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Mary C. Dowd

Chief Strategy Officer

The Cardea Group

Mary is a proven leader and manager of high-risk projects​ and high-performing individuals in a variety of complex environments and markets. She has nearly 20 years of demonstrated exceptional performance in leading strategic business initiatives in communications, employee and customer relations, marketing, branding, public relations and corporate citizenship. 


Prior to joining The Cardea​ Group, Mary started JK Dowd Investments in 2012, a consultancy providing strategic communications solutions to companies in the financial, real estate, construction, defense and not-for-profit industries, among others. Previously, Mary served as Senior Manager, Industry Marketing, for Dixon Hughes Goodman. In this role she was responsible for integrated marketing communications strategic initiatives, policies, procedures and resources to support a U.S. top 15 accounting firm’s business development needs in eight primary industries: banking, insurance, manufacturing and distributi​​on, healthcare, dealerships, construction/real estate, government contracting, and not-for-profit/government. Mary streamlined industry-related marketing communications processes, initiatives and tactics to create transparency between practices, to leverage critical resources, and to capitalize on cross-regional and cross-service opportunities. She also established and oversaw the firm’s centralized proposal function and content database, while consulting on the firm's top pursuits and engagements.

Prior to Dixon Hughes Goodman, Mary managed public affairs for General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products where she served as the communications strategist for the defense company’s advanced anti-terrorism programs. Additionally, she prepared the company’s top executives for high-profile speaking engagements and interviews, and she managed and executed high-profile local and national media events. In addition she developed and implemented the company’s formal community relations plan while forging community partnerships and activities. Mary began her career with The Dowd Company, a family-owned residential construction firm, and she has her N.C. residential contractors license.

Mary’s work has been recognized by the Public Relations Society of America​ and the Association for Accounting Marketing, among others, and in 2011 the Charlotte Business Journal selected her as one of their “Top Forty Under 40” professionals. Throughout her career, Mary has been dedicated to giving back to her community by volunteering at, participating in, or serving on the board of numerous not-for-profit and civic organizations. Currently, she serves on the board of The NC Zeitgeist Foundation and is a sustainer with the Junior League of Charlotte. Mary received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Davidson College and her Master of Arts in English and creative writing from North Carolina State University.