was Vice President, leading Strategic Planning, Product Development, and Mergers and Acquisitions. At Textron, a conglomerate giant, she was hired to ready the company for a sale of its financial division by increasing the revenues by $150 million and then staying on to consult with Citibank who bought the division. In the early 2000s, she helped raise $480 million for a venture capital start-up company where she was President. She became a “train-commuter” as she traveled from Coronado to Los Angeles during those years. She was also recruited by Wells Fargo to lead a new division start up. As Senior Vice President, her first year revenue budget was $2 billion, with her key focus on building operations and systems to process that product volume. She hired and led the incredible staff of about 400 to deliver on those goals in Wells’ first 24 hour/7 day shifts.
Six years ago, after her retirement, she co-founded the Island Film Festival with Doug St. Denis. As CEO and President, she pitched in wherever needed with the three-year strategic plan and forecasted budget, and working with Coronado city government staff and the Council. She has good relationships throughout the city
Mary was named Coronado Citizen of the Year 2017 by Coronado’s Cal Private Bank for all her contributions to the city. She is a member of PEO Chapter XI. She has also volunteered with “Stand Up for Kids,” a program to feed homeless teenagers in greater San Diego. She does pro-bono consulting work with mid-level and senior level managers on negotiating their compensation packages. She also does pro-bono consulting with young business entrepreneurs seeking venture capital investments in their startup businesses.
She is on the Bridge Suicide Prevention Group, which is a citizens group that works with the city, Caltrans, and others on this important issue. They have made great strides with proposed “bird spike” rails set to be installed by Caltrans in the near future. Suicide is a devastating event for the individual and their families. It is also a traumatic event for those crossing the bridge and witnessing such a tragedy.
What is your platform to address Coronado challenges?
- Preserving and enhancing Coronado’s character and history with managed development
- Sound City budget and reserves
- Citizen engagement and empowered voice in city policy development
- Healthy environment for Coronado’s future generations
What is your favorite book(s)?
Ulysses by James Joyce. Joyce is acclaimed as the greatest writer of the 20th century. His innovative “stream of consciousness” writing style influenced Hemingway a generation later. I also love books about the forgotten founding fathers like Thomas Morris, the financier of the revolution and Noah Webster, the father of American education.
What is your favorite place/thing in Coronado?
“The front porch of my 108-year-old house is my favorite place, rocking with my favorite human beings, grandchildren and children.
Writing poetry has been a lifelong hobby since childhood. This might surprise some people given that my education was as a mathematician and my career, financial management focused. My poetry and art collection collaboration with sister and painter, Maggie, was exhibited at the Ariel Gallery in SoHo, Manhattan. The collection, “Double Vision” then toured galleries across the country. “I find that poetry is like math in the discipline of meter and economy of words to convey sometimes very complex thoughts. I enjoyed the time participating in the ‘Coronado Scribes.’ Coronado has a rich history of writers and artists of all mediums making their home here.”
“My working style is open, inclusive, collaborative, creative and above all disciplined in the details. I promise to listen to every voice and endeavor to protect and enrich our community for future generations, focusing on sound financials as the foundation bedrock of our present and future.”
To learn more, visit her Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/sikesforcoronado/