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Ellen Maling, MBA

I launched Merrymeeting Management Solutions because there is a dire need for a strategic and practical focus on accomplishing the important work of mission-driven organizations. 


I’m committed to relevant services to organizations within their budgets. Effective consulting services require deep listening and an understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the organization and the sector. I believe in collaboration and information sharing.


My approach focuses on what fuels good work:

people, money, and information. 


I have worked with the nonprofit sector for most of my adult life. I coordinated direct mail for my father’s advocacy efforts in my teens. I’ve worked in a variety of roles: direct service, program management, grantmaker and both internal and external consultant across the environmental, recreation, social service and health sectors, primarily in Alaska.   


In the summer of 2016, I repatriated to Maine after nearly 5 years in Thailand and Cambodia as an English teacher at a small, Buddhist private school and in a senior leadership position in Cambodia’s leading teaching hospital that served the poor and vulnerable.


My values exhibit a commitment to social justice, a deep appreciation for connections and networks, and a healthy respect for creativity, stewardship, thrift, and venturing forth into uncharted territory.  I love being in wild places and enjoy reading, writing, knitting, and scheming up new adventures.


I’m always happy to have a chat. Please call me with questions or a new perspective on the opportunities and problems facing your organization.


Early in my life, I had the fortunate circumstance of stumbling into a profession that combined my passion for exploring wild places with the spirit to pitch in during the peak season.

I worked as a seasonal guide, cook, trouble-shooter, cheerleader and plate spinner for 15 years.


These skills are transferrable.

Guiding -
Providing a competent, multi-skilled, encouraging approach to leadership in unfamiliar places -
is an integral part of who I am
and what I do.

After a very intense job as a street outreach counselor in Boston in the mid-80s (and during the early stages of the HIV epidemic), I cleaned out, packed up, and found a job as a Summer Outdoor Program Leader at Windsor Mountain International in New Hampshire.  I headed south to Key West and the Everglades National Park for the winter. Just a week before spring break, I arrived into Big Bend National Park and met Big Bend River Tours' owner (and now very successful author) Beth Garcia.

I became "Half Day Helen", mastering storytelling, river reading and oarsmanship on 3-hour scenic float trips on the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park. Those experiences inspired me to venture to Alaska and join the Alaska Wildland Adventures team. I honed skills as an intrepetve guide in the Russian River valley and Denali National Park that first summer, I was the first Type 1 Diabetic to secure a USCG “Six Pack” license to operate motorized boats across Skilak Lake and was also promoted to a seasonal program manager. I went back to Big Bend and skied in Colorado for the winters, returning to Alaska each summer.

In 1995, I accepted a position as a Program Coordinator for the (now defunct) Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association and moved to Juneau to manage operations.  During the summer,  I learned my way around sea kayaks with the help of Alaska Discovery. In addition to running interference for the Program Director, I orchestrated many day trips including bear viewing on Admiralty Island. With time and experience, I eventually led remote, multi-day trips in Berner’s Bay, Glacier Bay and fjords in the Tongass National Forest. 

When I moved to Anchorage for a position with the Alaska Conservation Foundation in 1998, I guided trips in the Gates of the Arctic National Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during my paid time off. I continued to work in more remote rivers of the Arctic Refuge with Arctic Wild before leaving the state to attend graduate school at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in 2004.

Miles Lake, Copper River 
On the shore of the Beaufort Sea

With my new MBA, I lucked into working as the Director of Outdoor Programs and Special Projects for CampFire USA Alaska Council.  I worked my last wilderness guiding experience on the Marsh Fork of the Canning River in 2008.


In the summers before I left for Southeast Asia in 2011, I picked up a few trips with Mountain-Travel Sobek Alaska program. Through my years as an expatriate, I explored wild places in Thailand, Tanzania, Cambodia, Bali, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bhutan, Myanmar and Australia. My passion for travel now leads me to wild Maine rivers and other desinations. 

I'm now dedicating my skills and talents to working with resilient Mainers.
In concert with colleagues, I facilitate effective efforts to create a sustainable and prosperous future for all.
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