Name: Tyrese Manigault
Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina
Degree earned at Valdosta State: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication, Fall 2021
Current Job: Manager of Employee Engagement for NASCAR, Daytona Beach, Florida
Can you tell me a little about your background?
I currently serve as the Manager of Employee Engagement for NASCAR. I am based in Daytona Beach, Florida at the NASCAR headquarters. I have a strong passion for my community and people. I have had several opportunities to serve my community back home and in Valdosta during my undergraduate career. Using my education in communication, I have spearheaded several events in collaboration with community partners in my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, in years past. I helped bring those same initiatives to Valdosta State in 2021 along with former VSU Collegiate NAACP President, Nyla Williams and current VSU Student Government Association President, Jalen Smith, during the launch of the inaugural VSU Campus Safety Week.
My interest in human resources was piqued following a 2021 internship in Las Vegas, Nevada, where I served as a Public Relations and Human Resources intern for Station Casinos. I was one of 11 people chosen from a group of 2,500-plus applicants. I began my career in human resources following graduation and after persistence gained an opportunity to serve as the current Human Resources Manager of Employee Engagement, leading and assisting in initiatives for all of NASCAR’s employees.
What made you want to work for NASCAR?
I have been a fan of NASCAR since I was 8 years old. I started watching NASCAR on TV one day when I was bored and flipping through channels, and it turned out to be the best thing I could have done. I thought I wanted to be a NASCAR driver, but then I realized that wasn’t my dream. I knew everything there was to know about the sport as a fan. I wanted to become a difference maker and a professional who truly understands the sport and desires to know more.
Can you tell me what it’s like to work for NASCAR as a person of color when NASCAR is not known to be a very diverse organization?
I can say that NASCAR is taking tremendous strides to become the NASCAR of today and tomorrow. After learning the history of the sport, there was a time when I questioned if there would ever be room for someone like me. Now, after being at NASCAR and taking in my new environment, I can sense that there has been a new leaf turned, not only externally but also internally for NASCAR. Drivers and owners like Bubba Wallace, Michael Jordan, and Pitbull have paved the way for a variety of new talent, not just on the track but in the office as well. As a person who loves people and loves this sport, it is an honor to work for NASCAR because I get to be a part of driving the next generation of talent.
How do you think your VSU experience contributed to your professional success?
VSU gave me a community. There were so many individuals that impacted me positively and contributed to my professional success. The professors that taught me, the academic advisors that guided me, and the police officers who helped keep me safe were all part of that group. My experience at VSU taught me that there is always more than one way to achieve success. I learned this by hearing the stories of paths traveled by those who made up my community at VSU.
Were there any faculty or staff on campus that were especially motivating or helpful to you?
Dr. Shirley Serini, who is now retired, is one of the most impactful humans that I came across on VSU’s campus. Not only did she take the time to teach me, but she also mentored me about life and what to expect. She made sure that I knew what I was capable of. She was always available to listen to my dreams, even if they made no sense. She is the definition of a true trailblazer.
Mr. Darius Anthony serves in the Office of Career Opportunities. Although he was never my career advisor, he became a great friend and mentor and remains until this day. I had the privilege of taking his class one semester and from that moment we have been friends. He never hesitates to show me that I can do better. He pushed me and motivated me when I thought I wasn’t capable of succeeding. The best thing I can say about Mr. Anthony is that he always did his best to position me for success.
What advice do you have for current students?
I would tell the current students at VSU to dream and remain persistent. I have wanted to work for NASCAR since I was 8 years old, and now at 23 years old and six months removed from school, I am serving in leadership with the greatest motorsports organization there is. I applied 27 times for a position because I knew where I was meant to be. To the VSU of today, find your dream, understand your dream, and go after your dream. Find a community that will help you reach your destiny.