Mary Stephenson- A Treasurer of art & nature
Meet Mary Stephenson, Treasurer of the San Antonio River Foundation’s (SARF) Board of Directors. As a native of the area, Stephenson has a deep admiration and appreciation for our waterways and unique Texas landscape. She and her family look forward to time outside and relish the sense of discovery and adventure that can only be found in nature. As the organization’s Treasurer, Stephenson applies her academic and professional background in finance to further the Foundation’s Mission to enhance the San Antonio River Basin as a vibrant cultural, educational, ecological, and recreational experience. The following interview was done when she was selected as the Featured Board Member of December 2016.
Q: How long have you been with the Foundation?
A: A little over a year. I joined the Finance committee in the summer of 2015 and just recently joined the Board. The Finance Committee reviews monthly financial activity, assists with the annual budget, and also reviews artist contracts.
Q: If any, what position do you currently hold?
A: Currently, I am serving as the Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee.
Q: Have you had roles in other non-profit organizations?
A: In the past, I have served as Financial Secretary for my church and I’m an active member of Texas Wall Street Women.
Q: What is your educational and professional background?
A: I graduated from St. Mary’s University (Go Rattlers!) with a BBA in Accounting and graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Master’s of Science in Accountancy. I am also a CPA and an assurance partner with Ernst & Young.
Q: What do you believe is SARF’s greatest accomplishment?
A: I think SARF’s greatest accomplishment is the beautification of the San Antonio River area and enrichment of the lives of everyone who comes to visit. The outreach and continual improvement – capped with the under-construction Confluence Park – inspires others to enjoy, protect, and improve our river basin themselves and will hopefully continue to do so for many generations to come.
Q: What are some of your hobbies or how do you spend your free time?
A: My husband and I are parents to three kiddos who are currently 12, 8, and 3 years old. We absolutely love spending time outside (and it does wonders to help tire the kids out for bedtime)! “Nature walks” with binoculars and a red rider wagon are popular in our household, as is gardening and obstacle climbing. Our three year old has literally learned how to climb the walls of our house from the older two. It’s important to me that our children grow up understanding the local environment and that they grow up with an instilled sense of stewardship for our city and its resources. Any other spare time I have is spent enjoying a good book!
Q: Where are you from? What are some of your favorite things about SA? Or the River?
A: I grew up in Floresville, TX, so the greater San Antonio area has almost always been home for me. I love that San Antonio is a thriving, diverse, family-oriented city with proud traditions and an eye toward investing in the future. That is why I wanted to raise my family in San Antonio.
Q: Why are you passionate about the SARF mission/What drew you to SARF?
A: I learned about SARF from a colleague at work and have become passionate about the SARF mission after seeing first-hand the positive impact SARF has had on the community. The beautiful art installations capture the essence of the city and the river so much that when I am walking along the river with my family, the kids want to run ahead to see what might be around the next bend. Confluence Park will only enhance and grow this legacy to include more opportunities for enjoyment, education, and stewardship.
Q: What do you hope to see in the future of SARF and/or San Antonio?
A: I hope to see a completed Confluence Park and projects with a further reach. The Escondido Creek Parkway project is an excellent example of that.