Rosa Gumataotao Rios

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Rosa Gumataotao Rios
43rd Treasurer of the United States
In office
August 6, 2009 – July 11, 2016
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byAnna Escobedo Cabral
Succeeded byJovita Carranza
Personal details
Rosa Rios

(1965-07-17) July 17, 1965 (age 57)
Hayward, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseJoe Gumataotao
Alma materHarvard University
WebsiteOfficial website

Rosa Gumataotao Rios (born July 17, 1965) is an American academic. She served as the 43rd Treasurer of the United States[1] and is a visiting scholar at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Early life and education[edit]

Rios was born the sixth of nine children in Hayward, California.[2] Rios' mother, an immigrant from Mexico, raised all nine children on her own and with the support of their church,[3][4] sent all of her children to Catholic schools and off to college.[5][6] All nine children worked at a young age. Rios worked beginning in her freshman year of high school at the office headquarters for the Alameda County Library System. Rios stated that she "had won the lottery with this job" as she had access to any book she ever wanted to read and that her experience and reading during this period led in part to her acceptance to Harvard University.[7]

Rios graduated from Moreau Catholic High School in 1983,[8] before attending Harvard, where she graduated with high honors.[9] She received the Dean’s Award as the founder of Cultural Rhythms and is one of the few U.S. recipients of the Silver Medal Award from the Royal Society of Arts in Britain.[10] Rios was hired by General Reinsurance Corporation as a Commercial Property Underwriter to analyze the risks of commercial investments.[11] She later pursued her MBA at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.[12]

Public career[edit]

Rios was hired in 1994 by the City of San Leandro as a Development Specialist.[2][13] She developed strong roots in business and government in Northern California and became an expert in economic development and redevelopment for the cities of Union City, and Fremont before moving on to Oakland in 2003 as the Director of Redevelopment and Economic Development for the City of Oakland.[14]

Consulting career[edit]

In 2003, Rios became a principal partner at Red River Associates, a consulting firm specializing in economic development and project management. While at Red River, she teamed with the Assistant General Manager of Infrastructure to restructure the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in preparation for the seismic retrofit of the Hetch Hetchy water system, one of the nation’s largest capital improvement programs.

Robert Bobb, who was now at that time was serving as the City Administrator for Washington DC, recruited Rios to assist with the recruitment of the Montreal Expos to become the Washington Nationals in 2005 including the revitalization of the Anacostia waterfront. The following year, Rios became Managing Director of Investments for MacFarlane Partners, a real estate investment firm based in San Francisco.[15] While there, she was responsible for the firm's urban investment and development programs throughout Northern California and consulting with local municipalities.

In 2008, Rios was invited to collaborate in the efforts of the Obama campaign to secure the state of Virginia in the 2008 presidential elections. She developed a strategy using the fan base of the DC United soccer team to register Latinos in Virginia. Many have said that this was a key tipping point necessary for the victory of then-Senator Barack Obama to win the democratic vote for the first time since 1964 in his campaign to become the President of the United States. Rios was asked to be one of 23 finance professionals to join the Treasury-Federal Reserve transition team at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

On May 18, 2009, President Obama officially nominated Rios as the Treasurer of the United States and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 24, 2009.

Treasurer of the United States[edit]

Treasurer Rios signs her name officially at her swearing-in ceremony

In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Rios to be Treasurer of the United States and was confirmed by the Senate unanimously in July 2009. Rios was sworn in on August 20, 2009.[16] Her signature was initially taken on her first day of the job (August 6th),[17] and first appeared on US paper currency the day after Thanksgiving 2009. Rios was also a part of the team that implemented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with an emphasis on the Build America Bonds (BAB) program. Rios convened and trained state and local government officials and other stakeholders on how to access and utilize Build America Bonds to fund major infrastructure projects during the economic recovery.[18] Rios was the Chief Executive Officer of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint. She oversaw all currency and coin production activities. Rios was the first Treasurer to have her portfolio which also included the 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 signature currently appeared on $1.2 trillion out of the $1.4 trillion in circulation worldwide when she stepped aside.[19]

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. Rios began pushing for the change soon after she joined the Obama Administration in 2009. Her presentation to then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner went so well, she told CNN afterwards, that she left the room convinced the cause was sailing forward.[20] Rios stepped down as Treasurer; her last day in office was July 11, 2016.[21] Rios 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.[19]

Later career[edit]

After the end of her tenure at Treasury, Rios launched an organization called Empowerment 2020 at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, where she was working as a visiting scholar.[22] In November 2020, Rios was named a volunteer member of the Joe Biden presidential transition Agency Review Team to support transition efforts related to the United States Department of Treasury.[23] In May 2021, Rios joined the board of directors at Ripple Labs. Inc.[24] That year she also joined the cast of judges/investors on the streaming series Unicorn Hunters, where entrepreneurs pitch investing in their businesses and the audience at home can also choose to invest alongside the judges. Fellow judges on the show includes Lance Bass and Steve Wozniak.[25]

