Since stepping on the “Hill” in July, T. Denise Manning has been working with students to help complete community service requirements and implementing seminars to promote well-being through life coaching.
According to Manning, life coaching is guiding individuals through issues and hardships they face so that staying in alignment with their goals is never an obstacle. The coach is used to hold individuals accountable for what they set out to accomplish.
“Students need to remember coming to FAMU is to go to school,” Manning said. “Right now is a time of self-discovery, and it’s OK if you don’t know the answers right now. You can change your mind and say no to the things that you’re not happy with.”
Manning began life coaching because she knew she had a gift, “despite people saying if and when you’re called, then you need to be a pastor or preach the word.”
She said, “I wanted to be able to look at the core of someone’s being and assist them in the best way to make a difference without forcing religion on them.”
Manning’s life coaching sessions are held Thursdays and Fridays by appointment for 30 minutes to an hour in the Rattlers Den.
Serving as the head for the Office of Service and Leadership, Manning is someone every student may want to meet. In addition to counseling students, she collects all Rattler Records before they are sent to the Registrar’s Office.
She was brought to the university through Student Health Services’ Rattler Wellness program. And after her arrival, students completed a reported 35,000 hours of community service in the fall.
“I am passionate and adamant to make Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University the No.1 HBCU in community service,” Manning said. “It is my job to ensure that the community knows what we do.”
Manning has created partnerships with America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend, the Big Bend Homeless Coalition and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, among others. Students can fill out a matching form or read through the service opportunity book in the Rattlers Den to apply for community service opportunities.
Faith Grant, a fourth-year criminal justice student from Miami, said Manning serves as a role model and is available to give advice whenever it’s needed.
“Ms. Denise is always there,” Grant said. “She is down-to-earth but also an accomplished woman who students can truly look up to. She always makes time to hear me out when I am going through a rough time, so it’s good to know you can make that connection with faculty, especially when you have no one else to turn to.”
Manning imagined a future for herself and refused to stop short of her potential. She is the president of the Greater Tallahassee National Council of Negro Women and a member of the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls for Leon County, among others.
Tennelle Swan, a junior public relations student from Bronx, N.Y., said Manning is working to help her gain community service opportunities and career experience.
“Ms. Manning always creates opportunities for the students,” Swan said. “For me, she is helping me gain valuable experience in public relations by putting me on her team to help promote Girl Talk.”
Girl Talk is an event held in the Rattlers Den that has expanded from Truth Hall after its debut earlier this year. During Girl Talk, both male and female students can come in and have an uncensored discussion about life and issues that students are faced with.
Louis Jean-Baptiste, a fourth-year political science student from Palm Beach, Fla., believes Manning is an extreme asset to the university.
“She is very dependable and gives advice based on experience, whether it is a topic like Greek life or relationships,” Jean-Baptiste said. “She has a program for students every week, and she is always there to just come and connect with when you need someone to talk to.”