In the past, Mary has been a member of a worker-owner cooperative and lived in and managed co-op housing. She also has firsthand knowledge and experience with the challenges and barriers faced by co-ops as alternative and socially responsible businesses.
She has volunteered off and on and trained in group facilitation and decision making methods with the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) over the past 35+ years. Ten months of that time was spent in India attending a Human Development Training school where she worked with villagers to break down historic caste barriers. The collaborative approach of the ICA and its volunteers helped launch a preschool for all the children, feed all preschool children one nutritious meal a day, teach village elders methods to make decisions collaboratively in order to better advocate for village needs with their political authorities, among many other things.