A native of Goderich, Huron County, Mary attended Bishop Straughan in Toronto and later Michigan State University. She operated a family hotel, the Bedford in Goderich, and a motel and in 1993 was chair of the Ontario Motel & Hotel Association for two years. She also served on the Goderich Marine Hospital board and in 2003, became chair of the Ontario Hospital Association. In May 2004, she became chair of the Canadian Healthcare Association. In January, 2007, she was appointed to the new South West region Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) Board and has just finished the term of Chair of the SWCCAC, but remain on the Board as Past Chair.