Maria Duncan was raised in the San Francisco East Bay area where she learned the gospel from sister missionaries and joined the Church as she entered her teens. She moved to Cache Valley, Utah for high school and college, graduating from Utah State with a bachelor’s degree in Technology Systems, then worked in the professional media market and has since transitioned to project work.

In the Church, Maria has served in Young Women and Relief Society, worked with the stake youth, and been a Public Affairs (now Communication) director for the most recent six years. She serves on boards for non-profit organizations in her community while coaching middle school sports and raising seven children with her loving husband, Tom.

Maria Duncan


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3:10 Intro to Maria and an explanation of the role of a stake communications director

6:30 Misconceptions about the role of a stake communications director

8:50 The Global Communication Network site requires a special login. The purpose of a private site is for a private way to access marketing and PR materials before they’re released to the public.

9:15 A good starting point when you are called as stake communications director

10:50 Maria’s stake’s focus is interfaith work. Bringing the church out of obscurity and serving your fellow man. It’s about getting to know your community and building connections and relationships with people from other faiths.

12:20 Maria shares some of the things that she does in her calling and the time commitment. She attends different churches in the community and builds relationships with them.

15:40 Involving youth in stake communications activities. Maria shares an experience she had taking some of the youth to a food giveaway and to another local church.

19:10 Are other pastors or church leaders skeptical when you want to work with them?

21:00 When visiting other churches cater to your audience. Dress as they dress, join them, sing with them.

23:00 How Maria involves the youth and the importance of taking youth to other churches

25:10 Attending different churches in the community and building relationships

28:40 Importance of networking and building relationships with other faith communities

30:10 Focusing on connections and relationships rather than conversion. Maria’s calling doesn’t allow her to talk about the church so her main focus is just building a relationship.

33:20 Reflection on the experience of temple open houses

36:10 Maria has 14 people that work with her on the stake communications team. There is a graphic designer, newspaper writer, youth specialist, social media manager, JustServe leaders, education specialist, interfaith leadership, a member of the stake presidency.

38:20 Advice and tips for doing a temple open house.

41:40 Gratitude for the stake communications work and its impact

42:30 How leadership in stake communications has enhanced following Jesus Christ

The Leading Saints Podcast is one of the top independent Latter-day Saints podcasts as part of nonprofit Leading Saints’ mission to help Latter-day Saints be better prepared to lead. Learn more and listen to any of the past episodes for free at

Past guests include Emily Belle Freeman, David Butler, Hank Smith, John Bytheway, Reyna and Elena Aburto, Liz Wiseman, Stephen M. R. Covey, Julie Beck, Brad Wilcox, Jody Moore, Tony Overbay, John H. Groberg, Elaine Dalton, Tad R. Callister, Lynn G. Robbins, J. Devn Cornish, Bonnie Oscarson, Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Anthony Sweat, John Hilton III, Barbara Morgan Gardner, Blair Hodges, Whitney Johnson, Ryan Gottfredson, Greg McKeown, Ganel-Lyn Condie, Michael Goodman, Wendy Ulrich, Richard Ostler, Kirby Heyborne, and many more in over 700 episodes.

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