“CAN DO” by Mary Hill Skougaard ’50

“CAN DO” was my high school’s rally yell..which  became my  (reasonably modified)  long-term attitude toward life.  I simply tackled life to the best of my abilities as a person – never considering  possible limitations because I was female.  I was part of the first post WWII class at Stanford competing with highly motivated ex-military males but managed to become the first woman manager of Stanford’s radio station KZSU.  

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My Stanford days started as a potential chemistry major but switched quickly to communications at the suggestion of my freshman advisor  (Dean Rathbun of the Stanford Business School).   I started as a Stanford Daily reporter and ended up writing feature articles and handling public relations for KZSU.   I “wowed”  Stanfordites  as KZSU’s infamous incognito Tokyo Rose/Axis Sally counterpart “Stanford Sadie” before becoming station manager.  I also managed the station during the  NBC/Stanford Summer Radio-TV Institute (and ended up working for KNBC upon graduation).

My most  exciting and rewarding time was in New York City where I  moved to work in public relations for the new TV branch of a national radio/TV sales representative.  The company represented 4 TV stations when I arrived – 42 stations when I left.  I was involved in all presentations and subsequent procedural and informational aspects of this new business branch as it developed and ended up as TV Information  Coordinator for all offices and TV stations nationwide.   I loved this job but it took too big a bite out  of my personal  life and my husband and I moved back to California’s less intensive work  environment.

Eventually family matters  prioritized my life and career options in my field but gave me the opportunity to become knowledgeable and active in many other fields while handling multiple family and  home issues.   As I age, I still “can do”  by continuing to  think positive  for myself and for others  and by keeping my mind and body active.  I am 87 and rolling.