Mary Jo Mullen, PE, PMP
CEO & President
A college professor challenged Mary Jo as she prepared to graduate to do ‘more’ as an engineer. He believed that engineering degrees could be used in ways that served and helped people, making a difference in their lives. Mary Jo found her passion while working at FEMA, responding to natural disasters, and working to make people safer from flooding. When she left the government, she found that she had gained unique expertise in strategic planning and federal proposal processes. In this realization, Mary Jo found that what she loved most in her work was helping groups of people have ‘a-ha!’ or ‘lightbulb’ moments.
Facilitating engaging workshops allows her to help professional service firms turn on that ‘lightbulb’ so that they can write better proposals, win more work, and grow their businesses.
Mary Jo is most passionate about working with small firms, particularly woman- and veteran-owned, who face additional challenges in growing their businesses and succeeding.
Mary Jo Mullen has spent her career and life finding ways to help others succeed. Mary Jo has delivered projects and programs for engineering firms and the federal government for nearly 20 years. She used this valuable experience and founded Advantage Strategy Consulting to help small businesses that are traditionally disadvantaged in the marketplace.
Mary Jo started her career as an engineer, focused on storms and floods. In 2003, she joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the start of a billion-dollar initiative. She managed $30 million in projects, and worked closely with hundreds of local communities and state partners. After 5 years, Mary Jo moved from a regional role to FEMA headquarters which allowed to engage more in the policy and strategy, develop acquisition strategies, participate in source selection boards, and manage large contracts.
In 2012, she returned home to Chicago, and to consulting. During that time, she supported a large engineering firm in competing for and winning a $200 million federal contract. Her approach and strategies were proven to succeed, and she founded her business to provide these strategies to small businesses.
Mary Jo is a licensed Professional Engineer and certified Project Management Professional. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BS in Civil Engineering. She is a proud process and planning geek, and has 3 wild and crazy boys. When not speaking or consulting, you will find her at a pool, park or indoor playground laughing with her kids.