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October 26, 2022

Meet Manpreet Kalra: Chief Impact & Communication Officer

A partnership forged by fate and driven by impact – an exciting announcement from Sara.

Today, I’m so excited and honored to announce that our long time advisor, Manpreet Kaur Kalra, has joined MINNA in a bigger way: as my business partner and our Chief Impact and Communication Officer.

When I started using the name “Minna” for my weavings in 2013 I didn’t yet know what it would really be. I didn’t want to use my name because I wanted minna to grow into something beyond me. I wanted it to be vague, but hold meaning. Minna was my grandmother’s middle name that she rebelliously dropped when she arrived at Ellis Island when she was 15, escaping Nazi Germany. It was her grandmother’s name, a family name. It was perfect.

My weavings gradually turned into a desire to learn more about textiles throughout the world. After leaving the digital design world I decided that whatever I did next had to be intentional and create some sort of positive impact. I turned my art practice into a business after I took my first trip to Mexico in 2015 to learn about artisan production. Things moved fast and slow since then. Going from designer to entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. I think most small business owners will tell you that. Stepping into the role of entrepreneur was bumpy at best for me, though I think I’ve finally caught my stride. Partly because I realized it was time to stop trying to grow alone.

In 2020 I began working with a team of advisors. I had already been working with Holly Howard for several years, and then I brought on Amy Chender to support as I began my first fundraise and Manpreet to help us formalize how we talk about impact and the work we do with our artisan partners. Manpreet and I immediately clicked, we could talk about impact and the artisan sector candidly – the good, the not so great, and the complex. What began as a small consulting project turned into an advisory role and a friendship.

I first learned about Manpreet through a workshop she led with Nest. Over the years, she has dedicated her work to decolonizing the way organizations approach sustainable international development, particularly within the artisan sector. She has worked with a diversity of organizations and businesses from around the world as they think about their approach to impact and build go-to-market strategies that include equitable supply chains. Manpreet has been formative in developing MINNA’s approach to impact communication (and has guided our impact reports over the last two years!). Her work focuses on the interconnectivity of economic, social, and climate justice, recognizing that one is not possible without the others. Manpreet’s journey within the artisan sector started similarly to my own, with a desire to use her skills to create a positive impact in the world. With her immense experience co-creating solutions that promote equitable, anti-racist and innovative work environments, Manpreet will continue to strengthen our approach to community and culture. From facilitating critical conversations globally as a speaker and educator, Manpreet is a leader within the artisan space, and brings to MINNA a wealth of experience and knowledge. I could not be more thrilled to have her on the MINNA team.

I never fully imagined bringing on a partner 8 years in, or one with so much incredible experience and expertise. What does this mean for MINNA? We will have more leadership and support internally as we continue to grow – allowing bigger goals to take shape. MINNA started with a commitment to consider our impact in every decision we make as a business. Bringing Manpreet on to lead our impact strategy as my business partner lives up to this core value. Building an impact-driven business is a marathon, not a sprint. We recognize that progress is a process and are dedicated to continuously improving how we use business to do good.

MINNA is now led by two women whose grandmothers lived with resilience and were both named MINNA. If that’s not fate, I don’t know what is.

Manpreet Kalra has joined MINNA as a Chief Impact and Communication Officer