Written by Lilly Watson, staff contributor
When asked what motivates Mary Stoner Yost to strive for her best in all of her professional and personal projects, Mary sums it up simply: “My motto is, ‘You only live once. This is not a dress rehearsal.’ I think we should make the best use of our time here and leave the world a better place."
Mary Stoner Yost, executive vice president at Colliers International, is now uniting her professional career as a service-led commercial real estate broker and her volunteer experience to inspire other with her motto and encourage an attitude of giving in her coworkers.
The real estate company has named the American Red Cross North Texas Region as their workplace charity of choice, which begin an exciting partnership featuring volunteer and fundraising opportunities as well as unique programming and educational opportunities from the Red Cross for Colliers staff.
The partnership kicked off with a tour of the American Red Cross facilities and an opportunity to learn about the programs and services that the Red Cross provides. They also engaged their staff and the tenants of Granite’s Park17 to participate in an office blood drive benefitting the Red Cross during their nationwide call for emergency blood donations on June 28. Colliers’ clients, colleagues, friends and family gathered on July 11 at the House of Blues, with all proceeds from admission benefitting the American Red Cross. A $10 entry fee covered appetizers and the first round of drinks.
|Mary Stoner Yost (left) with American Red Cross North Texas Region CEO |
T.D. Smyers (center) and YPA President Caroline Hurley (right)
“One of the core values of Colliers is community and another one is fun,” Yost said as she shared all of the Red Cross events on their office calendar. “We really feel like we need to live our values every day and part of that is by giving back to the community.”
Colliers employees in Dallas will also get to participate in a compression-only CPR class, an emergency hygiene kit donation and assembly party and in the fall, employees will sign holiday cards to be distributed to servicemen and women as well as veterans through the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program.
Yost initially found a place for her time and talents with the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders, a national group of women who make annual financial contributions to their area chapters and help develop new ways of fundraising and serving the public during times of disaster. Alongside her long-time friend, Suzy Bashore, they now both serve as co-chairs.
“I thought, ‘People lose everything in a house fire or other disaster. Where do they go and what do they do? If it wasn’t for the Red Cross, who would be providing these services?’” she explained, “Learning more about the Red Cross and how it is completely relying on donors to do this work drew me in.”
Through the Tiffany Circle, Yost was able to work on one of her favorite Red Cross projects, a stuffed dog named Piper the Puppy. Piper is given to someone going through a disaster that needs something soft and special to hold onto. Piper the Puppy is purchased through a $100 tax-deductible gift to the Red Cross. The donor’s name is written on Piper’s footpad and a card is sent when Piper deploys to a disaster to let its purchaser know that their gift is tucked into the arms of a disaster victim.
“Piper was brainstormed here in Dallas by two good friends of mine, Tiffany Circle co-chair Suzy Bashore and Phebe Phillips,” Yost said. “When you think about a child who has lost everything – their toy box, their home, everything – you think about what they possibly have to hold on to that will give them hope. They’re scared and maybe they’re cold, and giving a child a Piper the Puppy is an automatic good, soft touch and feel for them and provides comfort.”
Yost hopes that by making a connection with the Red Cross easily accessible to her coworkers, many will continue to support the organization outside of the work place. She now serves as a mentor to the newly formed American Red Cross Young Professionals Auxiliary of DFW, a group for young professionals ages 21-30 who are looking for unique networking, service and social opportunities in the Metroplex.
“I think it’s important to bring the next generation of young professionals into the charitable world so they can get an idea of how to serve on a board, what you do on a committee and the structure of an organization,” Yost said when asked about her inspiration for helping with the launch of the auxiliary. “I remember when I was young and getting in the business. I never forgot the people that helped me when I was in my early twenties to get involved in both industry and charitable organizations and to give back to our community at an early age.”
Yost's legacy with the organization is being created through the lives she introduces to the Red Cross. Each one of these individuals can now experience the mission and choose to leave a lasting impression on their neighbors and community because of the partnership she helped create.