If the definition "Community Catalyst" ever had a photo in the dictionary, you will find the always smiling face of Santa Cruz's very own Mariah Tanner. Along with all of her daily responsibilities, she is again serving the community through her new project called #ReGiftTheGiftofGiftGiving. Check out the video here!
1. What is your job and what do you do?
I am the Marketing Manager for the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP).
Oh gosh, some days I ask myself “what don’t I do!?” On any given day I might be producing regional events, maintaining our website, promoting our community initiatives, writing press releases, seeking new ways to develop content marketing, building out our social media strategic plan, crafting a bi-weekly regional report, developing public relations, generating endless community engagement, mentoring interns…and a whole lot of DREAMIN’ up “what’s next!?”
I am the QUEEN of the “Side Hustle” and I believe that I am so much more than just my “RJ” (real job). I am fiercely committed to serving our community which is why I do so many things outside the scope of where my paycheck comes from. I’ve co-founded a donation project serving our homeless shelters called, Re-Gift the Gift of Gift Giving, I am a co-organizer of our local TEDxSantaCruz, I serve on the Young Nonprofit Professional Network leadership committee, and I am a founding member and Marketing Chair of the Emerging Leaders Circle.
2. What is unique about it?
One day I might be shooting hoops on the Santa Cruz Warriors court with our Mayor, another day I might be tying ribbon around 350 bars of chocolate. Working on a tiny but mighty team for a powerhouse nonprofit organization means that I get to wear a lot of hats, keeping my projects and day-to-day always an interesting hustle which is pretty much non-stop.
The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership is truly a one of a kind organization. We’re a regional nonprofit that is working tirelessly on catalyzing change and creating well-being across the entire Monterey Bay Region. Convening leaders and resources, we are committed to affordable housing, a thriving workforce, and smart infrastructure that protects our environment.
3. What is an awesome aspect of your job?
Work-life balance is a priority of MBEP – I can work in yoga pants from my backyard, or from our rooftop deck in our office in Downtown Santa Cruz. I can work when I am inspired at night, or take an ocean swim midday at lunch. I really believe that MBEP has created a culture of well-being, which is sometimes hard to find in the nonprofit sector. Not to mention that my leadership values creativity, passion, professional development, and innovation!
4. Why do you choose to stay in Santa Cruz?
I am a Santa Cruz native, these are my roots not just my home. My unshakeable love for this community, the people, the places, the natural beauty is really at the core of who I am. I can go to brunch with my girlfriends, SUP in the Harbor, mountain bike in the afternoon, and attend a film screening on reproductive rights while sitting next to my college water polo coach all in one day, literally that is a real day I had!
5. What is some advice you can give to other young professionals?
SPEAK UP for what you want, need, love! “It’s really all about who you know” is such a cliché, but so so true. The more people that know what you’re looking for and what you love, the more people you can have advocating on your behalf. I kid you not, the minute I say “I want to be on a Board of Directors” I will have like six texts from friends and fellow community movers & shakers, it’s no joke! I really believe that people want other people to succeed, and as soon as you make whatever it is known to the world that you want to accomplish, your community will show-up for you and fight for you until you cross that finish line.
6. What were your previous jobs leading up to the one you have now?
Well, I can tell you that once upon a time I was a camp counselor for SEVEN Summers at an outdoor camp in Michigan, a Social Media Content Marketer, a Corporate Events Director, a Community Organizer, and my personal favorite a High School Swim Coach!
7. What are some more fun activities you enjoy doing in Santa Cruz County?
My favorite thing in the whole world is the ocean, and any chance that I get, I will be playing, swimming, stand up paddling, surfing, or bonfire-ing! I also love anything that has to do with my best friends and our gazillion coffee shops, yoga classes, hiking trails, volunteer opportunities, or community events celebrating the endless awesome work that is being done locally!
8. What are your favorite hangout places?
You can always find me at the MAH on First Friday, Downtown Santa Cruz in search of the perfect coconut milk latte in the middle of the work grind, or on my cruiser after work at Seabright Beach chasing sunsets.