Skip to main content

Charlene Manuel

Evening-time MBA ‘23
Class Year:
Director of Education, AESC

Hometown: Columbus, GA 


What's something on your bucket list? 

Honoring my father in a meaningful way that helps people. My father passed in 2020 and he was both a nurse and a chicken farm business owner in the Philippines. When he passed, many of his former colleagues shared stories of how he was their steady rock during the evening ICU shifts. He helped patients, colleagues and his employees by lifting them out of poverty.   

What actor would you cast to play yourself in a movie about yourself and why? 

Amy Poehler + Awkwafina + Tia Carrere. I relate to Amy Poehler’s humor and diversity of interests, Awkwafina’s authenticity, and Tina Carrere for how she could rock a guitar and tango. 

What's your favorite place you've traveled to and why?  

Vietnam. I spent most of my solo-backpacking trip in Vietnam and loved it. The food, culture, and variety of natural and urban settings were magical. I could enjoy a Vietnamese coffee and delight in the bustling street scenery one week and then sleep in the third largest cave in the world the following week.   

Favorite family tradition: 

New Year’s was a big family holiday, celebrated with extended family, friends and fireworks. We often would head out to Bang Bang Fireworks to load up on massive fireworks for the stroke of midnight show. Things are more subdued now, but I still light sparklers to celebrate the new year and pay gratitude for the year past.   

What is your proudest accomplishment? 

I am proud to have jointly fundraised for Alzheimer’s while crossing the NYC marathon finish line. I lived close to the NYC marathon course and used to cheer friends on until one year, I had a strong desire to know what it felt like to cross the finish line. I wasn’t necessarily a runner growing up but was not a newcomer to NYRR races. My grandmother had passed from Alzheimer’s and there was an opportunity to join the CaringKind marathon training team. For one summer, I had a series of successive weeks feeling on top of the world having run 15, 16, 17, 20 miles – longer than I ever had in my life. On race day, I was ready and paced myself accordingly but hit a slog on miles 18-23 until a cheering stranger called my name and reiterated that “I could do it.” That boost in addition to my playlist taking a turn for the better, pushed me to finish strong. Marathon day became my favorite day of the year as I love cheering others throughout the feat.   

What did you want to be when you were small?  

I wanted to be a writer and/or director. 

What is your latest book recommendation? 

“A Thousand Mornings” by Mary Oliver. Working remotely and then spending evenings in a classroom, I enjoy picking up this book of poetry from time to time because it easily transports me into the world of nature while reminding me to experience the simple moments of life.  

Your life story in one sentence: 

Long-winded living across a facet of situations, climbing and descending, collecting stories and connections, to a destination of my making.   

My favorite restaurant in Atlanta:  

La Mei Zi and General Muir   

My favorite comfort food or family recipe:  

My mom’s egg rolls and sinigang (Filipino dishes) are my absolute favorites. 

This website uses cookies. For more information review our Cookie Policy