US treasurer an agent for change

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Don’t just be passionate, be relentless.

From countless travels with UPS Inc. to leadership within the Small Business Administration, to being a single mom — Jovita Carranza has long been a pioneer for going the extra mile, even when resources are limited.

The treasurer of the United States was a guest on this week’s episode of Women of Washington with host Gigi Schumm. Appointed to the Treasury Department by President Donald Trump in June 2017, Carranza oversees the Office of Consumer Policy and serves as a principle adviser to Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Carranza said her career has had its ups and downs, but she wouldn’t change it.

‘Making it’

U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza

Growing up, people often have an idea of where they want their lives to take them. Having one’s signature on currency that travels around the world is no small feat, but Carranza said she still wouldn’t say she’s “made it.”

After several promotions, opportunities to manage more and more people, and larger speaking platforms she said she continues to learn.

“It’s not been an easy journey. It requires an expansion of beyond the comfort zone that we think we’re going to end up in. My comfort zone is actually achieving and expanding. The more I do that, the more motivated I am to give to the community,” she said. “Don’t ever think you’ve achieved or arrived. It’s an ongoing journey because then you have the responsibility of developing the future leaders.”

Carranza said as she looks around and sees young adults and children, she pictures future senators and educators for whom we should want the best. Resilience and the ability to reciprocate the help others have given you are two of the most important characteristics of success.

“If I could put my arms around the whole world and say, ‘OK, now learn from how I experienced this and do it better; do it faster; do it smarter.’ Those are my lessons,” she said. “Every incremental change or achievement brings forth an additional level of responsibility.”

Private and public sector jobs aside, Carranza is also involved with several charity organizations such as United Way, American Cancer Society and the National Center for Family Literacy that allow her to support others in the community. She said she wanted to give big and to give back, and these organizations allowed her to do that.

Here, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (left) and U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza (right) hold up sheets of new $1 bills, the first currency notes bearing Mnuchin and Carranza’s signature.

“I wanted to optimize everything I learned at the United Parcel Service. So people invested in me and I thought it was time for me to continue investing in various sectors, whether it’s the medical sector or whether it’s the entrepreneurship, business sector or academic,” she said.

Sponsors, mentors and executive coaches were all instrumental in Carranza’s career. She recommends everyone — even high school and college students — to have all three.

Mentors, which are essentially sounding boards, are no longer sufficient on their own, she said. Sponsors are the trustworthy brands willing to give their name in support of you. Coaches are the most experienced individuals to provide the skills, guidance and constructive criticism needed, and which would not be take from others.

“It depends on what you’re trying to achieve,” she said. “I always reach out for smarter people than me.”

Spare time

Working for the federal government often leaves little time for hobbies.

When Carranza was younger, particularly in high school, she played many sports. But she said she doesn’t have the time nowadays to fit that in. Although she did train at golf in order to engage with her clientele before joining the workforce. In both the public and private sectors, she also found it difficult to spend time with her family. Her neighbors or family members would care often for her daughter while she was on business trips.

A new $1 bill with the signature of U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza is seen, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington.

“Do I have regrets? Everyone has regrets. Could I have done it differently? I’m sure. But I’m pleased with what I’m able to give back to my daughter,” Carranza said. “We have a great relationship … and I have a grandson. So I perfected the process with him as well.”

If she does have a spare moment, she enjoys catching up on reading and spending the time with her family she wasn’t necessarily able to before. When asked what she would be doing if she hadn’t been appointed to her role at the Treasury Department, she said she would focus more on nonprofit work.

“I probably would strive to do it differently, but more of the same. When I participated in the non-for-profit [sphere], it was more about how I can go in and fix it. How can I help them be better at what they do, while serving the community? So I probably would continue doing that line of work,” Carranza said. “I guess I’m just a change agent, a reformer. And I will probably continue doing that moving forward.”