Manzo shares life lessons in ‘What Matters’ talk

Jayleen De La Cruz
Staff Writer 

Virginia Manzo, executive assistant in the provost’s office, spoke in the monthly “What Matters to Me and Why” series Oct. 26 in the Ludwick Center Sacred Space.

Manzo started the presentation by thanking the audience of roughly 30 for attending and letting them know why presentations like these are important.

“Staff should participate in events like these,” Manzo said. “You have to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone, and over time it will become easier.”

Manzo continued by sharing information about her childhood and events in her life from which she has learned the most.

Born in East Los Angeles, Manzo remembers playing outside with her siblings when she was a kid.

Her mom worked  two jobs to provide for her and her siblings. She remembers going to clean offices with her and thinking that in the future she wanted to have a desk job.

Manzo recalled accomplishing her dream when she was promoted and assigned to work in a cubicle.

Many circumstances shaped Manzo into who she is today, but she said a great impact was her father not being present in her life. She added that many of her family members have influenced her.

Having been with her husband since they were both 13, Manzo said that he has taught her to be grateful and to enjoy what she has.

Manzo’s brother Andy, after losing his leg, taught her to have confidence in the hardest times, she said. 

She said she has learned from her now-adult daughters who are both successful in their own way.

When she is not working, Manzo volunteers at her church and mentors young people.

Manzo said that working at the University for the past six years has been an adventure. 

She expressed her gratitude for her mentors, guides and teachers, including co-workers at the University who have pushed her to what they knew she was capable of accomplishing.

“The people that we work with become family,” Manzo said. “We should all have a win together, lose together mentality.”

Manzo said she deals with stressful situations by singing under her breath to feel more relaxed.

When people are having a bad day, Manzo said that all they might need to make the day better is a smile or even a snack. 

She invited people to stop by the Provost’s Office to get a snack if they need it.

The presentation concluded with Alesha Knox, associate director of Multicultural Affairs and Black Student Services asking her questions.  

Among the questions, Knox asked her to name one thing she would never do again, to which Manzo answered, cry in front of her boss. Her favorite hobby? Singing. Her favorite piece of technology? Apple watch. The simplest way to make her smile? Make a dog appear. 

During the Q&A portion of the presentation, Daniel Loera, director of multicultural affairs, asked Manzo about her process for identifying her core values and how her culture inspires those.

Manzo responded that as a Latino, you always want to feel accepted and warm, so her faith in Jesus Christ and values melted into her culture because she always wants to give so much love to people.

Manzo ended by saying that she is thankful for everyone who attended.

Manzo and her daughters, who attended her talk, sang a worship song, and the audience applauded.

“Presentations like these really help students know the people that work on campus,” sophomore philosophy major Kelly Headley said.“Usually students only get to know their professors and their counselors and this way they get to know other (staff) members that make this campus what it is.”

Jayleen De La Cruz can be reached at

Jayleen De La Cruz is a sophomore communication major with a concentration in public relations and a staff writer at the Campus Times for Fall 2023.

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