Mary Schmidt: Savvy Entrepeneur,
Singer and Survivor
When considering the best way to describe Mary Schmidt, a few words came to mind. Schmidt is a savvy entrepreneur, operating a successful, one-person communications company. She is a singer, pouring her heart into newVoices in the Fox Valley. Finally, she is a survivor, celebrating 15 years since her battle with breast cancer. If you ask Schmidt, she’d tell you I left one “s” word off my list: Sassy.
“People will nicely say I’m assertive and I’ll say, ‘No, I’m aggressive.’ That is my personality,” says Schmidt. “I also have a pretty finely tuned sense of humor and I’m more than a little sassy.”
I found Schmidt to be genuine and quick to laugh — characteristics
needed to both run a business and beat cancer.
Her early career
Schmidt grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee in what she describes as a big, loud German and Irish family. As a child, she was surrounded by music. As a teen, and even her first year in college, Schmidt had every intention of becoming the next Barbara Streisand, until she realized there were no want ads for that job in the newspaper.
She managed to get degree equivalents at UW-Madison in just about every liberal arts program possible before Schmidt felt the pressure to graduate. Anxious to earn a degree in a field she could find a job in, Schmidt considered her options.
Schmidt didn’t see a promising career with a degree in history, English literature or political science. She was thrilled to discover she only needed three more classes to receive a journalism degree.