Hynes receives Italian-American honor
Mary Ann Hynes
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:04AM
NILES — Impresa Award recipient Mary Ann Hynes of Niles is senior vice president, counsel to the chairman and chief compliance officer of Ingredion Inc. She discussed the award and her heritage in an interview.
Q. What is the Impresa Award?
A. The Impresa Award is given biannually by the Women’s Division of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian-Americans (JCCIA) to honor women from the Chicago Italian-American community who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments for the betterment of their communities.
Q. What was your reaction?
A. I was very humbled and proud. … This award really was a tribute to my parents who both worked in factories and, through their dedication and hard work, made all of this possible for me.
Q. Has preserving your Italian heritage always been important?
A. From early childhood, I realized that my Italian heritage was part and parcel of my family life. Both of my parents came to America from small towns in Italy, my father from Rende and my mother from San Fili (my father at age 16 alone with his sister). Their pride and that of their siblings and extended family in being Italian was an integral part of my life.
Q. How has your family’s experience impacted you?
A. My parents emigrated from Italy, but they always carried with them the traditions, language and pride in being Italian. They came to America to make a better life for themselves and their family, while still maintaining the traditions (especially the food) of their ancestors. This pride in “where you came from” and in family traditions is why I want to help preserve my Italian heritage for my children, my family and myself.
Q. How long have you lived in Niles?
A. My husband, (village Trustee) Jim, and I moved to Niles in early 1977, bringing with us our infant daughter, Christina. Shortly after we became settled, my parents bought the house next door, and Niles has been our family home ever since. When we were looking for the right place to plant our roots, Niles stood out as a community with superb village services, low tax burden, friendly neighbors, and a great park district. And it still is a great place to raise a family as evidenced by the fact that our two children now live across the street from us raising their children in Niles.
Q. Why did you choose to recently claim your Italian citizenship?
A. I thought that doing so would be an appropriate tribute to my parents and aunts and uncles who all emigrated from Italy. Also, as my husband, Jim, was able to get his Irish citizenship earlier, I couldn’t let him one-up me.
Q. What is your hope for your children and grandchildren?
A. Our children both had a great and loving relationship with my parents and what better tribute to them for their grandchildren to become Italian citizens. By them obtaining their citizenship, we hope that they will realize and impress upon their children that we are all products of those who came before us.