President & CEO
What is your role and function at WPS?
As President and CEO of WPS I have many different responsibilities and they vary each and every day. No two days at WPS are the same for me, and I love my job for that reason. My most important role is to ensure all departments have the resources they need so that they can succeed. This takes a lot of coordination and allows me to work directly with many different people all over the organization. I’m also the head cheerleader and the culture evangelist. I often like to walk the halls and listen to as many people as possible to ensure they feel happy, engaged, and empowered as part of this company.
What issues or needs are you an advocate for inside the company?
I love company culture. Call me a culture geek; I don’t care. I love it and will talk about it for hours! After studying with Zappos Insights, I was invited back a year later to present WPS as a case study in culture transformation. Creating a wonderful work environment isn’t simply about a coffee machine, nice furniture, and spacious offices. It’s about the people. Here at WPS we actively pursue an amazing culture and continually try to improve it. I’ve always been passionate about people—the way we work together, play together, and simply live together. As a group of people we share the same time and the same space for 40 hours a week, so we should make that time as enjoyable as possible. And it’s not about making work “not suck.” I believe work can be uplifting and gratifying. It can be the place where you unlock your potential and grow as an individual in your pursuit of mastery. It can be a place of immense learning and growth.
How long have you been at WPS?
I was born into WPS. Yes, it’s true, I’ve been part of the company my whole life. Being the third generation of my family to run the company, I didn’t formally start until 1999, when I graduated college. One thing that has changed since I joined the company full time in 1999 is our limitless attitude that allows us to think bigger about the positive impact we can have on our customers and the families they serve.
Where are you from? Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I grew up on the Westside of Los Angeles (Brentwood/Pacific Palisades/Santa Monica) and have lived in that area for most of my adult life. The only years I spent away from L.A. were the 4 years during college when I lived in Berkeley, California (Go, Bears!). I love the beauty and vibe of the Bay Area; however, I quickly moved back to L.A. to join the family business.
What are three personal things about you people probably wouldn't know?
1) I have attended 11 Grateful Dead concerts, 24 Phish concerts, 18 Allman Brothers Band concerts, and 44 String Cheese Incident concerts. 2) I have seen every episode of the TV series The West Wing. 3) I don’t know how to drive a manual-transmission car.
What's a big obstacle you've had to overcome in your life or career?
The biggest obstacle I have overcome in my life was the passing of my father, Ira Manson, six days before my 20th birthday. I was a junior in college and had dreams of working side by side with my father to learn/lead the family business. When he passed, there was a great deal of uncertainty about what my family would do with the business. I was young, had so much to learn, and had lost the greatest mentor anyone could ever have had. It was not an easy path, as there were many long nights of self-doubt and hesitation. But here I am, leading a phenomenal group of people who believe in me, believe in each other, and believe in our mission to help people unlock their potential.
What is your personal connection to the WPS mission?
After I had my first child, I finally realized how important it is to have dedicated helping professionals in the fields of school psychology, speech–language pathology, occupational therapy, neuropsychology, and other allied fields to care for children in need. It’s great to know that you are there, ready and able to assist a family like mine to help a struggling child. This is very reassuring to me and inspires me to do my part well so that the products WPS contributes to the assessment community make a positive impact on the field.
What is your educational background?
Bachelor of Science, University of California at Berkeley, Haas School of Business
Master of Business Administration, University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management
What is something you are currently studying or learning?
I love playing guitar. As a hobby I’ve enjoyed playing on and off for over 12 years. Lately I’ve been trying to play a bit more after a hiatus due to a repetitive-strain arm injury. The joy and relaxation I get from learning to play my favorite Grateful Dead songs is spiritually recharging, so even small doses are appreciated.
What do you enjoy most about working at WPS?
I love the culture of the company. The people I get to work with every day make all the difference. I get excited to come to work and dive into new projects because I know I’m working with people who really care about what we are doing.
What did you used to do before WPS?
Working at WPS is the only job I’ve ever had. Seriously, it is! I was born into the company and worked in the mailroom as a teenager and during summer vacations up until I graduated college, when I started working here full time. I sure hope this works out, because I’m not prepared to do anything else!
Where can we contact you?
You can email me here