Friends and colleagues of Manu Panuve, a graduate from Tonga who studied business supply chain and human resources, agreed they love Panuve’s loud, upbeat voice and her ability to lead with compassion.
Ann Springer, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Business & Government, said she and Panuve worked together for more than two years on different projects related to business and BYU Management Society (BYUMS) at BYU–Hawaii. Through these shared interests, Springer said she has grown to know and love Panuve for her leadership skills.
“She is a dynamic leader who runs a tight ship but makes it feel more like you’re on a cruise ship than a navy command center. She is great at involving others, nurturing the skills of others, and doing it in a way that is upbeat, full of enthusiasm and positivity. Her personality is uniquely a combination of fun and magnetism while also highly efficient and incredibly detail- oriented.”
Mirroring this same admiration, Lyon Almanda, a senior from Indonesia studying finance, said her contagious energy and enthusiasm drew him to her and they worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center and on business projects, such as the Empower Your Dreams competition.
“I think her personality has the ability to see a business and to see potential in a business. She knows how to improve a business, and she also has a lot of great ideas that helped our business to grow ... She really encouraged me to be more positive. She’s really great at making people feel confident in themselves.”
Loud in a good way
Both Springer and Almanda said the first thing people notice about Panuve is how she can command attention and get her point across using one thing: her voice.
“Manu will tell you that her best feature is that she does not need a microphone because her voice is so loud and vivacious. We all affectionately call her ‘The Queen of the Kingdom of Tonga.’ She is the queen, and we all love her,” Springer commented.
Almanda said, “She’s actually very loud as a Polynesian woman. I mean, she’s loud in a positive way, and she is very cheerful, too. She is always smiling. For me, the times that we worked together, most of the time, I forgot to do things by the deadline for some assignments and things that are important for Empower Your Dreams, and she would remind me.”
Panuve said the easiest way for her to keep up this positive attitude is through her ability to focus on enjoying her journey through life, not just enduring it.
“Just enjoy the moment, or enjoy the ride. Enjoying the ride does not necessarily mean that you have to be reading in your room all the time and doing homework all the time ... You have to understand that you need to really have some fun, and you need to have that balance, so you can be healthier. If you’re going to do homework most of the time, then you miss out on having fun. You need to balance out your life and enjoy the ride.”
Panuve advised BYUH students to get involved in school activities and clubs. She was the vice president of BYUMS and was involved in the Tongan Club.
“I’ve been in the BYU Management Society for two years, and ... being the vice president of BYU Management Society, I’ve seen how much I have grown. I love creating events and also just improving leadership skills, such as when things don’t happen as you have planned.”
She added working with BYUMS has helped her gain the ability to stretch her creativity because of working with new groups continually.
“It helps me to think outside the box. Being in senior management has helped me to be open-minded. There’s no set thing or way of how to do things differently, and there are always better ways to make things better.
“It’s just a matter of being open-minded to it ... I think that’s another thing, having the desire actually to learn from others as well. Even public speaking and being able to understand the proper and inspired questions to ask ... I feel like having those things from BYU Management Society has helped me so much.”
Springer attributes these learning experiences for Panuve to her ability to lead with love and understanding. “When BYUMS grew from a small group of 30 students to almost 150 students in one semester, Manu organized her team in a way that she was able to utilize all of the students in her committee.
“She is a thinker and a problem-solver. She approaches everything with a cheerful attitude, and it pays huge dividends for her now and will continue to do so in the future. I am certain she will be successful no matter where she lands.”
Onwards and upwards
Panuve said she has already seen the benefits of getting involved in school, both in her personal and professional life. Although she is nervous about returning to Tonga and getting engaged in the professional world of business, she expressed much excitement about being able to show the world what she has to offer.
“I can already see some of these benefits in my life right now. After graduating and especially going back to Tonga, I saw the good things that will help me be in a big role ... [are] understanding and being open-minded.”
With their work and teaming up together, Almanda shared he wants to thank Panuve for helping their teams be successful.
“I thank her because she’s a very great business partner for me and a great classmate, a great coworker. I would love to work with her again in the future.
“She’s very cool and reminds me to keep praying and motivates me to do better next time. She’s just very positive.”
Similarly, Springer said she has full confidence in the convictions of Panuve since they have worked so closely together.
“I hope Manu will continue to be a champion for her team. Her team may look different at different times in her life: at home, at church, in a BYUMS Global Chapter, at work, etc. But I hope she will continue to lead others with her same trademark mix of charm, enthusiasm and effectiveness.
“She is one of the great ones, the genuine gold described by President McKay, who will leave BYU–Hawaii and continue to bless the lives of all she comes in contact with throughout her life.”