Mary Jo Callan has spent her career working in partnership with young people and communities that have experienced marginalization to create pathways for equitable access to social, political, and economic power. She served in K-12 schools, local governments, and nonprofits prior to coming to UM. She credits her experience in the nonprofit sector for developing her understanding of resilience, teamwork, and ethical and courageous leadership. Her time at Ozone House, a youth development, crisis intervention, and housing organization, was particularly formative as she learned alongside young people to organize, show up, stand up, and persist for change to expand dignity and opportunity for everyone. She was the founding director of Washtenaw County’s Office of Community and Economic Development, where she led efforts to illuminate and address the growing racial and economic inequities playing out across our community and region.
Mary Jo earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Michigan, where her participation in both curricular and co-curricular community-engaged learning ignited her passion for public service toward social justice. She is wholeheartedly dedicated to collaborating with others who share her passion for building and sustaining healthy and vibrant communities by advancing opportunities for everyone to thrive.
As the director of the Edward Ginsberg Center at the University of Michigan, Mary Jo has resumed her efforts to prepare young people to work toward a more just community and world. The Ginsberg Center’s community and civic engagement work is aimed at advancing two goals – developing students while developing the community.