Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Marco: Where You Know Your Neighbors

On Duty

Hailing from Provincetown, Massachusetts, Samantha Malloy grew up far from the white powder beaches and palm trees of sunny South Florida. However, when she met her husband of 13 years, life took a different direction. Samantha’s husband, Jack, led whale watching trips in the Cape during the summer and spent the winters on the waters of Marco Island. The couple decided to relocate here permanently in February of 2004 and welcomed their daughter 3 and a half years later.

Samantha fell in love with the small-town vibe of Marco Island. Like Provincetown, Marco is a place where “You know your neighbors, and I like that,” she says. Initially, Samantha continued her career as a social worker for children and families, working with both the Department of Social Services and the Department of Youth Services. “I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work with people. I was a foster child myself, and being an advocate is important.”

Samantha’s advocacy led her into human resources and then to the City of Marco 10 years ago as the Community Events Coordinator and then Manager of Parks, Culture, and Recreation. “I like that what we do every day makes a difference. We actually get to do things to improve the quality of life for our citizens,” Malloy shares with a tone of pride. “When you see the community enjoying the efforts you put it, it’s a great feeling.” 

Whether it’s the recent revamp of Mackle Park Community Center, the upcoming additions to Veteran’s Community Park later this year, Movies in the Park, classes for adults and children, Spring Jubilee, or Santa and Mrs. Claus visiting just before Christmas, Malloy and her team have their hands full curating well-rounded experiences for the people of Marco Island.

“Everything here is a team effort. We all brainstorm together and put communication first with a round table model that gives everyone a chance to have input,” Malloy states. And this is not limited to her team. The various departments of the City of Marco are no strangers to input from the community. “There are a lot of strong opinions,” smiles Samantha, “but, no matter who it is, I try to be open about the thought process behind decisions, which helps a lot by giving people a chance to understand how many different factors go into coming up with a plan.”

Like many city employees, Samantha cites the response to Hurricane Irma as one of the highlights of her time here. “Irma always comes to mind when I think of the dedication of the city employees. I was so proud of those I work with and how well we planned and responded together. Our people are truly dedicated to the city and want to do their best for them.”

Malloy’s commitment to the citizens of Marco is a natural extension for her. With a strong family and friend network on the island, it feels like “no one is a stranger here,” and her door is always open for any concerns. “I try to really listen to what someone’s thoughts are, not just the problems, we also need the positive feedback. It’s important to get both and to be able to share that with my staff. We are here for everyone, don’t hesitate to come in and talk.”

While Malloy’s city responsibilities and non-traditional hours keep her quite busy, when she does get spare time, it’s with her family and close friends. “We love to do things together, even if it just hanging out at each other’s’ homes. And, we love our visits with family to Cape Cod each year and our annual trip to Disney.”

Looking back, serving as an advocate for others has taken different forms in Malloy’s life—child’s advocate, mother, human resources manager, and now with the City of Marco Island. But when asked her takeaway from those experiences, Samantha shares what she feels is the most important lesson. “I’ve always tried to be a voice for others. But, as my daughter, nieces, and nephews get older, I am trying to teach them to be their own voice. Still polite and humble, but strong and comfortable standing up for themselves.”

For more information on the activities and events of our Parks and Recreation Department, visit www.cityofmarcoisland.com/parksrec or stop in the Mackle Park Community Center.

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