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Bay Area Power Women: 5 Questions With UC Berkeley's Rosemarie Rae

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This limited series profiles Bay Area Power Women who have helped shape Bay Area cities, neighborhoods, businesses and lifestyles. These women will be honored at Bisnow's Bay Area Power Women event in San Francisco on May 30.

Rosemarie Rae is vice chancellor of finance and chief financial officer for the University of California Berkeley, where she manages a $3B annual operational budget. Rae joined UC Berkeley as associate vice chancellor in 2014. As chief financial officer, she helped the university address its budget challenges, and she was named vice chancellor in 2017.

Before UC Berkeley, she worked as chief financial and administrative officer at The National Trust for Historic Preservation and as executive vice president, chief strategy officer and chief financial officer at Volunteers of America. She has more than 35 years of experience in the public and nonprofit sectors.

UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Rosemarie Rae
UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Rosemarie Rae

Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry?

Rae: My job is like being financially responsible for a city. UC Berkeley is a city and we’ve got a variety of citizens — students, faculty and staff. I’m responsible for a $3B operational budget on an annual basis and a capital budget that will exceed $4B over the next decade.

Bisnow: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career and how did you achieve it?

Rae: What I’m most proud of isn’t one individual accomplishment but rather being part of building exceptional teams that together accomplish great things. For example, balancing a structural deficit at UC Berkeley — that required the entire campus to come together, make sacrifices and work toward a better future. I’m proud of what we can accomplish when we work together as a team.

Bisnow: How have you seen companies change the way they address wage and gender inequality in recent years?

Rae: There’s been a significant amount of work in building awareness and identifying the issues. I haven’t seen organizations fully implement all the changes that need to be made to address gender and salary inequality — this is work that will take decades — but we’ve taken the most important step, which is understanding there is a problem and creating awareness that we need to solve it.

Bisnow: What piece of advice do you give others entering the industry?

Rae: During the course of your career you’ll have so many opportunities. It’s important you don’t lose sight of your goals, but it’s also essential to prioritize your personal life. When I first began my career I felt I had to make a choice — have a career or be a stay-at-home mom. This isn’t healthy and it shouldn’t be all or nothing. We have more options now and we know better. It’s about creating a balance.

Bisnow: What do you do to unwind when you’re not working?

Rae: I love yoga and Zumba. A glass of wine doesn’t hurt either.

Meet UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor Rosemarie Rae at Bisnow's Bay Area Power Women event May 30 at Hotel Nikko in San Francisco.