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Mary Jardin

Follies Co-founder Looks Back on Her 23-year Journey

As Follies Co-Founder and Director of Sales & Marketing, Mary Jardin directs the Follies' advertising, merchandising, group sales, reservations, media relations, online and tourism outreach departments, plus she closely directs the day-to-day operations of the business, including key input with creative aspects of the show.

imageIn 1990, Mary Jardin began the bewildering task of building a marketing department for The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies. There were no roadmaps, no guidelines. She had no promotional experience and knew nothing about the theatre industry. She was 36 years old. Now, over two decades later, she's assembled one of the most effective sales, marketing and customer service organizations in the industry.

"We look for Follies staffers who are passionate about excellence," states Mary. "They may have never even worked in a theater, but if they care about people and are willing to do whatever it takes to anticipate then meet our patrons' needs, they are the folks we want on our team."

Early Career Was Foundation for Present

How did this Bay Area native--who is stylish and attractive enough to be mistaken for a performer herself--manage this remarkable accomplishment?

First, she drew from her experience working in the airline industry, where her focus was customer service. "My gratification has always been to make people happy, taking the extra step, which is what all airlines tried to do in the 'good ol' days'," recalling her earlier career. "Today, that's what the Follies is all about--making people happy."

Forged Memories For a Lifetime

"The people I've met and the experiences I've had, I could have never imagined were it not for the Follies," says Mary. "In our early years, it was extraordinary to welcome such luminaries as Ginger Rogers, Bob Hope, Kirk Douglas, President Ford, and (her favorite author) Herman Wouk. And I was thrilled to have Hollywood legends like Donald O'Connor and Howard Keel actually perform upon our stage." An indication of what a solid place the Follies holds in the cultural firmament, children of the aforementioned have now become Follies regulars themselves. "It's so gratifying when these sons and daughters tell me, 'Now I know why my folks loved this show so much!'"

The Follies' Legacy

"Palm Springs has been very good to me, and I like to think the Follies has brought something very special to our residents and visitors during these past 23 years," adds Mary. "The Follies has been a labor of love and my hope is that we be remembered--by both young and old--as an example of just how wonderful life's later years can really be . . . and that we've put a smile on their faces in the process.

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