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Maria Oropallo

Maria Oropallo

Chair of City Finance and Audit Committee

Job description

Household manager for the people who live in my house! 

Professional background

After college, my work life began in financial services at Chase Leasing Corporation and GTE Shareholder Services. Then I began a 22-year career as a municipal employee for one small town in Massachusetts, three cities, and one major county in Virginia. Before moving to Columbia in 2005, my husband and I established a consulting service that helped private nonprofits build affordable rental housing for low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

Hometown

Columbia, Missouri.

Years lived in Columbia

17 years.

Quote you live by

“The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.” — Ruby Dee.

Favorite volunteer/community activity

Mobile Soup Kitchen.

A Columbia businessperson you admire and why

Leigh Ann Lockhart of Main Squeeze, who was able to shift the business model to meet challenges and demands and still be Main Squeeze. 

Why you are passionate about your job

Being able to see the goal and the path to getting there is 90% of the solution.

Why you are passionate about your work

The people who were served by my work
had a voice. 

Favorite recent project

Driveway Firepit Chats. 

If you weren’t doing this for a living, you would

Find another way to do this work!

What people should know about your profession

Local government starts with you, the individual, and then your family, then your neighbor, then the community. Remember this and we can be successful.

The next challenge facing your industry

Embracing rapidly changing demographics. How people “live, work, and play” is no longer how it was 50 or even 10 years ago. Additionally, advancements in technology, innovative practices, and collaboration have changed the landscape of how we effectively govern. Drilling down to connect city services and delivering them efficiently and equitably is at the core of successful governance.  

Your next professional goal

Be elected mayor.

Biggest lesson learned in business

Listen, ponder, then listen again. 

How you want to impact the Columbia community

We use a lot of terms to describe our city. Creating room to discover what the people actually mean by those terms can begin the drive toward solutions. How, when, and where we listen to each other is crucial. Our elected and appointed officials must meet the people where they are. I want to do everything possible so people have a voice. And in the end, if people say they were heard, then I will have accomplished something good. 

Greatest strength

Being a technocrat.

Greatest weakness

Being a technocrat.

What you do for fun

Bake — and sadly I’m bad at it! 

Family

The people who live in my house are my husband and my CPS middle schooler. 

Favorite place in Columbia

Eagle’s Bluff.

Accomplishment you are most proud of

Completing a performance audit for the City of Columbia.

Most people don’t know…

English is my second language (sometimes that’s obvious), we are a proud military family, and I love playing “Mario Kart.”

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