Director of Executive Programs | University of Houston
| Conrad N. Hilton Hotel and Restaurant Management College
What was your First and Goal, Inc. experience?
I met Tyrone Smith and his team at an orientation for the Journey Beyond Dreams College Experience Program in 2003. The program was designed to expose first-generation, inner-city students to the college experience. The Journey Beyond Dreams College Experience Program was a two week college experience camp at Baylor University where we lived the college experience and for me, it would be the first time I would step foot on a college campus.
At the time, the program seemed to be an opportunity for a “free trip.” In reality, this trip changed the course of my future and the expectations of my academic future. During the two weeks, we took part in workshops and group activities, led by Tyrone Smith and his team, which empowered me to believe that I could achieve my goals and be successful at anything I set my mind to.
How did First and Goal, Inc. influence your life after graduating?
After Journey Beyond Dreams and graduating high school, I attended Sam Houston State University on a full scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration. I continued my education at Texas A&M and earned my Master’s in Public Service and Administration soon after.
As life had it, many years later I crossed paths with Tyrone Smith. After reconnecting he granted me the opportunity to work for the Journey Beyond Dreams Program and other programs as a staff member and as an intern with First and Goal, Inc. These opportunities provided me with a new perspective on the hard work and dedication Tyrone Smith has towards making a difference in the lives of young students. This also allowed me to see the impact his programs have on students, their families, and their futures.
I will forever be grateful to have had the opportunity to meet Tyrone more than 15 years ago and to have had the opportunity to work with him and help him in his mission.
Are there lessons from First and Goal, Inc. you use in life today?
Today, I live by something he taught me many years ago and something I consistently tell my students; “Success is a journey, not a destination. And it doesn’t matter where you start but about where you finish.”
Tyrone, thank you for everything you do and continue to do. The world is a better place thanks to your work and your continued service to our youth.
Maggie Manzano-Padilla earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Sam Houston State University and soon after, earned her Master’s degree at Texas A&M in Public Service and Administration. Her passion for higher education stems from being a first-generation student and the help she received during her journey to higher education. Maggie now has over 10 years of experience in higher education working in various capacities including; admissions, program coordinating, scholarships and even graduate programs. During her tenure in higher education, she has been fortunate to work at the University of Houston-Downtown, the University of Houston and Sam Houston State University. Most recently, she helped operate the largest scholarship program at Sam Houston State University before accepting her current position as Director of Executive Programs at the University of Houston – Conrad N. Hilton College.