She’s All Over The Place

Michigan Female Business Owner Supports 1800 Women Owned Businesses in Africa During the Global Pandemic with Mana Boxes - Michelle Klassen Merrigan

January 26, 2021

Michelle Klassen (“MK”) Merrigan began her career in humanitarian aid, working frequently in the developing world. For the past decade, MK led the development of advanced energy solutions that meet the mission of US military, security, and peacekeeping forces operating beyond secure supply lines. Opening up new markets with creative capital, this work quickly led to border security in support of national security interests; economic development efforts through small business models at the last kilometer; and in developing regions and markets.

Beholden to the idea that if Detroit could put a car in every driveway, we could also provide power as an economic enabler, in every region of the world. MK led a diverse team from a small prototype shop in Ferndale, Michigan. This team is responsible for some of the energy industry’s most incredible firsts, including the first off-grid solar microgrid of its size providing 24/7 power to a Haitian village, in Les Anglais, Haiti, as well as the first off-grid environmental monitoring system for use by a major American power utility, in the California desert.

Growing up in the military and often the minority and ‘new kid’ in multiple cities and schools across our nation, MK learned how to quickly find areas of commonality and connection - a habit that has enabled trust for her influence in rooms that will define our way of living for generations.

Since 2016, MK has led a small advisory firm called Mana Kalani Advisors in an effort to scale industries and emerging market efforts on behalf of, and in service to, end-users, operators, national security interests, aid agencies, communities, and island nations.
In 2020, MK founded Mana Boxes, a curated subscription box program for handcrafted fashion and decor that supports women artists and entrepreneurs in South Africa. Mana Boxes provides livelihood and empowerment to over 1800 women, and their communities, through its subscription model.

In addition to being a strategic advisor on important resource issues facing our generation, MK serves as Chairwoman of the Board for Mana Pacific, a benefit corporation organizing leaders across 22 Pacific island nations to develop, finance, and build energy projects in support of 100% renewable energy in the region by 2025. MK also advises the Board of Directors for Michigan Women in Defense, as well as SlipStream, Inc., and serves on the Leadership Council of the nation’s largest small business administration, SBAM.

In addition, we deep dive into the heart and soul of what Mana means and how you can take actionable steps for health and peace.  For any person wanting to learn more about women's empowerment, this episode is certainly for you. 

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Michigan Business Network Podcast

Watch and learn more with Nelson Mandela's former chief of staff and CEO of Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang with Michelle and her parent Anni


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