Born Maria Elizabeth Candida Simionato Fernandez in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Mary immigrated with her parents as a young child to Oakland, CA and lived in a number of cities around the San Francisco bay area. Her father was a tool-and-die man, and her mother took care of the family which included two younger sisters.
Mary grew up in Sunnyvale, CA, and graduated from St. Francis High School, a college prep school in Mountain View, CA. September 19, 1974, Mary began a career with Pacific Telephone and Telegraph as a long distance operator working the cord board in downtown San Jose, CA. Working in a variety of different titles, and making her way around the state at least once, she began her CWA membership at CWA Local 9423, San Jose, CA, and later 9510, Orange, CA, 9509, San Diego, CA, back up to northern California and 9400, Concord, CA, before finally transferring to Dallas, Tx, Local 6215 in 2006 in which she has been actively engaged to present day.
She married, had three children, and left Pacific Telephone when the Bell System divested in 1984. In 1988, she returned to a newly created telephone company, Pacific Telesis, working in Garden Grove, CA for two years, and then in San Diego, CA. for eight years. Mary transferred to San Ramon, CA in 1996, worked as an engineering administrator, a maintenance administrator running line tests and dispatching technicians, in structure licensing for CLECs and other companies who were using our poles and manholes, where she was named as a board member representing Pacific Bell on the Northern California Joint Pole Association. During a major surplus in 2002, Mary was presented with an opportunity to work at AT&T Internet Services, Inc. and discovered the challenges of working under a brand new, 'baby' contract (as compared to the core contract.) As a job steward throughout her telephone company career, and now for the Internet Services members, Mary has served on several committees such as benefits, legislative, organizing, mobilizing, bargaining, Working Relations, United Way, and has been an elected official as a chief steward for the Internet Services jurisdiction, and is currently serving a second term at the Dallas Local as one of its elected officers.
Mary has served as the President of the Coalition of Union Women, Dallas chapter. She is also a proud member of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Vice President of A. Phillip Randolph Institute (APRI), Dallas Chapter, and has been active in Collin County's Democratic Party as a member of their Executive Leadership team, delegate to county and state conventions, election judge, and elected consecutive terms as precinct chair to one of the largest precincts in Collin County.
Mary has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Redlands, Redlands, CA, and a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Organizational Design. She is also bi-lingual. This year, Mary is celebrating 30 years of marriage with husband, Grant, who is a retired IBEW member. Together, they have five children, eleven grandchildren, and two pugs who think they are children. In what little spare time she can find, she enjoys reading, writing, photography, and cross-stitch.