Creative Oxygen
by Linda Szyskowski
PUBLICATION DATE: Oct 01, 2019

Other than a year spent in Texas to gain sales experience, Mary Westphal has always called Sylvania home. She loved growing up here in her parents’ home on Erie Street. “It was pretty quiet back then,” Mary recalls. “We knew just about every car that passed our house. Now my three adult children are the third generation in my family to grow up here!”
After attending St. Joseph Grade School and Notre Dame Academy, Mary graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and a focus on Public Relations. Her career in marketing and public relations is long and varied: PR Specialist at Toledo Hospital, Director of PR at Flower Hospital, Communications Director at McAuley High School, and VP of Corporate Communications/Client Services at National Emergency Services.
After her second child was born, Mary wanted to focus more on her family, so she decided to freelance and became involved at St. Joe’s as well as in the Junior League, where she served in several leadership positions including treasurer and president. It was around this time that a member of Sylvania City Council took notice and asked her to serve on the city’s Planning Commission. After Dr. Read Backus retired in 2008, she was appointed to council. A few months later she was asked to become part of the Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio organization, where she still serves as Executive Director. “It’s a full-time job,” Mary notes. “We cover 23 Ohio counties and Monroe County, Michigan. In addition to Race for the Cure at the end of September in Findlay and Toledo, we fund local breast health programs serving those who have financial needs as well as educational outreach programs, host fundraising events, coordinate outreach for individual gifts, and more.” Mary is responsible for a $1.1 million dollar budget that is committed to a vision of a world without breast cancer.
“This association has been the most meaningful of my life,” relates Mary. “I’ve had many friends touched by cancer, and so many people have been inspiring. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to help this worthy cause and to serve these communities in need. And I love my work with Sylvania too. We are very fortunate to have such a strong administration. I’ve learned much from my involvement here.”
In 2012, Mary was elected president of City Council. She is currently chair of the Finance and Utilities committees and serves on Safety and Streets. She is also immediate past chair of the board at Notre Dame Academy, and this year was recognized as a Sylvania Chamber Champion of the Year.
Mary has no plans to slow down, however. When her current council term expires in 2021, she plans on running again and continuing to serve Sylvania for as long as possible. She and her husband, Bob, also love to travel every chance they get and plan at least one big trip a year — last year to Africa. “My philosophy is that life is fragile, so do as much as you can,” laughs Mary. And that she does!
Sylvania Advantage, in cooperation with Creative Oxygen is honored to feature this
exceptional community leader. She is a true inspiration to us all.