2017 Distinguished Alumni
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Mary McClure, Class of 1972
The Alumni Committee of the Sedalia School District Foundation has selected Mary McClure as the 2017 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. Ms. McClure is a 1972 graduate of Smith-Cotton High School where she was a co-editor of the Archives; news editor of the school newspaper; president of the Future Teacher’s Club; a member of the Latin Club, Speech and Debate Team; and Spiz Pep Club. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Home Economics Journalism from the University of Missouri and a MBA from Harvard Business School where she was the vice president of the Women’s Student Association.
For more than 35 years, she has been a leader in the corporate and nonprofit sectors in Kansas City. Her notable record of achievements over a 20-year executive career at Hallmark Cards, combined with her service as a community volunteer, reflect her commitment to excellent managerial leadership, generous service to others, and significant contributions to society.
During her career with Hallmark Cards, she led business units as a vice president and general manager. She frequently initiated cross-divisional projects such as Senior Women Mentoring Group. For over eight years she worked exclusively on Christmas products leading the launch of the Barbie and Star Trek ornaments as well as the creation of Hallmark’s Holiday Barbie doll. Her team developed a line of alternative humor cards which grew to over $50 million in annual sales. She helped establish the company’s entrance into the digital marketplace, leading the early development of the www.hallmark.com business.
Following her retirement from Hallmark, Ms. McClure continued her corporate career as the Managing Director of McClure Management Consulting where she facilitated teams to create new strategies for non-profit clients including the Kansas City Zoo, Powell Gardens, and the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education.
Ms. McClure has had a lifetime belief that food brings people together. For the past 12 years she has followed her passion to help provide food to those who are hungry by volunteering with the Harvesters Community Food Network-Kansas City’s Food Bank. In 2006 she became a Master Gardener and set up a demonstration garden at Harvesters to encourage others to grow produce to help feed the hungry.
During Ms. McClure’s tenure as Harvesters Board Chair from 2010-2012, the agency was testing the BackSnack program to feed hungry children. The program’s goal was to provide a weekly backpack filled with nutritious, child-friendly food for school children who are at-risk of hunger at home on weekends. With funding support that Ms. McClure helped secure, Harvesters was able to quickly start up BackSnacks and provide for 8,000 school children. Today, the Kansas City Harvesters program is the largest in the country delivering 20,000 BackSnacks a week. In recognition of Harvesters tremendous innovation and growth the agency was named the National Food Bank of the year during Ms. McClure’s tenure as Board Chair by Feeding America, the national organization of food banks.
As one of her Distinguished Alumni nominators wrote, “Mary takes complex projects and organizes them into simple action plans her teams can follow. And she always gave others credit for her successes, which are numerous. Mary is the perfect blend of Missouri farm girl and Harvard MBA. She uses the values and skills of a strong work ethic, humility, coalition building, and approachability gained from her excellent public school experience and rural upbringing.”