Girl Boss 2018: Mary Jacobs

Like her Plano Podcast partner, Mary Jacobs also moved here unexpectedly after living in Dallas for years. A new marriage drew her north in 2009. She’s been making a name for herself in Plano ever since.

“I’ve been involved in starting a lot of things that I don’t think I could have done in Dallas because it’s a little more entrenched,” she said. “Here if you want to get anything rolling, and you find some more people who are game, you can get it rolling.”

Mary was a driving force in bringing TEDx to Plano. Founded in 2014, the annual event brings together a diverse group of community speakers. Mary herself has been one of the speakers.

“Every great community has something distinctive. Plano is still forming but its distinction probably has something to do with education and diversity,” she said. “It’s a really interesting melting pot but I don’t think the soup has yet formed, which is cool because you can still throw a few spices in.”

And while opportunities abound in the city, Mary says that some of the divisiveness she sees weighs heavily on her heart. When she hears endless debates on whether Plano’s future is urban or suburban, she has a simple solution. “We can have both if it’s done carefully and thoughtfully,” she said. “If we could get the reasonable people together we wouldn’t be so far apart.”

Mary is a journalist by trade with an extensive background in writing and production. She first met her Plano Podcast partner Tammy Hooker in the Plano Chamber’s Leadership Plano program, and later worked with her on starting TEDx. “There was nobody else I told or would have wanted to be my partner,” Tammy said. “She’s a great writer and scripter.”

Mary recalls the early days of the podcast being kind of slow because the two of them really didn’t know what they were doing. It had been a while since she had done regular interviews, but before long she was rolling. 

Her biggest take away from the podcast so far is how well leaders run the city. “They don’t blow money indiscriminately, but they really do things right,” she said. “It’s a really good balance. Our libraries are just incredible and our planning department is a whole body of knowledge.”

Mary, who has earned several accolades for her journalistic work, writes regularly for The Dallas Morning News focusing primarily on senior living. She also writes about seniors, health and religion for several other publications. One of her most enjoyable recent projects is a book called “Haunted Plano, Texas,” available on September 17 for purchase.

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