Rosie Rios


Rosie Rios was the 43rd Treasurer of the United States and has accepted a position as a Visiting Scholar at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University effective October of 2016. She is most recently known for initiating and leading the historic efforts to place a woman on U.S. currency for the first time in over a century. She resigned her position in July 2016 and received the Hamilton Award, the highest honor bestowed in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. At the time of her resignation, she 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.

In her role as Treasurer of the United States, Treasurer Rios was the Chief Executive Officer of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint, including Fort Knox. Her day-to-day responsibilities included an almost 4,000-employee organization with eight facilities nationwide and an annual budget of approximately $5 billion. She oversaw all currency and coin production activities and saved over $1 billion in the first five years by implementing efficiencies and innovative concepts while meeting increased production demand and increasing employee morale at record levels. Treasurer Rios was the first Treasurer to ever have her portfolio which also included Chair of the Advanced Counterfeiting Deterrence Steering Committee and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury in the areas of community development and public engagement.

Her almost eight-year effort to redesign the nation’s currency included the first-ever nationwide public engagement process in the history of the federal government using a social media portal, roundtables and town halls. In April of 2016, Treasury announced that women will be placed on the $5, $10 and $20 bills reflecting the theme of democracy. The concepts will be unveiled in 2020 in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote.

Prior to her presidential appointment in Treasury, Treasurer Rios was Managing Director of Investments for MacFarlane Partners, a $22 billion investment management firm based in San Francisco. Her career has focused on real estate finance, economic development and urban revitalization in both the public and private sectors. She is a graduate of Harvard University and was recently selected as the first Latina in Harvard’s 380-year history to have a portrait commissioned in her honor. The portrait will be publicly unveiled in 2017. Treasurer Rios continues advocating for women and girls as she prepares to launch her Empowerment 2020 foundation and has already unveiled its first initiative, Teachers Righting History,

Speech Topics

1) How to Inspire Your Organization to Do More with Less: A CEO Case Study of Saving $1 Billion While Increasing 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 while earning the respect of her colleagues and union partnerships and set a course for future success.

2) Main Street Meets Wall Street Meets K Street: The Intersection Between Financial Markets, Government and Its Citizens and Why It Matters Today

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.

3) The Next Generation of Leadership: A Call to Action for Empowerment & Civic Engagement

If there is one thing we learned from this last election process, it is that Millennials want something to believe in and authenticity is high on the list of what they want in our leadership. In a world where technology dominates communication, how can Millennials reconnect people-to-people in order to become future leaders themselves? Treasurer Rios explores how understanding our history will provide a clearer roadmap for understanding where we can go in a country and at a time when anything is possible.

4) Human Capital is Still the Best Investment That We Can Make

In every business organization, there are the three basic pillars of capital: physical capital capital, financial capital and human capital. Treasurer Rios makes the case for why human capital remains the top priority and best investment in order for any business to succeed and turns the traditional pyramid of leadership inside out.

5) The $1 Trillion Treasurer and the Value of Money: From Financial Crisis to Currency Design (Yes, that is HER name on the $)

What role does money play today and how has that changed over time? Consumer behavior still is one of the hardest things to change, and optionality remains the top priority for how people think about commerce, investments and even what we see on our money. Treasurer Rios explains how demand for U.S. currency continues to rise around the world and the profound effect it has on the consumer, the retailer, and the economy.

6) The Intersection Between Social Media and Democracy

With the mass scale use of social media, the world has experienced the rise of the “voice for the voiceless” and has transformed our global culture in ways we would never have imagined. From the Occupy Movement, the Tea Party Movement, the Arab Spring, and others, Treasurer Rios discusses how has this impacted our governance process and what can we expect for future cultural evolutions.

7) My Life in Treasury and the Birth of an Accidental Feminist

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 leading the efforts to Treasury’s annual Women in Finance Symposiums to the redesign of U.S. currency to place a woman on the front for the first time in our country’s history, hear how she successfully challenged and influenced her colleagues and eventually the nation – one male at a time.

8) Baseball: America’s Favorite Past Time (and Beyond)

Treasurer Rios examines the role that baseball has played in her past and perhaps in her future. From everything including the life of a Little League mom to being a season ticket holder of the Oakland A’s to her passion for revitalizing cities with ballparks, she provides her perspectives on how baseball can very well be the Great Equalizer. As our nation nostalgically reassesses what we value in our world that continues to get flatter, she proposes that perhaps it’s time for the diamond to evolve.

