An accomplished federal executive, Mary Josie Cain Blanchard earned an Associate of Arts, with honors, from Stephens College in 1967 before attending the University of Texas at Austin, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in 1969 and 1971, respectively. In 1970, she embarked on her career as an instructor for the College of the Mainland and became the research director for the Prudhomme Corporation in 1971. In 1972, she joined the environmental planning division of the Texas General Land Office, where she remained until 1975 when she became the chief of permits and research for the surface mining reclamation division of the Railroad Commission of Texas.
Ms. Blanchard began her work with the federal government in 1978 as a program specialist in the Office of Surface Mining with the U.S. Department of the Interior. Rising to become a staff assistant for technical services and research with the office in 1979, she later achieved the position of branch chief of federal regulatory activities in 1982. In 1987, she joined the Office of the Secretary as the chief of environmental policy and compliance for the minerals resources division and went on to hold that same position in the hazardous materials management division from 1990 to 1993. During this time, she furthered her studies with a senior executive fellowship at Harvard University in 1992.
Becoming special assistant to the director of the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement in 1993, Ms. Blanchard rose to the position of assistant director of the office in 1995 before becoming the deputy director of environmental policy and compliance with the Office of the Secretary in 2002, where she remained until she attained her current position in 2016. Today, she serves as the director of Gulf of Mexico restoration with the Office of the Secretary. Continuously inspired by the interesting issues, opportunities and challenges that her career has presented her with, Ms. Blanchard notes that she doesn’t think she has ever had a job where she was even the least bit bored.
Over the years, Ms. Blanchard has been involved with a variety of professional and academic organizations both as a member and in a variety of leadership roles. Since 2014, she has served on the board of directors of the Institute of Civility in Government and is also presently active with the Capital Speakers Club. She is a life member of the Ex-Students Association of The University of Texas and has further affiliated herself with the Interstate Mining Compact Commission, Women in Mining and Executive Women in Government, among others.
For her excellence, Ms. Blanchard received the Hall of Honor Award from the Texas City Independent School District in 2012 and the Woman of Distinction Award from Alpha Xi Delta in 2009. The Stephens College Alumnae Association presented her with the Stephens College Alumnae Achievement Award in 2007 and the Alumnae Service Award in 2000. For her service to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Ms. Blanchard was also honored with the Interior Women’s Distinguished Leadership Award and a Distinguished Service Medal in 2000 and a Meritorious Service Medal in 1995.