On January 11, 2018, Rios was appointed to be a commissioner of the United States Semiquincentennial Commission. She was appointed to be chair of the commission by President Joe Biden in July 2022, succeeding Dan DiLella.[26]

Awards and honors[edit]

Upon her resignation in 2016, she received the Hamilton Award, the highest honor bestowed in the U.S. Department of the Treasury.[27] In April 2015, a portrait of Rios was unveiled at Winthrop House at Harvard University, where she lived as an undergraduate—it was the first portrait of a Hispanic female to hang on a wall in Harvard College.[28] Rios was inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame in 2019.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Rios has two children, Joey and Brooke.[29]


  1. ^ Carla Marinucci, "Obama selects Bay Area Latina as his choice for U.S. Treasurer," San Francisco Chronicle (May 15, 2009).
  2. ^ a b "Key to City to Rosie Rios". City of Hayward. October 10, 2017.
  3. ^ "Resolution Recognizing Rosie Rios". San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. August 23, 2017.
  4. ^ "Rosie Rios". The Adelante Movement.
  5. ^ Harrison, Pat (Spring 2017). "Rosie Rios: From Accidental to Deliberate Feminist". Schlesinger Library Newsletter. Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
  6. ^ "Rosie Rios, former U.S. Treasurer, 'Be brave, be empowered, be yourself.'". The She Word.
  7. ^ Pablo Manriquez (December 31, 2016). "Meet Rosa Gumataotao Rios, the Mexican-American in your wallet". Fox News.
  8. ^ "43rd Treasurer of the United States, Rosie Rios, visits Notre Dame". Sherman Oaks: Notre Dame High School. April 23, 2018.
  9. ^ "Honorary Degrees: Rosie Rios". California State University.
  10. ^ Nominations of William Wilkins, Daniel Tangherlini, Rosa Gumataotao Rios, and Carmen R. Nazario: Hearing Before the Committee on Finance, United States Senate, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, First Session, on the Nominations of William Wilkins, to be Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service and an Assistant General Counsel, Department of the Treasury; Daniel Tangherlini, to be Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Management and Chief Financial Officer, Department of the Treasury; Rosa Gumataotao Rios, to be Treasurer of the United States, Department of the Treasury; and Carmen R. Nazario, to be Assistant Secretary of Health for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. Government Printing Office. July 14, 2009. p. 55. ISBN 9780160885754.
  11. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Treasury Department Posts". May 15, 2009.
  12. ^ "She's All About the Money". Washington Post. November 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "One on One with Rosie Rios". Women of Color: 9. Spring 2011.
  14. ^ Richman, Josh (July 27, 2009). "Former Fremont official confirmed as U.S. Treasurer". The Mercury News.
  15. ^ Richman, Josh (May 15, 2009). "Former Oakland official may take U.S. treasurer post". East Bay Times.
  16. ^ Darrin Lee Unser (July 12, 2016). "Rosie Rios, 43rd Treasurer of U.S., Steps Down". Coin News.
  17. ^ "East Bay woman to be sworn in as U.S. Treasurer". East Bay Times. August 15, 2009.
  18. ^ Thomas Sparrow (May 1, 2014). "The woman whose signature graces billions of US notes". BBC.
  19. ^ a b "The Honorable Rosie Rios". National Women's History Museum.
  20. ^ "Meet the woman behind the new $10 bill - CNN Video" – via
  21. ^ Gilkes, Paul (July 25, 2016) [published online July 6]. "Rios Leaves Treasury Post". Coin World. Vol. 57, no. 2937. Amos Media Company. p. 4. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  22. ^ Harrison, Pat. "Rosie Rios: From Accidental to Deliberate Feminist". Schlesinger Library Newsletter. No. Spring 2017.
  23. ^ "Agency Review Teams". President-Elect Joe Biden. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  24. ^ "Ripple Appoints Former US Treasurer to Board Amid SEC Fight". CNBC. May 4, 2021.
  25. ^ Samantha Leathers (July 31, 2021). "'Understand what you can lose' Former US treasurer shares top tips for entrepreneurs".
  26. ^ America250 Staff (2022-07-27). "Rosie Rios Designated Chair of U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission". United States Semiquincentennial Commission. Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  27. ^ a b "Rosa Gumataotao Rios". Maryland Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  28. ^ Mitchell, Robert (April 28, 2015). "First Latina portrait, Rosie Rios '87, unveiled". Harvard Gazette.
  29. ^ "Rosa G. Rios, Nominee for Treasurer of the United States Opening Statement as prepared for delivery before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance". U.S. Department of the Treasury. July 14, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2020.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Treasurer of the United States
Succeeded by