As Mary prepares to retire from her position as CEO, she shared some of her thoughts about her career and legacy.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR 20 YEAR HISTORY WITH KEYSTONE
I graduated from St. Benedict College with a social work major, and one of my first jobs was as the Senior Citizen Program Coordinator at the West 7th Community Center. They created a position to start more programs for older adults. With mentorship from the staff at Merriam Park and input from seniors in the community, we started the Meals on Wheels program and developed other activities like exercise classes, care coordination, and more.
That position gave me the “community center bug” and throughout my career, I have enjoyed working in community-based organizations, including 20+ years at Keystone. It has been a sincere honor to lead Keystone over the last seven years.
ARE THERE THINGS THAT SURPRISE YOU THAT WE ARE STILL DOING OR TALKING ABOUT TODAY?
I think the biggest surprise is the growth in the need for food support. When food shelves were getting started in the ’80s, nobody expected those programs to be needed forever. We thought the need would decrease as incomes rose. Unfortunately, the income disparity is bigger than it’s ever been. People can’t succeed if they do not have enough food to eat.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE LASTING IMPACT FROM YOURTIME AS CEO?
I think my legacy will be a lot of the internal work we did. We had just gone through two big mergers when I took over as CEO, so we had a lot of level-setting to do related to our finances, re-evaluating how we connect with the community, and examining how we best use our resources to deliver quality programs. I’m proud of the internal equity and inclusion work we’ve done too; we had to look inward, educate ourselves, change our practices, and then walkout talk to continuously keep equity front and center as we deliver programs in our community.
WHAT WILL YOU MISS MOST?
You mean besides the wonderful people? The thing I will miss most is the thing that gave me the most energy – developing programs. It has been so exciting to expand the Foodmobile program, launch our Best Buy Teen Tech Center, and prepare for our new community food center. I am going to miss the creativity of working with our team to figure out to best design and provide programs to support our community.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN RETIREMENT?
This summer we will be welcoming our first grandchild into our family, and I’m looking forward to that excitement. I am also looking forward to spending more time with my whole family, especially my 93-year-oldfather. I hope to say “yes” every time my dad asks me to golf with him.
celebrate mary’s retirEMENT with us!
Join us for this open-house style retirement celebration honoring Mary McKeown as she retires as Keystone’s President/CEO. All are welcome!
When: Tuesday, May 23 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Where: Merriam Park Community Center, 2000 St. Anthony Avenue, St. Paul
RSVP: To help with event planning, please let us know you will be in attendance. Please RSVP by Friday, May 19. Click here to RSVP or call us at 651-645-0349.
*There will be a short program at 5:30 pm to honor Mary’s 20 year’s of cumulative service to Keystone and our community.