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Small Talk With Mary Mazzio

This award-winning documentary filmmaker can also list lawyer and Olympic rower on her resume. Mazzio connected with Babson when the College hired her company, 50 Eggs Films, to create Lemonade Stories, a look at the relationships between successful entrepreneurs and their moms. Now as filmmaker in residence, she consults with anyone in the Babson community seeking advice on creating visual media. Here she shares some of her own stories. — Donna Coco

Mary Mazzio

Photograph by Tom Kates

Why rowing? I was walking along my college campus, and a man came up to me and said, “You have big legs.” It was like, who the hell are you? He said, “I’m the rowing coach. Come down to the river.” I had always wanted to be an athlete, but in high school I had no hand-eye coordination. I showed up for tryouts and was awful. But many of the women quit by the end of the first week, so I made the team.

How does it feel to march in the Olympics opening ceremonies? Unbelievable. You’re walking with thousands of athletes, and you’re all potential gold medalists. There’s a great feeling of exuberance and excitement.

How did you come up with the name 50 Eggs? That was my husband. Cool Hand Luke is my favorite movie. There’s a scene where everybody bets that Paul Newman can’t eat 50 eggs. And he figures out a way to get it done. My husband was like, that’s you!

Everybody’s telling you it can’t be done. You think you can go to the Olympics? You think you can make a movie? People often think that things are harder than they are.

What’s your next project? The Apple Pushers. It’s about immigrants in New York City who are street-cart vendors. They’re all first-generation micro entrepreneurs—that is a hard, hard business. They are rolling fruits and vegetables into the inner city where you can’t get a fresh apple. So it’s a film that crosses the issues of food justice and food access and the obesity crisis that’s profoundly affecting the inner cities, as well as immigration.

Best decision? To marry my husband. He has allowed me to be me.

Hidden talent? I danced with an African-American dance company in college. All African-American women—and me.

What’s so intriguing about entrepreneurs? They overcome odds all the time. How do you embrace risk? How do make something happen at the end of the day? It’s having the chutzpah to dream and to go for it and to utilize all of your skills.

Karaoke song? Single Ladies, with the dance, and it would be ugly!