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Belle Manjong

Assistant General Counsel with the Department of Health and Human Resources, owner of B.Belle Events, an events planning company, Charleston, 30

On her first paying job: 

"My first paying job was working during the summer as a dental assistant during my first summer in college. It was quite an experience. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is what it is like to be an adult.'"

Belle Manjong is living her dream by pursuing her two biggest passions at the same time.

As the assistant general counsel with the Department of Health and Human Resources and owner of an events planning company, B.Belle Events, Manjong is able to practice law and to design and plan weddings, fundraisers and other special events 

"Nowhere else would it be possible to do both, except right here in Charleston," she said.

But neither job is what Manjong, a native of Preston, England, envisioned doing as a career when she was a girl. At that time, she said she wanted to be an astronaut, thanks in part to the TV show "Star Trek: The Next Generation." 

But that dream changed in college when she quickly learned physics was not her forte. She considered three more majors while attending West Virginia Wesleyan College before taking a pre-law constitution class in her junior year. 

"It just clicked, and I knew my future held some career related to the law," she said. "As far as event planning goes, I say it is in my genetic makeup. Growing up, my father worked with the United Nations, so we hosted and entertained dignitaries and attended parties and events."

Due to her father's job, Manjong lived in countries on five continents. The moves helped to expose Manjong to lots of different experiences and cultures, but it also made it hard for her to build deep relationships. That changed when she came to the Mountain State to attend Wesleyan, where she met her future husband, Matthew Sutton.

Manjong is involved in numerous community groups. She volunteers and serves on committees and boards of directors with the West Virginia Symphony League, the YWCA, Read Aloud and the West Virginia University College of Law. She also volunteered with the Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center from 2007 to 2009. Her work as an event planner also has been featured in the publications Wedding Bells, Marions Nous, WV Weddings and WV Living.