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About Us

We are passionate about developing leaders, building teams, and facilitating plans that drive profitable and thriving organizations.

Our expert team has sat on the client and consultant sides of the table.  We have worked in the public and private sectors.  We have built relationships throughout our industry and use our network to gain additional insight and viewpoints on our work.  We will approach solving problems with you by bringing this diverse set of perspectives and listening attentively to how we can benefit you. 

Hi, I'm Mary Jo!

Founder of Advantage Strategy Consulting, Inc.


My friends call me MJ.

I am an engineer, a project manager, a policy nerd, an elected official, a wife, a mother, and an entrepreneur. I have followed a long and winding path in my career, and I've landed precisely where I want to be - helping others grow and succeed.


This is my Story

A college professor challenged me as I prepared to graduate to do ‘more’ as a civil engineer.  He believed that engineering degrees should be used to serve and help people, making a difference in their lives. 

I found my passion while working at FEMA, responding to natural disasters, and working to make people safer from flooding.  When I left the government, I found that I had gained a unique expertise in strategic planning, process improvement, and leading high-functioning teams. In this realization, I found that what I loved most in my work was helping groups of people have ‘a-ha!’ or ‘lightbulb’ moments that helped them grow and transform themselves and their organizations.

I delivered projects and programs for engineering firms and the federal government for nearly 20 years.  I started my career as a civil engineer, focused on storms and floods.  In 2003, I joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the start of a billion-dollar initiative.  I managed $30 million in projects, and worked closely with hundreds of local communities and state partners.

After 5 years, I moved from a regional role to FEMA headquarters in Washington DC, which allowed me to engage more in policy and strategy.  Among my accomplishments, I led a multi-disciplinary team that transformed the approach to delivering guidance for the $1 Billion mapping program.

In 2012, I returned home to Chicago, and to engineering consulting.  As Vice-President of Project Delivery, I oversaw a team of 40 staff and overhauled a quality management program for my department.

I am a licensed Professional Engineer, a certified Project Management Professional, and certified Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt. I am a proud process and planning geek and have 3 wild and amazing boys. When not speaking, coaching, or consulting, you will find me at a pool or park laughing with my kids, watching mindless reality competition shows, or making spreadsheets just for fun.

Our Values

Our Core Values are at the heart of our work and every client relationship we have. When you work with us, this is what you can expect.


We work side by side with our clients and only find success when we can celebrate our clients' successes.


The key to any successful relationship is trust - we are honest and open with our clients to build and maintain that trust.


Our clients have many constraints and constantly evolve. We respond with agility and flexibility to provide the support they need.


We love to laugh. We love what we do. We want you to love working with us and find joy and laughter throughout the process.