Women on the Grid Series: One-on-One with Mary Daffin

By Amy Thoma

While I was job searching last month I had the opportunity to have coffee, lunch and happy hour with a bunch of amazing women. I loved picking their brains on career paths, families, work/life balance and a bunch of other topics. I thought it would be fun to share the wealth with our GOTG readers.

Our first interview is with Mary Daffin, one of my favorite people. She’s honest, smart, beautiful, wise and a ton of fun. You can find her musings at www.marydaffin.com and www.Noteworthyexperts.com.

  • Name: Mary Daffin
  • Occupation: Self=Employed Event Designer / Creative Consultant
  • Years in Sacramento: Moved here in 1986

What is your day job and how did you get to where you are today?

Event Designer / Creative Consultant.

My 20 years of experience in the fashion and commercial industries was invaluable in preparing me for my current profession.  After years of being in front of the camera and on stage I turned my attention to fashion production, where I honed the tools of my craft, trending, textiles, staging, music, and lighting.  It was an incredible environment to work in where imagination and beauty was everything. My experience there transferred seamlessly into designing large scale corporate events.

How have women’s roles in the workplace changed over the last 20 years?

Today there are so many more options for women. Technology has given us the ability to job share or telecommute  around the world all while working from the comforts of our home office or local coffee shop.  Also the salary gap is closing in and people (both men and women) no longer believe we need to be a “man” to compete in the market place.

Favorite thing about being self-employed?   

I like making decisions so it’s fun to see those decisions come to fruition.

Most frustrating thing about being self-employed?   

The tax burden of the self-employed.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

For me, I have learned when I am in-tune spiritually with God I am balanced internally, which is carried on to the external.  My priorities are in line with healthy boundaries and living.

What’s your secret to success? 

Knowing you can have it all but that it’s impossible to have it all at once.

What would you tell your 25 year old self?     

Knowing what I know now, I would tell myself to take the lessons and memories from my youth that serve me well and to leave behind the ones that don’t.

What would you tell your 30 year old self? 

That success needs to be changed and altered during the span of a life time.  Success for a woman in her thirties looks very different than a woman in her fifties.

What’s your favorite spot on the grid?  

Too many to name just one…Fancy Food – Ella;  Mexican – Zocolo;  Funky Finds – Fringe (love diva owner,  Audrey); Beauty – Valerie at  Glow Esthetics & Spa Therapies.

How do you unwind?  

Working out if I need to de-stress, read if I need to escape, and time with friends if I need to laugh!

If you could change one thing about living in Sacramento what would it be? 

Move my beloved New Orleans closer.

Editor’s Note: Know someone amazing? Send an email to info at girlsonthegridATgmailDOTcom.

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  1. Chantel Elder says

    Oh my goodness! I love this! My favorite quote – “Knowing you can have it all but that it’s impossible to have it all at once”


  2. Julie Soderlund says

    Mary Daffin is one of the most amazing women that I am blessed to know. She is truly beautiful inside and out. And, if you are having an event you should hire her, her talent for making things look stunning in unexpected ways is like nothing I have ever seen.

  3. Melissa says

    Cheers to Ms Mary! I agree she is a wonderful mentor in so many ways and such great friend! Looking forward to reading about the other women of Sacramento!

  4. Valerie Yager says

    Mary is one of the most incredible women I know! She is effortlessly creative and stylish, hardworking and dedicated – all while looking like a movie star!
    Speaking of looks – I must invite Mary and all of you Girls on the Grid readers in for a special Red Carpet Facial. Utilizing the very latest in stem cell technology, peptides and anti-oxidant repair; your skin will be left “glowing” radiantly. It is premiering at Glow Esthetics for $140. Just mention this blog and receive it for just $90! Call (916)441-2231 to schedule your appointment. Offer good through March 12th.

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