MANA’s founder, Apollinaire Karara, prior to coming to the U.S. was a former mayor of a large district in Rwandan where he was recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross for his work in post-genocide reconciliation. While studying Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University, Apollo studied the knowledge worker gap in Maine and proposed steps that could speed the professional integration of foreign-trained immigrant professionals .
Starting in Fall 2012, MANA brought key stakeholders’ attention to the need for improved immigrant professional integration, through MIRC, the Maine Chamber, and the Maine Workforce Forum. These efforts resulted in both the allocation of $50,000 in Department of Labor funds being allocated to help transfer the credentials of foreign-trained professionals and in the Maine Legislature's Joint Select Committee on Maine's Workforce and Economic Future inclusion of an immigrant professional integration funding clause in LD90, which provided the initial funding for the annually renewed New Mainers Resource Center which provides career case management for foreign-trained immigrant professionals to re-enter their careers.
Key to the success of these efforts was Francine Ngabu, a human rights activist and Judge from the D. R. Congo, who in March 2013 provided the initial testimony to the Maine Legislature's Joint Select Committee on Maine's Workforce and Economic Future. In September 2014, after Apollo relocated to Texas, Francine Ngabu became MANA’s second (and current) President.