The Big Picture: Mary Harville

Nov 3, 2020 | Celebrating the Years, Living

Mary Harville, president & CEO of the Kentucky Lottery Corporation, says her Big Picture is “to carry out my faith and serve others by making a positive difference — in many ways, large and small. The events of recent months have taught us that we cannot take things for granted — our world can change overnight. So now is the time to reflect on our life’s mission and do what we are called to do, even if it is as simple as calling up an ailing friend or coworker.”  Submitted photo.

Mary Harville
President & CEO of the Kentucky Lottery Corporation
Married to Brad Harville, mother to adult sons Doug and Clay

What really matters to you? To carry out my faith and serve others by making a positive difference in many ways, large and small. The Kentucky Lottery, for example, is the sole funding source for KEES scholarships for Kentucky students, and my role is to ensure this much-needed revenue stream continues. I serve on the board of Summit Academy of Greater Louisville — a school for students with learning differences — where my younger son attended. Summit has a tremendous positive impact on the lives of its students. On a different level, my husband and I lead an adult Sunday School class (remotely these days) and serve our church in various ways, including cleaning the sanctuary after church.  

Why does this matter, and has what matters to you changed in recent months? If so, why? Making a positive impact has always been important for me, because I find I’m often in a position to do that. But I tend to procrastinate, overthink, and plan too much. The events of recent months have taught us that we cannot take things for granted — our world can change overnight. Now is the time to reflect on our life’s mission and do what we are called to do, even if it’s as simple as calling up an ailing friend or coworker. There’s no time like the present!

What has surprised you? (as it relates either to yourself or to others) What has surprised me is how most people, in my experience, have adapted to the events of recent months in positive ways. I see kinder, gentler, and more understanding people in daily interactions. I see resilience and teamwork. When the pandemic hit, we sent most of our staff of over 150 employees home to work remotely, and others had to observe strict procedures for working in the office. Folks had to figure out how to do their jobs in a new and restrictive environment, but they quickly adapted by collaborating, improvising, persevering, and overcoming obstacles. Productivity and morale have never been higher for our team.

How do you incorporate gratitude into your life? I try to begin each day with prayer, and each prayer with thankfulness for the many blessings in my life — my family, good health, and safety — but it’s also important to consider the smaller things such as fall weather, a great meal, our sweet new dog. The day I start to believe that I am entitled to any of my blessings is the day that the wheels fall off the bus.

How do you keep yourself calm in the midst of chaos? I rely on my faith and knowing I have supportive family and friends. I have to remember that it is through adversity that we grow, and I have what I need to get through. My husband and I are fortunate to have our [adult] sons nearby, where we can share in one another’s lives and support one another. I have mentors and friends with broad shoulders. Psalm 23 and Psalm 91 bring peace and reassurance in the most difficult of times. My new little Chihuahua also helps!  

What brings you the greatest joy? Truly enjoying relationships with family, friends, and coworkers, and the pandemic has enhanced that. For example, our sons, normally busy with their own work and social lives, were suddenly around a lot more, so we’ve enjoyed cooking and family dinners. I also enjoy long walks in the Parklands with my husband and impromptu, casual get-togethers with friends and neighbors, because they are about just being together. There’s no planning or fuss, just “hey, come over,” and you come as you are and sit outside. The pandemic is a wonderful excuse to reach out and check on distant family or friends. 

How do you bring joy to others? Doing what the other person enjoys, of course! My family appreciates the occasional meal of comfort foods my mother made for our family growing up. With coworkers, it might be calling out a job well done. With friends, it might be planning or participating in a creative drive-by celebration – and I’ve seen some doozies! We put together a bluegrass band for my husband’s 60th [birthday] and handed out gifts and treats to the caravan.  

What are you looking forward to? Peacefulness and returning to some kind of normalcy. I’ve been fortunate through the pandemic, but others have not. People in nursing homes need their families, children need to be in school buildings, especially those with special needs. We need to be together for so many reasons. But I never want to let go of the kinder, gentler ways, the appreciation for each other, that we’ve experienced during these troubled times. I will always look back on these past months as a precious time of connection and retreat to simplicity.  

P.S. Read about other local women’s views of the Big Picture.

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