We had the good fortune of connecting with Tonoa Manuel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tonoa, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
Denver, Colorado is where I’m from, mixed with a little Midwest Swing. Living in Colorado the first 15 years of my life and now the past 6 years and 13 years in St. Louis, Missouri definitely has molded who I am today. The impact of what I saw as child and the environment in which I was associated with allowed me to quickly see disparity and lack of equality. Understanding that I was not the only one dealing with the struggles of loving myself and building up who I was, I saw that something needed to be done and opportunity could be provided for all those that wanted. I began working on myself in order to pour back into the communities that made me who I am and what I wanted to become.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
For over a decade I’ve wanted to find a way to give a piece of who I am back to my community. Four years ago I finally was pushed to move the needle and create Second Impressions Youth Garden LLC., an organization geared towards Mentorship, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Restorative Practice and so much more. I built many of the relationships I have today because of the vision I had with my organization, but everything wasn’t quite what I wanted to give to my community or my people. In 2019 I begin to freelance, working with small businesses and two school districts around strategy, goal planning, and overall programming and operations. The needle begins to move, and move, quickly. I was given the opportunity to be an exhibitor at the 2019 TedxMileHigh Humankind Kind event in Denver, Co., where I created and facilitated on Intersectionality, from their I presented at a Youth Convention for a local organization called SAPAA (Sudanese American Public Affairs Association), and finally marched into to Washington, DC to present at the National Mentoring Summit. These monumental moments forever changed the director of my business. I begin to work more with businesses on a coaching and consulting level and lead teachers in Professional Development and Restorative Healing Groups for students. With all that was happening, I quickly realized that I had more to give, at which I decided to amend Second Impressions Youth Garden and create SIYG Consulting Firm. At SIYG Consulting Firm LLC. We pride ourselves on our expertise in Consulting and building genuine, quality relationships with our clients. As Business & Education Consultants, we take responsibility for helping our clients reform and improve their operations and support their business by providing various business solutions such as Website Development, Marketing Support, Web Content Creation, Programmatic Development, Operations, and so much more. Allow SIYG to put your mind at ease with our business experience and bring things to light in your organization.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Living in Denver, I don’t have a favorite spot, everything this city has to offer is beyond amazing. The outdoor and places to camp and see are nothing short of extraordinary. Just hop in the car and lets roll out and enjoy what Denver has to offer 🙂
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband, Montonzo. Toughest, most honest human that I know. One that shares my struggles, fears, and keeps me in check and held accountable for all that I want to accomplish. He believed in me, when I didn’t believe in myself, and pushed me when I wanted to give in. I accredit all that I’ve become in the last decade to his unwillingness to give up on me.
The Guy Church Productions, Lindsey Cali, and Myself