Mari Manoogian was born and raised in Birmingham, Michigan. She attended Birmingham Public Schools and graduated with honors from Seaholm High School.
Mari’s great-grandparents escaped the Armenian Genocide and came to the United States in the early 1920s. Her father’s and mother’s families arrived in Michigan via Ellis Island, and ultimately settled in the Detroit area, due to the promise of jobs and a vibrant Armenian-American community. Her grandfather’s family rented a farm in Monroe, MI, and sold produce in the local neighborhoods. Her grandfather enlisted in the Army during World War II. He benefited from the GI Bill, training to eventually become an award-winning hairdresser. He worked in Birmingham and Southfield for more than fifty years. Her grandmother raised her four children in the family’s Allen Park home.
On her mother’s side, Mari’s grandfather’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to own several small businesses across Detroit and Oakland County. Following her graduation from Southwestern High School in Detroit, Mari’s grandmother worked in a bank until she married Mari’s grandfather. She raised their four children in Detroit and Southfield-Lathrup.
Mari’s mother and father met through Mari’s uncle, who has been a close friend of her father since childhood. Today, Mari’s mom is a small-business owner and vocational rehabilitation counseling expert. Mari’s dad took a job as a cable splicer at Detroit Edison after high school. During his career at Edison he also held various positions with the union. He was elected and served as President of Local 223, the union which represents Detroit Edison’s workers, from 1988 to 1997. He worked in the utility industry for fifty years, and retired in 2016 as Chief of Staff of the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO. Mari’s younger sister, Alis, is also a graduate of Seaholm High School. She’s currently a senior at the School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University.
From a young age, Mari’s family instilled in her a strong work ethic. She began babysitting in the local community when she was twelve, and spent summers and breaks during high school and college waiting tables at Hunter House Hamburgers. Mari earned a varsity letter in figure skating, was an award-winning high school journalist, and played several seasons of basketball for St. John Armenian Church in the Orthodox Athletic League. She figure skated competitively, and was a member of the Figure Skating Club of Birmingham for fifteen years.
Education and public service has always been a priority for Mari’s family. Mari graduated from Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. During her studies, she interned for then-Congressman John D. Dingell, the Council on Foreign Relations, and for Ambassador Samantha Power at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Mari volunteered in global education programs for DC public school students, teaching public speaking and research skills through Model United Nations, and was an active member of the GW College Democrats.
After graduation, Mari worked in the Office of English Language Programs at the U.S. Department of State. While working with foreign and civil service officers, Mari set her sights on a career in public service. She was accepted to complete graduate studies in Global Communication, and again chose the Elliott School of International Affairs at GW. She worked full-time in the Office of eDiplomacy at the department while in enrolled in school full-time. Mari is running for the Democratic nomination to be the 40th District’s state representative to serve the people of her home community. She understands the importance of quality K-12 education, will make affordable higher education a priority, and is keenly aware of the critical need for leadership in the State House representing her community. She is a member of the ACLU, NAACP, Sierra Club, and St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Dearborn.