Marilyn Smith-Mooney moved to Punta Gorda in 1993 from Long Island, N.Y., where she attended St. Joseph’s College School of Business Administration and earned her certificate in leadership and human resources development. The first half of her 30-year private-sector career focused primarily on architecture and interior design, as well as ownership and management of a commercial construction corporation, while the latter half of her career focused on executive management team positions in human resources, corporate development and materials management for the then No. 1 cosmetics packaging company in the United States.
While on Long Island, Marilyn added flight training as an additional pursuit and operated a flight training and aircraft rental business after receiving her FAA commercial pilot certificate and certification as an FAA “Gold Seal” flight instructor/ground school instructor.
Marilyn held the Punta Gorda City Council’s District #2 seat from November 1996 through October 2008 and served two terms as mayor (2001—2003) – the city’s first female mayor since the city’s founding in 1887. Prior to that, she served two terms as vice mayor (and served part of one term as acting mayor). She is a graduate of the Advanced Institute for Elected Municipal Officials, Leadership Charlotte and Local Government Leadership Florida.
Marilyn joined the Museum board and became its president in 2007, a position she held for more than five years. She then opted to serve as a board member for several years, feeling the organization needed “new blood, energy and ideas” from new leadership. Later, she was once again recruited to serve as president.
From 2008-2016, Marilyn also served as the executive director and vice chair of the Tetrault Family Foundation, the private nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation providing the $30 million funding and development of the 27-acre Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens as a gift to the people of Charlotte County. In 2016, she was asked to serve as executive administrator of the PRB&SG, Inc. (the nonprofit tasked with managing, operating and maintaining the Gardens), a position from which she retired in 2018. She presently serves on that organization’s board of directors.
In 2011, Marilyn pursued training for and obtained her Florida Supreme Court certification as a county mediator. She now serves as a volunteer mediator for the 20th Judicial Circuit, as well as for the court’s Citizen Dispute Resolution Program, a program in which local residents and businesses voluntarily agree to have their dispute mediated in lieu of a judge deciding the outcome.
Marilyn was most recently recognized by the Punta Gorda Rotary in November 2017 as its “Service Above Self” honoree for all she has done for many nonprofits as well as individuals needing an advocate, helping hand or caring heart. She was also recognized in the past as one of Punta Gorda’s “Steel Magnolias” and as one of “the county’s most influential, involved, charitable, powerful and important people” by the Charlotte Sun.