About Michael

Michael McLaughlin is the creator of Hike4Kids, Unite4Kids, and Edspira.  He is the first person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail and Ozark Trail back-to-back, a feat which raised $15,000 for charity.  Michael holds four master’s degrees, a CPA license, and a PhD from Washington University in St. Louis, where Michael teaches accounting.  But the most amazing part of Michael’s story is where it began. 

At the age of seventeen, Michael found himself homeless– living at times in a storage shed, a car, a tent, and a camper.  He hadn’t met his father until he was sixteen years old and living in foster care, following childhood abuse that resulted in Michael’s face being permanently scarred.  Although he lacked basic amenities such as heat and running water, Michael pursued his education and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 gpa.  Michael continued to earn accolades in graduate school, winning a $25,000 fellowship from the Deloitte Foundation and becoming the first individual to receive the TeamMBA Service Award. 

A frequent speaker, Michael has emceed charity events, delivered commencement addresses, and shared his inspiring story with audiences across the country. 

Michael teaches at the Olin Business School and the Brown School of Social Work.  He loves interacting with students and seeing education improve their lives.

Michael is committed to making business and financial education freely accessible to all.  Michael agrees with Nelson Mandela, who said that education is the most powerful tool you can use to change the world.

Michael considers himself fortunate to have received an excellent education.  The goal of his life is to share this gift with others, and to inspire people to believe that they too can achieve their dreams.

“We spend a lot of time thinking about the opinions of others, but the most important opinion in your life is the one you have of yourself.”