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winter 2018
Mary Vickers header

Atlanta power player — Mary Vickers ’89

Simplifying tax

As vice president of tax for Cox Enterprises Inc., Mary Vickers ’89 and her team of 60 are responsible for managing the taxes for the privately held communications, media and automotive services company and all of its subsidiaries. That means financial statement reporting, income tax, sales tax, regulatory tax, property tax, and more for more than 200 companies. Vickers is on the books as an officer for most.

“Now with tax reform, I’ve become more popular,” she says. “My job never gets boring because we always have some new challenge. Businesses change, laws change, technologies change. I could do the same thing for 10 years, and it would not be the same.”

The ability to adapt has definitely been a key to her success, as has the ability to communicate. Vickers is in meetings at least four to six hours a day. In her current position, she does lots of presentations; she shares bottom lines with CFOs and business partners; she recommends ideas to minimize tax liability. She tells PowerPoint stories using numbers and charts.

“I’m paid to take complicated facts and make them easy to understand,” she explains. “I give people the information they need without overwhelming them.”

Vickers, who played basketball and was on Wofford’s first women’s tennis team and first cross country team, went to work in the accounting department for Turner Broadcasting right out of college. She worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte as well before joining Cox. In 1996, she earned a Master of Tax degree from Georgia State University.

“I never considered myself ambitious,” she says, “but I like the work. I like figuring things out. I was always more focused on the work than the title.”

While she sometimes misses the creation and analysis of spreadsheets, Vickers loves traveling the globe on business, and she appreciates the opportunities for advancement she’s been given at Cox.

“I’ve reported to my boss for 15 years. She’s always pushed me out of my comfort zone. I think she saw something in me that I’m not sure I saw in myself,” says Vickers. “That’s why I’m where I am today.”

By Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington '89