Shea Manigo, keynote speaker at 2018 College of Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony

White Coat speaker Shea Manigo ’07 is a living triumph

Adversity gave it a shot. It threw as many trials and tribulations at her as it could but one thing soon became clear: You can’t intimidate Shea Manigo ’07.

When she was four years old, her mother died of a heart attack and bequeathed her a lifelong purpose – to go into healthcare so she could save someone else’s mom.

Her sister was murdered shortly after encouraging her to apply to pharmacy school, hardening her resolve to follow through on her sister’s suggestion.

Her first semester, she had to juggle the demands of a full-time management job, a three-year old son, and a full load as a first-year student pharmacist.

With all that going on, it is no surprise she had no time to … oh, wait. No, no, she also decided to get an MBA in the concurrent degree program.

When Manigo delivered the keynote address at the 2018 MUSC White Coat Ceremony on August 16, the incoming pharmacy students had a chance to pocket some serious inspiration. Here’s someone who started into a second career barely 10 years ago as a single mother and now is region director of more than 165 CVS Pharmacy stores with responsibility for approximately 2,500 colleagues across Texas and Oklahoma.

“Life threw me a few curve balls, but the lesson I learned was stay the course.  I share my story with you because, our experiences shape our existence,” she told the students. “I encourage each of you to share your stories -- you never know how it may resonate with, uplift or inspire someone else.  Celebrate and stay true to what’s made your journey different. Those unique experiences create meaningful personal missions.   Allow your past to keep you centered, and your future to keep you laser focused.”


She had worked for Eckerd Drugs in High Springs, Florida and continued working as a pharmacy technician while at the University of Florida. After graduating she began working at the temp staffing agency Labor Ready, eventually rising to branch manager and being relocated to Charleston. It was a fortuitous move, since she had always wanted to go back into pharmacy and was interested in attending MUSC.

Her sister encouraged her to apply, despite the difficulty of earning a PharmD as a single working mother. Shortly after she decided to apply, her sister was murdered. She became absolutely determined to follow through on what her sister had urged her to do. She enrolled at MUSC and from time to time, her classmates might see 3-year old Cameron quietly coloring in the corner while his mom learned about pharmacokinetics or some other course. In fact, the other course might even be marketing or accounting because Manigo not only earned her PharmD, she also became one of the first students to complete an MBA degree through MUSC’s concurrent degree program with The Citadel. 

“What I loved most about MUSC is that it felt like a family,” she said. “Everyone knew my circumstance and people were really invested in my development and my future. It meant a lot. The faculty, staff, other students – everyone was amazing.”

When she enrolled, she was planning on getting a PharmD/PhD. Starting in the 11th grade, she had worked in an apprentice program for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), studying ‘stored product’ pests in a lab at the University of Florida (UF). A career in research seemed natural. She tried the PharmD/Ph.D. program for a while, then nuclear pharmacy, but she really found her niche once she started in the PharmD/MBA program. Something about combining science and business increased the appeal of both.

“When I took time off after undergraduate school, I got interested in the business side and not just the sciences,” said Manigo.  “I realized if I could combine pharmacy and business, people and leadership together, that’s what I really wanted to do.”

She started her career with Target Corporation, rising through the ranks so that by July 2014 she was named healthcare market leader overseeing strategy, operations, talent planning and team engagement in 118 stores. When Target sold its pharmacy business to CVS Health, she became healthcare market leader for CVS Pharmacy leading strategy, operations, financial accountability, and compliance in 112 stores in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee.


In July, 2017, she was named CVS  pharmacy region manager.   In January of 2018, she was promoted to region director with responsibility for more than 165 CVS Pharmacy stores with approximately 2,500 colleagues across Texas and Oklahoma. This role offers the novel experience of being responsible for stand-alone stores, which requires shuffling some of her skill sets to think about front-of-store operations, real estate, acquisitions, business strategies and other parts of her MBA background.

She leads a team of licensed and non-licensed district leaders, traveling with them monthly to discuss their development, talent strategies, sales and service programs, execution of initiatives, as well as store and district performance.  A significant portion of her job is talent development, including selection, training, succession planning and team development.  She collaborates with several key teams and partners -- human resources, loss prevention, training, sales managers and real estate – who support her market and region.  

“My goal is to help people reach their potential,” she said. “You get to decide. Your thinking impacts your behavior and your outcome. Whenever I’ve thought ‘I can do this…’ I did it. I’m not going to let somebody make that decision for me. Throughout your career, if you work hard, you get to make the decision, you get to be the one to orchestrate your destiny, and whatever the desired outcome is for your life, it will happen.”