Mary Coyle jokes that she arrived in Botswana for her Cuso International placement as a Rural Industrial Officer, with two children, but came home with three! Her third child was born in Botswana and named after a South African refugee she met there. “The impact of my time with Cuso International didn’t end the day I left there,” she says. “To this very day, that impact is reflected in my life and work, both as a volunteer and a professional.”
Through her career, Mary has built a legacy around helping others around the world and in Canada. Working with the likes of Stephen Lewis and Romeo Dallaire, she has played an integral role in helping Canadians to become more involved in development issues. Mary continued her overseas work in Indonesia and then led a pioneering micro-finance NGO for a decade. She continues her work in international nation building today in Haiti where she is currently involved in a project to support youth, women and community leaders.
Now on the east coast, Mary spent more than 13 years leading the Coady International Institute, St. Francis Xavier University, which provides leadership education to Indigenous women in Canada, international community leaders and Canadian youth. She is currently leading the Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership at the university.