Manju Ganeriwala caught the bug for public service shortly after moving to Virginia in 1983 and beginning work with the state Department of Planning and Budget. “You get to see the 30,000-foot view of how policy is created,” she says. “I found it very fascinating and interesting to see the legislative branch, executive branch, and the tensions and cooperation between them to make things happen.”
Indeed, Ganeriwala has almost 30 years of public service under her belt. She was appointed to her current postion in 2009, at the height of the recession, by then-Gov. Tim Kaine. Virginia was one of a handful of states to maintain its AAA bond rating through the crisis and among the first to bounce back. Ganeriwala says Virginia’s fiscally conservative budgeting, healthy savings account and a cap on debt were key factors in the rebound.
In 2013, Ganeriwala was elected as president of the National Association of State Treasurers, where she became a national voice lobbying to protect municipal bonds’ tax-exempt status, among other issues affecting states’ day-to-day finances. Ganeriwala, who was born in India, was the first woman in her family to go to college. She says her mother, who has a 6th grade education, was her biggest supporter in allowing her to finish school and obtain a graduate degree.