Mary O’Meara Moynihan’s enthusiasm is impossible to miss. I immediately feel like I’ve known her for years, even though in reality, it’s only been five minutes. The Minnesota native, visiting from the United States, is overjoyed to be on Australian soil on her first Hoo-Hoo tour as World President.
Mary joined Hoo-Hoo International, one of the world’s oldest industry service organisations, back in 1993, when women were finally voted in by the group and allowed to join.
She, like many others in her industry, started in her family-owned business – J.B. O’Meara Co., a wholesaler specialising in doors, stair parts and mouldings.
“I never expected to join the timber industry but it’s a wonderful industry. The people are good people, they have a lot of integrity, and they’re honest,” she explains.
Alongside her siblings, Mary and her family found a recipe for business success, and ran with it “The four of us didn’t kill each other, so it worked out!” she laughs.
That was then, and today, Mary has accomplished a milestone for the organisation, steeped in a history that dates back to 1892.
“It’s something that I’m very proud of and I’ve had a lot of support throughout the years,” Mary says.
She explains that, in the lead up to her appointment, she needed to make sure the timing was right for both her family and their business before making the commitment to her new post.
“My goal was to be able to visit all of the active clubs, especially in Australia – and it’s safe to say – that I’ve got a lot of good friends now!”.
Mary’s promotion to the top of the Hoo-Hoo ladder is a coup for the organisation, and establishes the club as an all-inclusive support network for industry members around the world, providing crucial networks and friendship.
“A lot of what it means to me is the promotion and education of sustainable forestry initiatives,” Mary says, when speaking about Hoo-Hoo’s role in the timber and lumber industry today.
The organisation has jurisdictions in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and South Africa. Its core values include health, happiness and long life, all of which are important to Mary as she looks to the organisation’s future.
“One of my passions is bringing younger people into our industry, and into the Hoo-Hoo clubs. We need to appreciate everyone’s approaches to problems and their strategies,” Mary says.
She firmly believes in the power of the younger generation, and believes that for the industry and the clubs to continue into the future, their inclusion is crucial.
“They’re such team-builders, and they’re looking for somewhere to make a difference. They are definitely changing the way that the business operates – and we need that!” she says.
Mary explains that in the US, 47 per cent of privately owned independent businesses are either held equally by women, or women are majority owners.
In light of this, it was of little surprise to many within the Hoo-Hoo organisation when Mary was appointed, an example of the contribution women make to the industry.
Mary is clear on the importance of women in timber, and why the industry needs diverse representation.
“Women do things differently, we’re collaborative, and we approach things in a unique way.
“I was impressed to see that the Brisbane Club had a wonderful event recently, and there were a lot of young women there. It was great to observe,” Mary recalls.
President JIV Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and South Africa
“It was with great pleasure that I watched Mary O’Meara Moynihan be installed as Snark of the Universe, the title given to the International President at the International Hoo-Hoo Convention in Santa Rosa, California.
As the first woman in the 123-year-old fraternal timber association to be elected to this position, this was indeed a historical event that has opened the door for more women to step up into this role.
Mary O’Meara Moynihan, a member of the Twin Cities Hoo-Hoo Club based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, brings the Hoo-Hoo enthusiasm and commitment to the principles and ethics of our great association”.
Chairman of the Board JIV
“Who would have thought 30 years ago we would have a woman at the helm of the International Order of Hoo-Hoo, a fraternal order traditionally for lumbermen.
After 120 years our first woman ‘Snark of the Universe’ is here – and may I say – a very capable Snark.
Mary O’Meara Moynihan is the Snark, a businesswoman, mother and a person who can mix easily with everyone.
In April I had the pleasure of accompanying Snark Mary to the apple isle, Tasmania, where we visited three clubs; Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.
At each venue Snark Mary spoke about Hoo-Hoo, a subject she holds very dear to her heart, which was obvious to all of us when listening to her speak.
I am proud that I have had the opportunity to serve on the Board with Snark Mary O’Meara Moynihan at the top end of the table”.
Chairman of the Hoo-Hoo International Board and Former Snark of the Universe
“Commitment, loyalty, integrity, passion, a sense of adventure and friendliness. These are a few of the traits that one must possess to, first become the ‘Snark of the Universe’ and, secondly, to be a good Snark.
It is my belief that the current Snark of Hoo-Hoo International, Mary O’Meara Moynihan, has spent a major part of her life preparing herself for this position.
For over 30 years, Mary has been involved in the forest products industry and has been a member of the Twin Cities Club 12 since 1993. All of the 103 Snarks of the Universe that preceded Mary had one thing in common: they were all males.
Mary is the first female Snark in the 123-year history of the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo. This is an extraordinary achievement, especially when one considers that females were not permitted to be Hoo-Hoo members right up until the late 1960s. Even today there are clubs that still practice the exclusion of female members.
Mary has most certainly set an outstanding example for other female members to follow, and indeed there are now two other female members poised to become Snarks of the Universe within the next five years”.
Former Snark of the Universe and current Queensland representative on the JIV board of Directors.
“Mary’s promotion to ‘Snark of the Universe’, also known as the International President of Hoo-Hoo, was significant for our organisation, which has been going since 1892.
She’s a very well-deserved candidate for that role – she’s been a part of a successful family-run business most of her life and we are very proud to have her as our Snark.
It was only 30 years ago that women were even acknowledged in our organisation, which we’re not proud of, so it was a huge leap forward for us.
I know she stands for encouraging young people in our industry to join Hoo-Hoo, and it is in line with the goals of all members to recruit younger members.
The biggest hurdle today is we often find people look to an organisation and ask ‘What’s in it for me?’ and not, ‘What can I give to an organisation?’ That’s making it harder for us to offer something to newer members.
What we stand for is camaraderie, friendship and fellowship, and standing up for those who are less fortunate. I for one am proud of our progress so far”.