When Oakland City Auditor Courtney Ruby left her post in 2014 to run for mayor, Brenda Roberts saw it as an opportunity for her first run at elected office. (Ruby lost the mayoral election to Libby Schaaf.) Roberts had spent a career as a business executive and an accountant, working as an internal auditor for more that 10 years at places such as Safeway, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the city and county of San Francisco. Now she decided it was time to dive into public service head first. “I came to the conclusion, after reflection, that I had a way to give back to my community,” Roberts said. “I could use my knowledge skill set to be a part of that team to make Oakland better and better.”
Now in office, Roberts says she will focus on the needs of Oakland’s changing demographics and growing population, while also increasing efficiency and stepping up oversight to ensure the city’s slim resources are used appropriately.
Roberts also plans to mentor college-aged women who want to work in business or government. She tells them two pieces of advice. “First, follow your dream. Second, be well-prepared,” she says. “A woman going into a job or interview who is fully prepared will have a better sense of success.”