Johnny Manzon-Santos, PCC
“At 16, I fell in love with my best friend and later ‘came out’ into a gay community decimated by AIDS. I keep a chronological list of the HIV-positive people I’ve lost, including #97, my former partner Bert Hunter who died in 2001. These s/heroes taught me about channeling rage, fighting shame and stigma, calling out systemic discrimination, and living with dignity.
“I learned the power of building coalitions and bearing witness. I experienced how our collective creativity can transform our compounded grief. Bert’s best friend, poet Donald Woods, who died of AIDS in 1992, reminds us that “wherever you find your sea-tossed vessel is a strategic location.” Today, as I imperfectly parent my young child, I find myself building new villages, buoyed by the spirits of my warrior-ancestors, and practicing self-compassion moment by moment.”
Johnny has been engaged in peace and social justice as an activist, organizer, and client advocate since 1985. He first experienced the power of coaching as a leader of NGO/nonprofit agencies in New York and San Francisco.
Johnny is grateful to have received a fellowship (along with 30 other nonprofit consultants of color around the US), which funded his coach training through the Coaching & Philanthropy Project, a groundbreaking initiative co-conceived by Leadership that Works.
Passionate about working with emerging and seasoned NGO/nonprofit and social justice leaders, Johnny invites his clients to tell the truth, align head-heart-stomach-spirit, and lead with fierceness, humor and humanity. As a member of the LTW faculty, Johnny says “I get to be in community, in solidarity and in struggle with colleagues and friends who I respect and trust.”
Johnny grew up in a working-class military family, the youngest child of Filipino immigrants to the US. He lives in Oakland, California, USA and co-parents a spirited toddler named Andrés with his spouse Mickey. An avid adult figure skater, Johnny competes in singles freestyle, same-sex pairs, and ice dance. He is a Buddhist practitioner who carries the dharma name, Pure Intention of the Heart.