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Mary Dowell

Mary Dowell, after over 20 years in Fortune 100 and 500 organizations as a community relations and human resources executive, is an active member of Milwaukee’s business and philanthropic communities. She serves on the board of many organizations, including those focused on the advancement of women leaders, and has received numerous awards for her work. Last month, Mary participated in the author’s pavilion and spoke on a panel for empowering youth at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual legislative conference in Washington, D.C. The event drew nearly 10,000 attendees.

Playing Through the Fence, is part memoir, part self help for emerging leaders or anyone seeking inspiration in her career journey. The impetus for this book (and the meaning of its title) comes from a childhood memory shared in the preface, when a young white girl moved in next door in the author’s all-black neighborhood. The girls became friends but were only allowed (due to the times) to play on separate sides of the tattered wire fence that separated them. They found holes to successfully (and happily) play through for as long as the family lived there, and the author carries this metaphor to the challenges and opportunities she later faced in her career. Within a framework of concepts such as mentoring, networking and family support, nineteen women (including herself) share powerful reflections of perseverance as they challenged barriers in their paths to personal enrichment and career success.

The potential audience for this book is wide and diverse, as the stories within it come from women of varying race, sexual orientation and disability. As such, a wide net will be cast for both specific and general audiences at both local and national levels—including speaking engagements, bookstore events, social media, newspaper, radio, morning news, and national magazines and talk shows.

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