Ambassador Manes assumed duties as Civilian Deputy to the Commander and Foreign Policy Advisor, U.S. Southern Command, Miami, FL, in October 2019. SOUTHCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR) encompasses 32 nations (19 in Central and South America and 13 in the Caribbean). As Civilian Deputy to the Commander, she is responsible for overseeing the development and refinement of USSOUTHCOM’s regional strategy and security cooperation plans as well as the Command’s strategic communication, public affairs and human rights initiatives. She also plays a key role in interagency and business engagement. As Foreign Policy Advisor, Ambassador Manes provides the Commander and other senior command staff with geo-political, political-military, and economic counsel. She also leads the Command’s relationship with the Department of State and U.S. Embassies abroad.
Ambassador Manes arrived at USSOUTHCOM after serving as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of El Salvador (2016-2019), the 5th largest Mission in the Western Hemisphere, where she led U.S. support for Salvadoran efforts to expand economic growth, improve security, reduce migration, and strengthen key democratic institutions. Her relentless effort to fight corruption changed the landscape in El Salvador bringing increased transparency and accountability. She led efforts to ensure the protection of strategic regional assets, aggressively ensuring a level playing field for U.S. companies. She is known for her leadership in public engagement, uniting across political lines, and fiscal management.
She is a member of the Senior Foreign Service with the Department of State, having joined in 1992 and has served under five Presidents. Throughout her 27-year career she led large scale operations, focusing on empowering people and prioritizing resources. She served as Principal Deputy Coordinator for the Bureau of International Information Programs, leading 21st century foreign public engagement, including digital strategies for outreach; Director of Resources for the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, overseeing $1.2 billion in domestic and worldwide operations; Public Affairs Officer in Afghanistan; Consul General in the Azores, Portugal; and also served in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Syria.
Raised in Pompano Beach, Florida in a small, family business, the values of hard work, dedication, and perseverance remain central to her career.
Ambassador Manes has a Master’s degree in International Administration from American University in Washington, DC and a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Policy from Liberty University in Virginia. As an expert in the Western Hemisphere, she speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese.
A recognized leader in security, business development, and education, she believes in comprehensive, data driven solutions that include government, business, civil society, and most important – the contribution of every citizen.
(Current as of October 2019)