Ariel Benjamin Mannes is a subject matter expert in security, public safety, and public integrity. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mannes built an impressive resume of experience during his years as a law enforcement professional and, later, a consultant and thought leader in his industry. In the past, Mannes has worked in both the private and public sectors, as well as for the government. This extensive professional background has allowed Mannes to provide top-level planning, training, and overall perspective to clients interested in securing their physical and intellectual assets.
During his time at university, Ariel Benjamin Mannes joined the New York Police Department (NYPD) as an auxiliary police officer. He was eventually hired as a federal law enforcement officer by the US Federal Protective Service (FPS). Here he served on the New York Terrorist Trials Operations Command, a joint venture set up by the US Marshals Service, NYPD, Bureau of Prisons and the FBI. After the twin embassy bombings in 1998, he was called to serve on special security details during the trials of the “Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel Rachman and the first indictments of Usama (or Osama) bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
Mannes went on to serve in a variety of other roles, including one in a homeland security capacity following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. He would become the department’s master Instructor and, eventually, the national training coordinator for the threat assessment CAT Eyes Program. During this time, he trained other instructors in Boston, DC, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. He also conducted threat assessments for Coach USA surface transportation networks in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Ariel Benjamin Mannes currently serves as a Chief Compliance Officer for a diversified financial firm with offices in Pennsylvania, New York and Florida. Here, he utilizes his vast education and experience to help his organization avoid costly loss.
An Interview with Ariel Benjamin Mannes
What’s the most important thing we should know about you?
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: I am driven by my mistakes, successes and experiences in life. Everything we do offers an opportunity to learn and grow, and it’s how we apply those opportunities moving forward that makes us leaders. I am not perfect, but I have kept moving forward in life throughout my 24-year career.
Name the most impactful lesson you learned from failure.
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: First, nothing is fatal. Failure teaches us all to triage our personal toolkits and rebuild from the ashes of these failures to apply what you’ve learned in a positive way. I have done this numerous times.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: Helping others. I started in a career of public service because I loved working in a way where I could impact lives on a daily basis. When that was taken from me, I applied my knowledge and experience in helping organizations programmatically. Thus, I am proud to have built organizational security, compliance, investigations and emergency management/business continuity programs for K-12 school systems, North America’s largest medical board, private companies and others.
What did you waste the most time on when you were first starting your career?
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: One of the drawbacks in starting your chosen career at a young age is the time wasted in the social aspects of the career, extra-curricular and chasing the “funner” aspects of a profession as opposed to education, personal growth and thinking toward the future (which came later for me). Had I done more of that, I would have achieved more in less time.
Name a tool you use for work that you can’t live without.
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: Common sense and reason. Everything else is a plus but the latter allows you the ability to improvise, overcome and adapt.
What is your favorite hobby and why?
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: My wife and I have classic cars. Fixing them and cruising them with our club allows us to “time travel” to classic Americana.
What excited you the most about your industry right now?
I love the ever changing aspects to security, compliance and public integrity. When you work on the better mousetrap, you always get to stay on your toes.
What concerns you most about your industry right now?
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: Corporate complacency, negative cost v. benefit and a political influence on safety that defies logic.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: My entire career was a trajectory of volunteering for the most emerging threats that presented themselves. Risks are subjective, but I always felt better facing them head on.
Name one small habit that positively impacts your productivity.
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: My former investigative career taught me to look past the face value of a scenario and explore possible outcomes. That works in a variety of circumstances.
What tips do you have for getting a seat at the table?
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: Ask. And have a good reason why you deserve that seat when those you ask want to know why they should include you.
What book has made the biggest impact on your life?
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: I enjoy reading biographies/autobiographies of Americans who achieved the heights in life from modest beginnings. People like NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, Mayor Frank Rizzo, Media Icon Anthony Cumia and others who may have made mistakes, dropped out of school or been fired – but got up and worked hard to achieve great things.
Do you value intelligence or common sense more? Why?
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: Not a binary choice. It is intelligent to have common sense. There are many intelligent people without the life experience needed for good common sense, especially now in our digital world. At the same time, there are street smart people without the education to see the big picture. The happy combination of both is something to strive for.
What would you consider to be the perfect day?
Ariel Benjamin Mannes: Good food, good weather, good friends and good conversation.