(upbeat funky music)
- [voice] Mary Fernandez.
- Of all the people that I know,
Mary has so much tenacity and determination
and she is someone who is just never comfortable
with the status quo and is always looking to improve things
and find ways that things can be made better.
And I think that she's definitely succeeded
in doing that here at Fuqua.
- Personally, she has brought this warmth
to all of the groups that she's encountered.
And I think that she just kind of brings
that spirit of being really accepting
of people just from the get-go.
And I think that that has inspired
a lot of people in groups to kind of engage more
with the Fuqua community, sort of modeling
how she approaches and values other people at Fuqua.
- All of the people that have interacted with Mary
in one way or another, whether through the programming
that she's done, as a friend,
or in the classroom, would say that she has easy laughter,
and can quickly put anyone at ease.
And I think that, even though it seems like a small thing,
it's something that I will always remember.
- I think I'll remember most Mary's sense of humor.
She is always able to take a tense situation,
make a joke, and have everyone relax.
And so, one situation I can think of is one
of the last Daring Dialogues, where people come together
to talk about a really difficult topic.
This one was about socioeconomics
and you were supposed to speak to people
who are in very different levels.
You don't know how they grew up.
And all Mary had to do was joke at the beginning
about it, about herself, and just put everyone at ease.
And it made it a lot easier for everyone
to talk about a really taboo topic.
- The Dialogues that she opened up around race,
gender, socioeconomic status, things like that,
conversations that Fuqua students have
that sometimes feel very touchy,
but had them in a very safe and open environment.
Those conversations were huge, you know,
some of my favorite memories from Fuqua,
the Daring Dialogues and the Fuqua Talks.
And so just seeing Mary bring a lot of that
to life this year and pouring her heart and soul into it,
and I know impacting a lot of students through that
and helping them kind of feel seen
at Fuqua, is a huge addition to the Fuqua community.
- What really drives Mary
is making the world a more inclusive place.
And she does that by being authentic and vulnerable.
Mary is always open to talk about her disability.
And by doing that, she shares so many important lessons.
I feel very lucky to have Mary in my class.
And I became a better person and leader
because of the lessons I learned from her.
- Mary wants everyone to be treated equally and with equity.
And she wants to celebrate all the things
that makes us unique, but she also wants us
to be part of something bigger.
And I think just that thought, that feeling,
is what drives Mary to do the things that she does.
I think that Mary is someone who celebrates diversity,
but she focuses so much on inclusion
that it makes Fuqua into a community.
That's what makes Fuqua Fuqua, the sense of community.
And that's the flavor that Mary brings to the table.
- For me Team Fuqua means that we're there
for each other no matter what.
I've seen this both academically working in teams
and always being able to collaborate
and feeling like, oh my God, looking at our projects
from the beginning and seeing like,
"I don't know how we're ever going to do this,"
to the final project where it always gets done
and it always gets done well.
But also on a personal level, it has meant
that the community has always come together for me
and it has always supported me when I needed it.
And I feel like I've supported my friends
in the community as well.
So that give-and-take is something really special
that we, I think, create really organically
and it's going to be really hard
to recreate in other spaces.
I think that there's something special
about the people that come here
and the environment that we have
that nurtures that spirit of just community and unity.
(upbeat funky music)