Niagara Gazette


November 1, 2012

Mary Jo Hunt keynote speaker for health conference

Niagara Gazette — When Mary Jo Hunt speaks to women about balancing family and career on Saturday she will be speaking from a lifetime of experience.

Hunt, who will be giving the keynote address at the fifth Annual Health Care Conference for Women, worked with Project Headstart, helped to found the New York state's Epic parenting program, helped to found and later was a director of Leadership Buffalo. Married to Peter Hunt, president of Hunt Real Estate ERA, Mary Jo said she set her goals early for success in family and career, but it wasn't always easy.

Mary Jo remembers as a young teacher coming home at the end of a long day and strapping her colicky second child into a bunting so she could make it through the evening. "I found myself grocery shopping at midnight on a Friday night and I said to myself, "Hmmm, this is not a good strategy.'"

The Syracuse native who married Peter Hunt out of college and helped him grow his real estate company from 40 employees to 1,000, was teaching with the Buffalo Teachers Corp by the time she was 23. While raising four children she eventually got a consulting job with Project Head Start which allowed her control of her hours, but after working in the inner city she was always concerned about mothers who didn't have the luxury of choosing to work part time.

She has since devoted much of her work to a variety of community programs for single mothers and working parents who need support and child care assistance. She noted that she doesn't have advice for other mothers, but hopes they can learn more about their own stories by listening to hers. "I can only tell (them) what I did and how I came to the conclusions I came to," she said of her presentation.

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