Samantha Malloy is no stranger to life in a small coastal town.
The native of Cape Cod, MA, grew up in Provincetown, a tiny village at the tip of the Massachusetts peninsula. It is a major vacation destination known for its beaches, artists, fishing and whale watching, and its population explodes from some 3,000 year-round citizens to as many as 60,000 in the summer.
So, it is really no surprise that Malloy found herself agreeing to settle with her husband on Southwest Florida’s most popular barrier island ten years ago. “It wasn’t too tough, trading one paradise for another, although this is much warmer,” says Malloy. “I am a true small town girl, and I love the fact that Marco Island is such a safe, family-friendly community.”
Malloy has worked for the City of Marco Island since August 2010 when she began working as the payroll coordinator. In February, she took over as the city’s Community Events Coordinator. Coastal Breeze News sat down with Malloy to discuss her new position, life on Marco Island and her path to both.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence on your life? Why?
A: My foster mother (although I only refer to her as my mother now). She became my foster parent when I was 16. Not many would take a child that old; and not only did she, but I have remained in her family all these years later. She has taught me many lessons: unconditional love does exist, that no one is perfect and it is ok to make mistakes; it does take a village to raise a child.
Q: If you could have dinner with five famous people in history, who would they be and why?
A: Jane Austen, I can envision an evening with her and those whom her characters are based on. I would love to know what she truly thought about the position of women in those times and what would she think of the world we live in today. Susan Rice, if there were ever the opportunity of someone in her position to speak candidly and honestly, she would be a very interesting person to speak with. Abraham Lincoln, how would he compare his world to the world we live in today? Bob Hope, he brought laughter to so many. Just to hear his memoirs. Who wouldn’t want to have dinner with him? Oprah, she has accomplished so much in her lifetime and has influenced so many.
Q: What are three words you would use to describe yourself, and why?
A: Friendly; my quote from high school is ‘kindness is the highest wisdom,’ and I still believe that today. Reliable; I do my best to do what I say I will. Faithful; I will stand up for those and what I believe in.
Q: How did you choose civil service as your career?
A: This is where we have chosen to raise our family. I am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to live and work for our community. Working for our city is not just a job to me. This is my home and the home of my family and friends. I strive to do my best for our community.
Q: What are your areas of responsibility?
A: I am the main contact for all community special events. When a business or organization decides to do a special event, I am the one who they will contact to get things started. I assist with the permit process; schedule and run the Special Event Team meetings; and make sure the other departments such as code, police and fire, have the information they require. There are also a handful of city special events that I organize myself, such as the Jolley Be Good 5k Run/Walk, Community Health Fair and Volunteer Luncheon. I also assist our Mackle Park staff with some of their annual events, such as Valentine’s Day Luncheon, Spring Jubilee and Halloween Spectacular. Along with these activities, I assist with the Farmer’s Market, and every morning at 7AM, you will find me opening up Mackle Park and greeting those who attend the morning exercise classes.
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your position? The most challenging?
A: Honestly, the most rewarding part of my position is that I feel much more a part of the community. There are many on our island who work hard for great causes, and I get to play a small part in the great work that they do. It is a blessing. The most challenging part of the position I’ve found so far is that I can’t always give the people the answers that they want to hear.
Q: What are your goals for your position?
A: I would like to organize and establish a more proficient system for the Community Special Event process. I am very excited about all the upcoming events and the next Farmer’s Market season.
Q: What have you learned from your time with the city thus far?
A: Being a city employee has made me a bit embarrassed that I had not been more involved when I was only a resident. I have learned that it is extremely important that all residents be involved in their community.