Rosie Rios, 43rd Treasurer of the United States, to receive 2016 WNBA Inspiration Award

NEW YORK – Rosie Rios, who served as the 43rd Treasurer of the United States, will receive the 2016 WNBA Inspiration Award, WNBA President Lisa Borders announced today.

“Rosie has dedicated her professional and personal life to fighting for gender equality and creating more leadership opportunities for women in the workforce,” said Borders.  “As the WNBA continues to celebrate its historic 20th season, it is only fitting to honor the individual who spearheaded the efforts that will lead to Harriet Tubman appearing on the $20 bill – the first woman to be depicted on U.S. currency in more than a century. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize Rosie’s accomplishments.”

The WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon presented by ESPN, which will be held Tuesday, September 27 in New York City, recognizes individuals who have blazed new paths on the court, in the boardroom and in the community.  More than 300 people from the worlds of entertainment, sports, business and politics are expected to attend.  Fans can follow behind the scenes with @WNBA #inspiringwomen.

“I am humbled to be the recipient of the 2016 WNBA Inspiration Award,” said Rosie Rios.  “As the proud mother of a daughter who plays high school basketball, the WNBA continues to provide role models for the current and next generation of leaders and is a true representation of the value of hard work, dedication and perseverance. Thank you for such a distinguished honor.”

In addition to the WNBA Inspiration Award, the luncheon will feature two special presentations.

The Cisco Inspiring the Future Award recognizes one woman for her outstanding efforts and constant drive in the field of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.  This individual embodies the spirit of both the WNBA and Cisco through her dedication to today’s youth, helping more girls pursue a professional career in technology.  Cisco is proud to honor Karen A. Peterson, Chief Executive Officer for the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP).  As CEO and Principal Investigator for NGCP, Peterson seeks to maximize access to shared resources for public and private organizations interested in expanding girls’ participation in STEM.  Peterson has been instrumental in the growth of the NGCP network, which currently reaches 16 million young women.

The inaugural Verizon Innovative Learning Award recognizes an inspirational teacher who leverages technological resources and hands-on opportunities to inspire tomorrow’s creators.  This year’s honoree is Dawn Martesi, an instructional coach at Neil A. Armstrong Middle School.  Martesi influenced the creation of a student-led tech team that gives students from across the school leadership roles amid their peers and their teachers, including students from her special education classes.  Through the Verizon Innovative Learning program, Verizon is committed to developing measurable educational initiatives from the ground up to help level the STEM playing field for minority and underserved students.

The WNBA’s Gold Partners for the luncheon include Bud Light, Cisco, Diageo, Essence, PepsiCo, SAP, Sports Illustrated, State Farm and Verizon.

At the league’s inaugural luncheon in 2006, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright addressed a group of the WNBA’s own inspiring women as the league honored and recognized the WNBA All-Decade Team.  Other past honorees include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, political commentator Cokie Roberts, United States National Security Advisor and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, award-winning journalist Katie Couric, the 2012 female Olympic medalists of Team USA, actress and UNICEF Ambassador Téa Leoni, veteran political strategist Donna Brazile and humanitarian Dr. Helene D. Gayle.

About Rosie Rios
The Honorable Rosie Rios was confirmed on July 24, 2009, as 43rd Treasurer of the United States, appointed by President Barack Obama.   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. At the time of her resignation in July of 2016, 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.

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 has accepted a position as a Visiting Scholar at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University effective October of 2016.  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,

About the WNBA
The WNBA, which features 12 teams, is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity.  The league, which counts Verizon as its leaguewide marquee partner, began its 20th season on May 14, 2016.

Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education.  For more information on the WNBA, log on to