Mary S. Fernandez joined the staff of the Village of Palmetto Bay at the end of May to become program and events coordinator for the Parks and Recreation Department.
Fernandez is married with two children — a two-and-a-half-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl. She and her family live across from Palmetto Bay near the Falls area.
“Even though I’m technically not a resident, Palmetto Bay is my stomping grounds,” Fernandez said. “This is where I shop and these are the parks that my kids come to every weekend —either Palmetto Bay Park or Coral Reef Park. I adore this area. It’s beautiful, with all the facilities and the resources that we have here, having the library, being by the water.
“Once I had kids, all these things became even more important to me from a personal standpoint. It’s one thing to say it’s a beautiful city, it’s well maintained, and it’s another when I can genuinely be a part of it and my family can enjoy it.”
Before coming to work for Palmetto Bay, Fernandez worked for Nike as the events manager for the Southeast United States region.
“I was on the marketing team that handled all our brand event initiatives, from Texas all the way east to Florida and all the way up to North Carolina,” Fernandez said. “Prior to that I was working for the National Basketball Association, which had a Latin America and U.S. Hispanic regional office here in Miami, and I was the events manager for those areas.”
She acknowledged that with her background, she has a lot of contacts that should be helpful for sports programming.
“That’s definitely one of the things I wanted to bring to this new position, being in the world of parks, recreation, sports, grass root events, that type of thing,” she said.
She has a communications advantage when it comes to working in South Florida. She speaks five languages, including Spanish and Portuguese.
“I never set out to learn all these languages, but it’s an advantage to me that I hope I can pass on to my kids.”
Anyone who enjoys the upcoming community gatherings and celebrations in the village likely will have Fernandez to thank in part for her efforts.
“Part of my job is the conception and the execution of events throughout our parks, whether they be at the Dog Park or the Skate Park or things like Movie Night or the annual picnic at Coral Reef Park,” Fernandez said. “There are the true events logistics that I do, a lot of it coming up with creative and new ways to bring residents out to our parks for them to enjoy our facilities.
“The other portion of it is scheduling events for people or groups that want to rent the facilities at the Edward and Arlene Feller Community Room at Ludovici Park, at Coral Reef Park or at Thalatta Park when it’s fully up and running.”
Her family background could be described as truly international in scope. From Brazil originally, born and raised in Sao Paolo of Taiwanese parents, she is married to a Miami Cuban. Her brother lives in Tokyo and married a Japanese girl. Her sister lives in California and married a man from Honduras. Her father has a business in Paraguay.
“When we all get together, it’s like we need United Nations interpreters,” Fernandez said with a chuckle.
For more information about programming and special events, visit the village website at www.palmettobay-fl.gov/ or call Fernandez at 305-234-6383.