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Mary Stompe

Executive director, PEP Housing 951 Petaluma Blvd. South, Petaluma, 94952;  707-762-2336;  pephousing.org

Residence: Novato

Education: MBA, Sonoma State University; BS management, University of Oregon

Professional background: Certified Public Accountant, broker, senior professional in human resources – career in public accounting, nonprofit administration

Staff: 27

Tell us about yourself and your company: I am the Executive Director for PEP Housing, a nonprofit organization providing low-income seniors with quality affordable housing, housing support services and advocacy. PEP Housing has been in business for 35 years providing housing to seniors in Sonoma and Marin Counties and will be expanding to other Northern California cities in the near future. I have been ED for approximately nine years with PEP Housing.

I live in Novato with my husband, Brad, two goats, three chickens and two dogs. My son, Dylan, graduated from UC Davis this month and will be starting the Police Academy in July.

I served on the Petaluma City Council from 1995--1998 and several nonprofit boards in Sonoma and Marin counties.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?: PEP Housing won a National Award for Innovations in Financing for our Toussin development, we won the Partner of the Year award from Merritt Community Capital, our board president won Trustee of the Year from Leading Age, CA and we opened our first Santa Rosa affordable senior housing project. Personally, I ran a half-marathon on my 50th birthday.

[caption id="attachment_75569" align="alignleft" width="180"] Mary Stompe[/caption]

What is the achievement you are most proud of?: Professionally, I was most proud of building a 13-unit project in Kentfield with 19 sources of funding providing residents with beautiful apartments and a view of Mount Tam. Personally, I’m proud of a fundraiser I just held for a friend with an aggressive form of cancer. We raised over $46,000 to help pay for housing, medical and miscellaneous expenses for her family including her two young children.

What is your biggest challenge today?: My biggest challenge is finding funding to build more affordable senior housing. With the elimination of redevelopment and HUD’s pause on funding, there are little alternatives for building housing for the lowest income seniors.

Words that best describe you: Determined, compassionate, competitive, and caring.

As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them? When I first started my career in Public Accounting, there were few women in management positions. I had to show a male-dominated field that I had the skills necessary to contribute to their firm. Persistence, determination and drive have lead to my success.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: With little to no new funding, I believe that there will be more organizations that merge, consolidate and work together. Additionally I believe the lowest-income seniors will suffer the most because this type of housing will be in high demand and short supply.

Who was your most important mentor? And tell us a little bit about that person: Bill Fishman, attorney and the first president of the PEP Housing Board of Directors that I worked with. He was honest, hardworking, trustworthy, supportive and helping the organization and me achieve significant goals.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?: You really do have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Everyone has to put their time in. Learn everything you can as you climb the corporate ladder. Remember your humble beginnings. Be on time and be a team player. Personal interaction vs. technology goes a long way.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Monica Soiland-Nelson and Roger Nelson of Midstate Construction. They demonstrate extraordinary business practices and they stand behind their work. I can pick up the phone and talk directly to the owner of the company if I need to and that is almost unheard of in today’s business climate. Some of the jobs we have worked on with them have been extremely challenging but they have always been a partner with a “can-do” attitude. Their support of the community and business practices earns them the title of most admired business people.

Current reading: Three Months: A Caretakers Journey From Heartbreak to Healing, by Dietrich Stroeh

Most want to meet: Michelle Obama. I would love to spend a day in her shoes

Stress relievers: Spending time with my goats, dogs and chickens.

Favorite hobbies: Running, volunteering, animals, crafts, antiquing

Is there something we didn’t ask that you would like to add?: I spend the majority of my free time volunteering for other nonprofits including the Red Cross locally and nationally for the past 12 years, many animal welfare organizations, sporting events, community nonprofits and more. Helping others is a passion of mine.