by Jordan DeWald
“Stay Curious.” This is a philosophy Mary Slaney lives by and encourages others to embrace. It is the reason she is known in Burleson for her friendship, support of local businesses and being an all-around encourager.
Mary and her husband, Bob, moved to Burleson in 2005 from Friendswood. She was retired and did not know anyone in the area. Rather than slip into a quiet retired life or wait for friendships to come to her, she ventured out into her new community and created her on role in Burleson. The Burleson Area Chamber of Commerce was starting their Silver Chapter and she joined that group. She became a regular volunteer at the Chamber and eventually became an employee. It was during that time that Mary started Power of Heels. She recognized the void in the business community of a place specifically for female entrepreneurs, business owners and workers to connect. The organization is still a strong part of the business community in Burleson, where women in business meet bimonthly for luncheons, speakers and networking. She has retired from the Chamber but has remained connected to the people she built relationships with.
If you want to know what is happening in Burleson, just ask Mary! She is a cheerleader for local business owners and finds joy in seeing their growth and accomplishments. She loves to see people flourish and does what she can to help that. Mary will regularly report in on new shops and restaurants in the area and encourage people to check them out. She gets no financial benefit from it, she simply does it because she wants to and many businesses will say that Mary has been a huge support. She loves all that Burleson has to offer. She is proud to see how it has grown but has manages to keep a feeling of a small town that is home.
Mary also volunteers her time in the community. She has been the chairperson for Relay for Life and continues to volunteer for the event. She volunteers with CASA, her church and the local pregnancy aid center among other organizations. Prior to retirement, she worked at a college where she interacted with students and children. She loved getting to work with young people and provide them encouragement and motivation as they took on challenges. This has shaped her interests in investing in the community in her retirement years.
Not only do local businesses benefit from Mary, but so do individual members of the community. Mary connects people together, helping provide opportunities for others to build relationships. Circle of Friends is an example of that. What started as two ladies in 2005, is now a group of around eighty ladies in the area with subgroups based on interests and activities.
Mary speaks of her ability to build relationships as being something simple, it is just reaching out and opening your eyes to the community that is out there. The difference with Mary is that she actually does it! Anyone who interacts with Mary sees a genuine kindness and infectious curiousity in her. She does not sit and wait for life to come to her, she goes after it and brings other people with her!