Mary Cunningham Agee

Mary Cunningham Agee bigraphy, stories - Business executive, author & philanthropist

Mary Cunningham Agee : biography

1951 –

Mary Cunningham Agee (born 1951 in Falmouth, Maine) is an American business executive and author.Powerplay: What Really Happened at Bendix, Mary Cunningham Agee, Simon Schuster, 1984 She served in the top management of two Fortune 100 companies in the 1980s, one of the first women to do so, and was twice voted one of the “25 Most Influential Women in America” by World Almanac 1981 and 1982.The World Almanac and Book of Facts, Infobase Publishing, New York, NY, 1981The World Almanac and Book of Facts, Infobase Publishing, New York, NY, 1982 Agee is a Managing Partner of the Semper Charitable FoundationThe Catholic Funding Guide – A Directory of Resources for Catholic Activities, FADICA, 4th Edition, 2005 and CEO of the family’s boutique wine business, Aurea Estate Wines, Inc.

Agee is founder and CEO of The Nurturing Network (TNN), an international charitable organization that provides an alternative to abortion for women facing unplanned pregnancy. She is a counselor to TNN clients and a motivational speaker."A Dream on Canvas", Stacy Mattingly, Crisis Magazine, The Morley Institute, 1996Compassion in Action – Maternal Profiles in Courage,” Mary Cunningham Agee, Cypress Press, 2006

Early years

Cunningham was born in Portland, Maine to Irish-American parents. When she was five years old, her parents separated. Her mother moved her four children to Hanover, New Hampshire where a relative, Monsignor William “Father Bill” Nolan, who was chaplain at Dartmouth College,William Liguori Nolan, Inside Catholic, George Rutler, September 2, 2007 offered paternal support for the family.A Practical Compassion, Deirdre Frontczak, North Coast Catholic, Diocese of Santa Rosa, April 2011, pp 7–11 American Women Activists’ Writings – An Anthology, 1637–2002, Kathryn Cullen-DuPont, Cooper Square Press, 2002 pages 544–556


Cunningham graduated from Hanover High School in 1969. She worked summers on Cape Cod as a short-order cook and as a bank teller to supplement her college tuition scholarship. Her family could not afford an Ivy League college so she enrolled at Newton College of the Sacred Heart (now merged with Boston College) in Newton, Massachusetts and was elected Class President. She was awarded a full academic scholarship to attend Wellesley College, where she transferred for her sophomore year. She won a Slater Fellowship to study law and ethics at Trinity College, Dublin for her junior year abroad and received two Danforth Nominations to continue her studies in ethics and moral philosophy at the graduate level. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Wellesley in 1973 with B.A. in logic and philosophy.

She graduated in 1979 from the Harvard Business School with an MBA in Finance and International Business. The HBS Dean referred to Cunningham having the "best chance of being the first female graduate of the Business School to become chairman of a non-cosmetic company"."Mary Cunningham’s Quiet Triumph", Detroit Free Press – Business Monday, January 11, 1993Powerplay: What Really Happened at Bendix, Mary Cunningham Agee, Simon Schuster, 1984, p13

The Nurturing Network

Agee lost her first child, Angela Grace, in a late trimester miscarriage in January 1984."A spiritual life helps Bendix cause celebre pursue mission," Chicago Tribune, February 28, 1993 That caused Agee to investigate the availability of resources for women whose pregnancies end through abortion due to lack of economic, educational or social support."Business World: A Working Woman’s Network Into Motherhood", Tim W. Ferguson, The Wall Street Journal, August 4, 1990"Network of Hope", Una McManus, Reader’s Digest, November 1991, pp 132–136 Agee then decided to create The Nurturing Network. The Agees sold their vacation home for start-up funds and The Nurturing Network opened its doors, providing women with access to resources, counseling and advice.“The Nurturing Network,” Good Housekeeping, November 1991 Agee’s role at TNN includes writing and motivational speaking."A Faith Journey: From Success to Significance", Mary Cunningham Agee, Radio interview with Dick Lyles, Catholic Business Journal, October 2009