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Fellows Forum

Ann Kalass, ‘15

Ann Kalass, ‘15

CEO, Starfish Family Services: Inkster, MI

Ann Kalass has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Starfish Family Services since 2007. As CEO, she is responsible for strategic planning, fund development, board development, fiscal management, and program and organizational development for the $35 million private, non-profit agency.

In this role, Ann has led a period of unprecedented strategic growth (nearly 300% growth in revenue), by defining and strengthening the agency’s core competencies in early childhood development, clinical services, and family support programs.  Ann has rebuilt the agency’s leadership team, worked with the board of directors to develop and implement two, three-year strategic plans, and built new community alliances and partnerships. 

Under Kalass’ direction, Starfish has dramatically grown the organization’s clinical and early childhood divisions, opening new outpatient offices in Westland and Inkster and launching new 0-5 services throughout Wayne County.  In March 2009, Starfish Family Services joined the Family Service Alliance for Southeastern Michigan (the Alliance), a ground-breaking regional collaborative model designed to improve the quality, efficiency, and access of family service agencies in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.  The Alliance was recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business in fall 2010 as one of the area’s Best Managed Nonprofits.

Most recently, Kalass has strengthened the agency’s focus on creating positive outcomes for children aged zero to five, securing an early childhood planning grant from the Kresge Foundation to develop the supporting strategies and implementation plans to drive positive community level change in the agency’s home base of Inkster.  Major national and local foundations including Kresge, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McGregor Fund, and United Way have made significant investments in this plan. By 2014, 94% of Inkster children leaving Starfish’s preschool programs for kindergarten were ready for school success.

In 2014, Starfish was named as the lead agency in a $75 million, 5-year initiative as part of a national Birth to Five Pilot from the Office of Head Start, to serve 1,000 Detroit children under age five annually in some of the city’s most distressed neighborhoods.  Starfish is leading a collaborative of long-standing social service organizations determined to work together to rebuild the system of care and supports for Detroit children.  

Prior to joining Starfish, Kalass worked for 13 years in a variety of marketing and sales executive positions at Ford Motor Company.  At Ford, she ran Lincoln-Mercury’s largest sales region in the country and oversaw Lincoln-Mercury marketing communications with a $400 mil annual budget. Kalass has more than 20 years of management and leadership experience in the profit and non-profit sectors.

Kalass volunteers in leadership capacities in causes important to her – specifically, education and healthcare. In 2014, she was elected to the Northville Public School District Board for a four year term. She also serves on the Oakwood Healthcare System Board, and she recently served on the Executive Committee of the Great Start Collaborative – Wayne, a collaborative designed to engage the entire community in a coordinated system of services and resources for families and children birth through age five.

Kalass earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and her MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.  In 2009, Ann received a certificate from Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives on Nonprofit Leadership program.

Ann and her husband Scott reside in Northville with their two daughters.