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Former Treasurer Rosie Rios became an Accidental Educator, Historian and Feminist as one of the longest serving senior Treasury officials in the Obama Administration starting with her time on the Treasury/Federal Reserve Transition Team at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. She continues her work to empower the next generation of leadership as a Visiting Scholar at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and focuses on evolving our culture one Millennial/post-Millennial at a time.
Rosie Rios is the CEO of Red River Associates, a real estate investment management consulting firm and a co-host of Unicorn Hunters, a reality series focused on pre-IPO investments. She served as the 43rd Treasurer of the United States and was the CEO of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the U.S. Mint, including Fort Knox. She also initiated and led the efforts to place a portrait of a woman on U.S. currency for the first time in over a century. Upon her resignation in 2016, she received the Hamilton Award, the highest honor bestowed in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Rosie was the longest serving Senate-confirmed Treasury official beginning with her time on the Treasury/Federal Reserve Transition Team in November 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. Following her tenure, she was appointed as a Visiting Scholar at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University with a focus on Millennials and Post-Millennials.
In her role as Treasurer of the United States, Rosie’s day-to-day responsibilities included overseeing all currency and coin production activities with almost 4,000-employees in eight facilities nationwide and an annual budget of approximately $5 billion. In the first five years of her tenure, she saved over $1 billion by implementing strategic efficiencies while meeting increased production demand and increasing employee morale at record levels. Her signature currently appears on a world-record $1.7 trillion of U.S. currency out of the approximately $2 trillion in circulation worldwide.
Rosie’s entire career has focused on real estate finance, economic development, and urban revitalization in both the public and private sectors. Prior to her presidential appointment in Treasury, Rosie was Managing Director of Investments for MacFarlane Partners, a $22 billion real estate investment management firm based in San Francisco. She was responsible for several of MacFarlane Partners’ urban investment activities including sourcing, underwriting, and structuring prospective investments and all relevant due diligence as well as overseeing projects during their development and stabilization. Other real estate/urban revitalization activities include serving as the Director of Economic Development and/or Redevelopment for multiple cities such as Oakland, Fremont, San Leandro, and Union City. She consulted with the City of San Francisco Public Utility Commission and reported to the Assistant General Manager for Infrastructure on one of the nation’s largest capital improvement programs. Her first job following college was as a Commercial Property Underwriter for General Reinsurance Corporation.
Rosie is a graduate of Harvard University and was selected as the first Latina in Harvard’s 385-year history to have a portrait commissioned in her honor. Her portrait was officially unveiled at Winthrop House in May of 2019. She currently serves on the board of American Family Insurance, Ripple, Fidelity Charitable Trust, the Schlesinger Council at Harvard, and the Advisory Committee for Artemis Real Estate Partners. She was previously a Trustee with the Alameda County Employees Retirement Association (ACERA). In 2019, she was appointed as a member of America 250, the Congressional Commission to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the nation’s founding in 2026. She serves on the Executive Committee and is the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committees and is leading the strategic planning process. Her personal passion includes serving as Founder and CEO of EMPOWERMENT 2026, an initiative that facilitates the physical recognition of historical American women. Its first project, Teachers Righting History, recognizes historical American women in classrooms across the country. She has also launched Notable Women, an Augmented Reality educational initiative in collaboration with Google. In August 2020 she was honored as one of USA Today’s Women of the Century.
Rosie Rios' Speech Topics
A History of the Financial Crisis and Lessons Learned for the Future
With the advent of the financial crisis in 2008 and the role that the federal government played to put the U.S. economy on the road to recovery, what did we learn from that process and how can we plan for continued stability? As one of the original members of the U.S. Department of the Treasury/Federal Reserve Transition Team and then Treasurer of the United States for the following seven years, Treasurer Rios provides her perspectives on lessons learned from her tenure during one of the most consequential times of our nation’s economic history.
Inspirations and Aspirations: Using History to Influence the Present/Future of Women and Girls
As the first Senate-confirmed woman in the U.S. Department of the Treasury during the Obama administration and the only woman confirmed in Treasury in all of 2009, Treasurer Rios discusses her almost eight-year journey on how she evolved from her private world of finance to her public world of empowerment. From initiating the efforts to place a woman on the front of our nation’s currency for the first time in over a century to starting Treasury’s annual Women in Finance Symposiums leading to the cover of Time Magazine, Treasurer Rios’ goal is to make structural changes to how women and girls are valued in history and in what we see in our everyday lives from the classroom to the boardroom. As she continues her strategic partnerships to develop additional educational and public initiatives, hear how she successfully challenged and influenced her colleagues and eventually the nation - one male at a time. Her goal is to inspire Awareness and Action as we prepare for our nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026.
Our Future Generations of Leadership: What Millennials and Post-Millennials Can Learn from Us and What We Can Learn from Them
Following Treasurer Rios’ historic tenure during her almost eight years in the U.S. Department of the Treasury as Treasurer of the United States, she became a Visiting Scholar at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard. In 2016 she launched her first educational project, Teachers Righting History, followed by EMPOWERMENT 2020 at Harvard. She learned very quickly how her initiatives were resonating with girls AND boys and began her journey of focusing her efforts on Millennials and Post-Millennials. Learn how her findings about these next generations will impact the social, economic, and political fabric of our country and what we can do to guide them to become successful, engaged, healthy and empowered future leaders.
The Future of Money
The train has left the station. It’s no longer a matter of if but when digital currencies will become a globally accepted and legitimate option. So what does that mean for traditional financial institutions, central banks and most importantly, consumers? Rios oversaw consumer payments policy and the Future of Money initiative as Treasurer of the United States from 2008 through 2016. As Chair of the Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence Steering Committee, she was also a key liaison with Federal Reserve and the Cash Product Office along with Secret Service on monetary security and financial crimes. She now serves on the board of Ripple and shares her perspectives on the framework that is needed to democratize money.
How to Inspire Your Organization to Do More with Less: A CEO Case Study of Saving $1 Billion While Increasing Production and Morale to Record Levels
Throughout her almost eight-year tenure as the CEO of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint, Treasurer Rios used her business background to prepare her almost 4,000 employees to increase production as resources in the federal government continued to be limited. In doing so, not only was she able to save over $1 billion in the first five years, she also raised morale at both bureaus to unprecedented levels during record production while earning the respect of her colleagues and union partnerships to set a course for future success.