Panthers, Piety, and Portfolios: A Conversation with John Mann ’77

Posted by Pine Crest School on January 27, 2021 at 8:59 AM

By Nina Hamuy ’21

Many Pine Crest School alumni get an early start at Pine Crest. Some even spend 14 years at the School, but John Mann learned a lot in one year transferring for his senior year in the Upper School.

As a graduate of the Class of 1977, John Mann looks back, takes us through his time at the New York Stock Exchange, and offers tips to students along the way.

John Mann’s grandfather began his career as a member of the “New York Curb Exchange” in 1933, which he renamed the “American Stock Exchange” when he became the Chairman. John’s father began his career at the Exchange in 1958, so becoming a clerk at the age of 14 came naturally to John, and he fell in love with his family’s history and dedication to the Exchange.

Working his way up in the family business, John became the Exchange’s youngest member in 1979. The camaraderie and excitement on the trading floor were a fascinating experience that compares to the way John felt about his senior year at Pine Crest.

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“I made friends instantly with my classmates, and I remain friends with them to this day,” said John. “My classmates supported me even though they had only recently met me, and I was elected to the Disciplinary Committee.”

In 1986, John became Senior Partner of the Exchange at the age of 28 with a staff of 44 brokers and clerks. He in part credits members of the Pine Crest faculty to his success saying, “How could I have obtained my degree in Economics had it not been for Dean Ring and his dedication to his math students? I could make a very long list of how each teacher kindly and tenaciously sought to make their students succeed.”

John continued to pursue academic goals thanks to his love for Pine Crest. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Master of Arts in Religious Studies, and an MBA from Rollins College, the latter of which he received at the age of 48!

“[The Pine Crest] education enabled me to have successful careers in finance, theology, non-profit organizations, and my current role as Trustee [of the John Jay Mann trusts],” said John. “My relationship to my alma mater is very dear to me, and I strive to keep active in the Pine Crest community.”

John notes how much Pine Crest’s campus has changed over the course of time, but the dedication of students, faculty, staff, parents, grandparents, and alumni remain a cornerstone to Pine Crest’s success.

When I asked John to share something he learned from his career in finance that a student would not be able to find in a textbook, he referred to what he calls “American University” also known as the “School of Hard Knocks.” John went on to explain, “Nothing in a book can ever replace your own personal hard work and effort in whatever career that you choose. You will discover challenges and opportunities in ways that can only be experienced.”

John left me with some life advice like learning to balance a checkbook, keeping track of your expenses, and shared that the “the world changes; you have to continuously be learning.”

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Today, John and his wife, Sandi, look forward to permanently living in their newly-renovated condo on the beach.

“Retirement is not attractive for me,” said John. “I really enjoy teaching theology, and I love my work as Trustee.”

John’s enthusiasm and work ethic have led him to receive three papal honors for his service to cardinals and bishops throughout the country via the John Jay Mann Foundation, a philanthropic organization established to serve charities throughout the world, for which he serves as treasurer.

As a final tidbit of advice, John reminds students that every interaction with teachers, staff, and fellow students will have an enormous positive impact that may not be apparent at the time.

“The interactions and classes that you have today are already shaping your future!”

Topics: Alumni, 2020, The Magazine