Mary Nemetz

Never be afraid to admit you don’t know or understand something. It’s very empowering to accept and verbalize this fact of life. This one statement literally opens so many doors for you to walk through and to continue learning and growing.


Mary N. Nemetz, Co-Founder and CEO, has hands-on experience in corporate management, non-profits and start-ups. She received her bachelor’s degree and her JD from Creighton University and spent 18 years with the Spiegel Group. As Director of Corporate Real Estate she was responsible for asset management, strategic planning and project development. Growing up in a family that lived to serve, she is a strong believer in giving back to the community, a committed volunteer and has held leadership positions with several non-profits including serving as President of the Development Board for an educational non-profit and President of the Bishop’s Respect Life Advisory Board for the Diocese of Joliet. She and her husband Kevin created Tix4Cause as a solution to problems they faced trying to raise funds and awareness for the causes they support. Mary combines her legal background, experience in non-profit organizations, business administration knowledge and her compassion to make a difference, to direct the operations of the Tix4Cause team. Mary and her husband Kevin live in Naperville, IL. She’s a huge sports fan and bleeds Cubbie blue. In her free time she enjoys attending all sporting events, likes to hit the links as well as the slopes, and absolutely loves to travel – anywhere, anytime.

Where did the idea for Tix4cause come from?

Necessity – it really is the mother of all invention. Being very actively involved with our charities for years, my husband and I were constantly fundraising in all different capacities. One commodity we always had available to us were tickets. People were always contacting us asking if the school or the shelter could use tickets to the upcoming game or concert. Unfortunately, if we didn’t have an event coming up, like a golf outing or an auction, we didn’t have an easy way to monetize the tickets donation. And then one day, sitting at a White Sox game, the light bulb went off and we asked each other the “what if” question. “What if there was an easy way for donors to donate tickets to their favorite cause, for charities to monetize them and for purchasers to make every ticket purchase matter at no extra cost.” Tix4cause was born shortly thereafter.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Days start very early, end late, and repeat 7 days a week. I’m a huge Chicago sports fan and a die-hard Cubs fan. I start the day checking on my teams, especially now that we’re in baseball season, to see if I can fly the “W”! After hopefully hoisting the “W”, I review my calendar and objectives (short term, midterm and long-term) and set my focus for the day on how each of my actions moves the ball forward on these objectives. The day ends with a candid assessment of goals accomplished and setting the path to blaze the next day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

By listening and seeking first to understand what we are trying to do at Tix4cause to solve a challenge or create an opportunity. Once we’re able to hear the need and understand the why behind the need, it’s much easier to define the purpose and think outside the box and bring ideas to life.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Consumers, especially millennial consumers, are now demanding businesses do more than sell a product. These consumers are loud and clear and not going away. They require businesses to be part of a solution and to tell the consumer how they are working to make a difference in their community, let alone the world. More importantly, consumers are making buying choices based on the good businesses do and this trend has led to tremendous growth in businesses making corporate social responsibility an integral part of their overall business strategy.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I thrive on constructive criticism. I’m notoriously direct and don’t take things personally. This allows me to engage in extremely constructive “point-counter-point” discussions with trusted Tix4cause partners, advisors, causes, and our members and enables me to see an issue from multiple perspectives to be in the best position possible to make decisions.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Never be afraid to admit you don’t know or understand something. It’s very empowering to accept and verbalize this fact of life. This one statement literally opens so many doors for you to walk through and to continue learning and growing.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

It’s important to be grateful in all circumstances – good AND bad – especially the bad ones.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Listen – seek first to understand and then to be understood.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Transparency – in all aspects of our business. Tix4cause is not a ticket broker or fundraiser; we’re a social enterprise that provides access to tickets with a mission of providing people an effortless way to support the causes that move them at no extra cost. For this “why” to be accepted and shared by our causes and our users, we need to make sure everyone knows exactly who we are and how we operate and work with them.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

As an entrepreneur you have to wear multiple hats at multiple times on any given day and you won’t always have the expertise needed and this can lead to making mistakes. You have to be diligent in recognize this deficiency and in seeking to involve others to help you make the right decision or selection. It does take a village and you can’t go it alone. You have to seek out the support and skills to help you make the right decision and move ahead.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

With the aging population in this country and with everyone’s busy schedule it’s very difficult for family members to check in on their loved ones on a regular basis – especially when the family members are in different geographic areas of the country. My idea is to provide a service that literally performs spot checks and visits to loved ones who are in managed care facilities and to be the eyes and ears to see and hear how they are doing, how they are being cared for and report back to the family members responsible for their care.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A donation to a teacher’s Donors Choose Page to provide basic learning materials for her middle school special education classroom at a school in a very poor area in Chicago. The personal thank you notes I received from the teacher as well as the students for helping them purchase these new materials were awe-inspiring and a constant reminder of the power of working together.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Evernote. I use to personally and professionally to keep my life organized and to manage ideas, projects, notes, collaborations and group notes – and I’m just getting started!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Perfectly Yourself” by Matthew Kelly. It really touched a nerve in me so much so that I read a section or two at the start of each day. It challenges my way of thinking, personally and professionally, and in a sometimes very complicated world, enables me to see that the path forward is quite simple – just do the next right thing!

What is your favorite quote?

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Henry Ford
This inspires me every day to think outside the box and beyond the horizon!

Key learnings:

  • Listen – first and foremost listen – to your customers, partners, your advisors.
  • Learning is the catalyst to personal growth. Immersive learning is gas in the tank on a personal level and rocket fuel for your business.
  • “Harnessing the power of working together towards a common goal delivers remarkable results for everyone involved in the process. Harnessing this power to do good delivers remarkable results for everyone – period.

Tix4Cause on Twitter: @tix4cause
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