A native of Philadelphia, Luann earned a scholarship to Archmere Academy and chose to spend her high school years in Delaware. Loving Delaware life, she moved to the First State in 1990. Luann has lived in the District for the last 15 years and currently resides in Cotswold Hills with her significant other, Doug Manley, and her rescued golden retrievers, Bella and Margarita.
Luann attended Widener University, then technical school securing her AS in Electrical Engineering, and later Eastern University earning a BA in Organizational Management. She was recruited directly from technical school to begin her career with Hewlett-Packard (HP). At HP, she excelled as one of only a handful of female engineers, expanding her presence as one of six original Support Account Managers in the US responsible for the development of HP Sales Force 9 - Support Services Organization. She designed and executed multi-million dollar agreements with some of the largest banks and telecomm corporations in the country and was awarded for her innovative sales strategies. After 15 years with the company, at age 36, Luann accepted a retirement package following HP’s purchase of Compaq.
Luann was involved in theater and dance from a very young age, continuing her interest in dance as an instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studios both during and after her time at HP. Luann then turned her passion into a new career as a small business owner, opening Take The Lead Dance Studio in Pike Creek in 2006. Take The Lead brought ballroom dancing to Pike Creek and our extended community. Three years later, Take The Lead outgrew its Pike Creek space and moved to its current 6,000 square foot location in Lantana Square, attracting national and world-champion instructors from as far as Italy and the Czech Republic. Luann and her team prioritized giving back to the community through involvement and contribution. From its inception, Take The Lead established an environment of inclusion, ensuring that Ballroom and Latin dance was accessible to everyone. Take The Lead offered social dancers, world-class competitors, and even wheelchair dancers, all ages and backgrounds, a community in which to expand and share their passion, in addition to supporting the University of Delaware Ballroom team as their practice and training facility.
In 2011, Luann was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening autoimmune disease. A few years later, Luann sold the business she loved to a longtime friend and former co-worker to allow her to focus on recovery from her illness. She has been in remission since 2018, and her former business is still thriving in our community.
Luann has served as both a board and committee member for local civic and dance associations, and she has shared her time as a volunteer with organizations such as Read Aloud Delaware, Partners in Mentoring, Big Sisters, Christiana Care, and Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue. She views community involvement and civic responsibility as areas of great importance. Luann regularly attends state, county, and community meetings and events to stay on top of important local issues. She is a member of and/or volunteer for several civic and civic-minded organizations such as the ACLU, League of Women Voters, Pike Creek Valley Civic League, Friends of Christina School District (FOCSD), Indivisible, and Vote Forward.
Since 2006, Luann has been a member, volunteer, and supporter of PAWS for People. As a part of a therapy team with each of her golden retrievers and two of her past retrievers, she has spent many years working with children with illness or disabilities, patients and staff at Christiana Hospital and Helen Graham Cancer Center, families and staff at Delaware County Family Court in Media, PA, and attending countless other community events. As a trainer, STEX evaluator, and AKC CGC (American Kennel Club, Canine Good Citizen) evaluator for 12 years she has been able to assist others in their goal to become therapy teams with PAWS. Luann was honored as a recipient of the 2018 Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Award for her work with PAWS for People and in 2020 she received the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center’s Community Service Excellence Award. As a member of the Board of Directors for 9 years she provided guidance and financial supervision as PAWS grew into one of Delaware's most respected and successful non-profit organizations.
Feeling great, Luann is ready to stand up and dedicate herself full-time to support and represent our community. She has the commitment, drive, and passion to make great things happen for our neighbors and our state—to honor our past, strengthen our present, and champion a brighter future.