The daughter of a storyteller, much of Mary H. Curtin’s professional life was grounded in the value of stories. A teacher of composition and literature at Riverside Community College, she moved quickly to leadership. She was elected Chief Executive Officer of a 100,000-member AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, where she told the stories of workers to members of Congress, to state and local legislators and to civic organizations through press conferences, news releases, and personal appearances. She chaired the California Council for the Humanities, and retains close contacts within the humanities community nationwide.
Curtin wrote about community from a long-time perspective of leadership within community-based organizations. Her op-ed pieces appeared in Long Island-based Newsday, Riverside, California’s The Press-Enterprise, and in the Italian-based magazine, SlowFood.