Pursuing Her Passion: Meet Alumna Reese Jay Manning

DBU alumna Reese Jay Manning at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Frisco, Texas

Reese Jay Manning grew up in Kingwood, Texas, in a Christian home with her two brothers, Yale and Karsten. She has always had a close relationship with her brothers as they are close in age, and they all competed in sports when they were kids. Reese remembers learning the importance of finding joy in everything at a young age, and this lesson has followed her throughout her life.

Reese was raised in the church and accepted Christ when she was seven. Throughout her childhood, Reese followed Christ and knew that she was a sinner in need of saving, but when she was in high school, she began to lean on the Lord more than she ever had before. By deepening her relationship with God, Reese's college decision was made evident. "He made it clear that DBU was where I needed to be." Since then, Reese's relationship with God has grown, and she is constantly reminded that His plans and timeline are so much better than anything she could imagine.

Reese first learned of DBU from her older brother, Yale. He is a year older than Reese and started his freshman year on University Hill during her senior year of high school. They both ran Cross Country and Track, so after hearing about Yale's experience at DBU, she applied, enrolled, and got involved with the team at DBU. "Being a student-athlete was an experience that I am incredibly thankful for." Reese said, "I had the honor of serving as the team captain for multiple years, and the bonds and friendships I made on the team have been huge blessings." Reese also met her husband, Joe Manning, during their freshman year on the DBU Track team.

During Reese's academic journey at DBU, she fell in love with the world of marketing. She first became interested in the industry during Professor Sandra Crawford Williamson's Promotional Strategy class, recounting, "She brought the material to life by sharing stories of experiences she had during her remarkable time in the workforce." Reese's passion was amplified when she had the opportunity to intern with JSX, a semi-private jet service, during the summer before her senior year at DBU. This internship exposed her to digital marketing, brand marketing, and more, opening her eyes to the many possible career paths she could pursue within the industry.

These experiences compelled her to apply to Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management to pursue an MBA in Marketing. After graduating from DBU in May 2023 and her wedding in June 2023, Reese and Joe moved to Nashville, Tennessee, so that Reese could pursue graduate school at Vanderbilt. During their time in Nashville, Reese immersed herself in marketing through her classes that explored analytics, consumer insights, pricing, the creative side of the industry, and more. Her passion for the field grew as she progressed into the degree program.

This past semester, Reese had the incredible opportunity to be the marketing intern for the Academy of Country Music in Nashville. She loved getting hands-on experience with the promotion and production of their show and learning how to market a large event. Her favorite part was traveling to Frisco, Texas, for the award show, where she assisted in interviewing major country music artists and worked behind the scenes of the red carpet and performances.

Reese graduated from Vanderbilt University in May 2024 with an MBA in Marketing. She and Joe moved back to the DFW area to pursue her new role as the Associate Manager of Digital Marketing at Apple Leisure Group, a division of Hyatt. "I am thrilled to be back home in Dallas, where I can begin this new season and see what God has in store for me next!"

About the College of Business

DBU’s College of Business exists to prepare students for Christian mission and professional success in today’s dynamic context of global business. The goals of our high-quality, distinctive business programs are to strengthen skills in strategic management, finance, research, marketing, and other areas with a commitment to the integration of Biblical faith and the development of ethical Christian leaders who glorify God and serve others through their business calling.

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Written by Cameron Billings

Cameron Billings is the Assistant Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.