Sideline Stories: Mary Haley, MXH Marketing

As the daughter of a Rhode Island beach girl who answered the adventurous call of Maine, and a Dexter farm boy who became Maine’s first whitewater raft guide, I grew up outside. In fact, I remember my mother locking my brother and me out of the house for an hour a day to “go play.” We lived on 60 acres of mostly forestland, so we built a lot of tree forts.

Throughout my school years, and even to this day, I was never drawn to or successful at organized team sports, but I loved competition. Since playing midfielder on the soccer field didn’t suit my independent personality, I fed my competitive drive with horseback riding and alpine ski racing. With alpine racing, I loved the team culture and personal performance. When preparing for college, I had no idea what to study. Still, I knew a career indoors and away from nature would not work for me, so I entered the parks and recreation program at the University of Maine on a whim. I took that expensive degree and worked seasonally at ski mountains and on Maine’s rivers as a raft guide until I was 27. Eventually, it became unsustainable for me, and I needed to move into a career I could scale and grow.

By the time I decided I needed a change, I had already been writing short stories and realized my love for storytelling, so I enrolled in Southern New Hampshire’s master’s program for marketing and communications part-time. At the same time, I took a job with Main Street Skowhegan as their program coordinator, planning their annual events, most of which celebrated Maine’s outdoor economy and assets. I was marrying my love for outdoor recreation and tourism with marketing—carving out a career that fit my creative energy and outdoor lifestyle.

Six years after that first “big kid job” and a couple others, I proudly own my own marketing agency, MXH Marketing, with a fantastic client list and an incredibly talented team. We work across many industries, but our specialty is in outdoor recreation and tourism marketing. Our company mentality is a bit like Patagonia’s; if it’s a powder day, there’s no reason to be chained to your desk–go chase whatever gets you outdoors. I’ve been fortunate and privileged to work with clients who share the same values as myself and our team. And it’s clients like the Maine Sports Commission who allow me to work in these outdoor and tourism spaces I grew up in and feel so passionate about–so I can continue to be a part of an industry I love during the 9-5 grind, one that keeps me inspired every day!