9) Cultural (R)Evolution: From Harvard to Currency to Education

Meet Rosie Rios, the 43rd Treasurer of the United States. She is closer than you think as her name is on almost $1.2 trillion of U.S. currency all around the world. Hear her personal journey of being raised as one of nine children by a single mother who sent all of her children off to college. For Rosie, that was Harvard where she has recently been selected as the first Latina in Harvard’s 380 year-history to have a portrait commissioned in her honor. She led the government’s historic effort to place a woman on the front of our U.S. currency, and she is revolutionizing how schools see their history, perhaps for the first time.

10) Building Cities, Building Communities: It’s Still About Connecting

As cities continue to focus on revitalizing their downtowns through mixed-use developments and creating a sense of place, people still remain at the heart of community development. As the Director of Economic Development and Redevelopment for multiple cities and through her work at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Treasurer Rios explores how cities are incorporating technology, infrastructure, and the arts to attract jobs and residents to revitalize urban cores and where the opportunities still remain.

11) Teachers Righting History: Evolving the World One Student at a Time

Following Treasurer Rios’ historical effort to place a woman on U.S. currency for the first time in our nation’s history, she immediately created Teachers Righting History. Using the database generated from the public engagement process to redesign our nation’s currency, teachers and students have been enthusiastically integrating historic women into their classrooms in creative ways. Hear Treasurer Rios’ perspectives on why this has resonated with Millennials and how what we see in the public domain becomes a wake-up call to a whole new world of what we value.

12) How the Democrats Won Virginia in 2008: A Personal Case Study

Up until 2008, Virginia had not been won by a democratic presidential candidate since 1964. By designing and implementing an innovative strategy to register Latinos in Virginia and implementing an ambitious Get Out the Vote initiative leading up to the presidential election of 2008, Treasurer Rios engaged an elaborate network of community stakeholders, political strategists and an Army of Angels to help accomplish what was seen as the impossible and may have very well have been the tipping point and a turning point for the impact of the Latino vote.

13) Financial Empowerment and Why It Matters

During one of the most consequential times in our economic history, Main Street had to readjust its relationship with money including saving, investing and spending. And along the way, millions of people lost their homes and had to think twice about their financial future. Treasurer Rios explores how money and power go hand-in-hand and how now more than ever, financial capability and access can make a difference for current and future generations.

14) Mexico and the United States: We are They

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 55 million Latinos in the U.S with a projected growth expected to reach about 106 million in 2050. Today, Mexicans represent over 60 percent of the Latino population with the next highest Latino constituency (Puerto Ricans) representing less than 10 percent. Treasurer Rios explains how Mexico and the U.S. are inextricably tied economically, socially and culturally and what this means for our collective futures. In doing so, she suggests that perhaps we should be strategically investing in our own backyard and reassessing how we see ourselves as a nation and beyond our borders.

15) EMPOWERMENT 2020: A Count Up to the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment Granting Women the Right to Vote and Why This Matters to Men, Women, Boys and Girls

Women remain under-represented in too many critical areas of decision-making in the U.S., most notably in corporate and congressional leadership. Unfortunately, the issue is much more basic. Women and girls remain a minimal part of our everyday consciousness in terms of how they are valued in history and what we see in our everyday lives from the classroom to the boardroom. As we prepare for the centennial of suffrage in 2020, Treasurer Rios provides a blueprint for the next four years to show what we have accomplished over the last 100 years, and the equity it can generate for our girls AND boys.

16) A Manufacturing Anomaly: How to Increase Production, Save Money and Boost Morale

As the first Treasurer of the United States to have her portfolio, Rosie Rios used her business background to implement operational efficiencies and innovative concepts to invest back into her 4,000 employees at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the U.S. Mint. By designing and creating employee-led programs such as the Strategic Alignment Initiative to establish unprecedented peer-to-peer relationships between the two bureaus and through her “Making American History” initiative, employees were empowered to pursue creative solutions to streamline their processes and utilize basic manufacturing principles including Lean Six Sigma and project management certification, among others. Learn how her teams saved money while making money and how both bureaus were able to own their training and development, scale their ideas, and provide maximum flexibility.

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