Chris Rosas is a tax and treasury pro with the grit of a salesman and the heart of a leader. The VP of tax and treasury at Bumble has found his ideal match, representing a diverse workforce and an empowering product that aims to help people make healthy and equitable connections across love, friendship, and business networking.
Rosas’s early experience at Clear Channel—a company that tripled in size during his crash course in corporate and international tax—and his work at PricewaterhouseCoopers provided the foundation for the future leader. In fact, PwC partner Mitch Bramlett says of Rosas, “[He] is a thoughtful and practical problem solver. He empowers his teams but they can always count on him to be in the trenches with them. It’s been a pleasure to witness Chris’ growth and success in his various leadership roles. He leads with integrity and impact.”
The Bumble VP shares his experience, his connection to Bumble’s mission, his passion for San Antonio, and his father’s challenge to become a salesman, no matter the job.
What has working across different industries provided you in terms of growth? Are there any particulars to your current role that you find unique and interesting?
The diversity of industries has given me a perspective on broad business issues. After Clear Channel, I spent four years working in international tax at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). That amazing experience helped my professional growth really take off. (I should also mention I met my wife, Stacy, at PwC, which only makes the experience that much more amazing!)
Being at PwC taught me what it was like to be in client service and develop a service orientation to internal stakeholders that I carried with me in my next role at Rackspace and now at Bumble. You must keep focused on your clients, whether external or internal.
After PwC, I transitioned to the head of tax at Rackspace, which was another exemplary experience. I earned the confidence of my leaders and expanded into treasury, internal audit, government relations, and many other projects that broadened my perspectives on the company and industry.
At Bumble, it’s been an exciting new challenge as our structure has both partnership and corporate elements to it. I’ve had to get a crash course in partnership tax since that is almost entirely new, but that’s what colleagues and mentors are for.
It’s interesting to have such a difference in stakeholders and each day seems to be a new adventure! Bumble is also my first experience working outside of the B2B space for a company that provides services directly to consumers.
Could you talk about how Bumble’s mission impacts you and how you connect with the company?
As a husband, father, brother, uncle, and friend, I love Bumble’s mission of helping people create safe and equitable relationships and that I’ve met so many people that have met their partners on the platform.
Bumble’s corporate culture is one that fosters diversity and inclusion. Coming from companies with male-dominated leadership, it’s incredible to see Bumble’s commitment to having women in senior leadership, including a majority of the board of directors.
At my first company happy hour, I was struck by meeting new coworkers across the spectrum of gender, ethnicity, age and every different demographic I could think of. That diversity has been the key to building a stronger company as it’s a company that “walks the walk” when it comes to creating a positive environment for its employees to bring their true self to work.
I’d love to know more about your passion for San Antonio and your work with small businesses.
While at Rackspace, I was responsible for helping us qualify for and comply with various tax incentives for our San Antonio headquarters and data centers. For our HQ, for example, we renovated a vacant mall in a long-deteriorating neighborhood. We gave it a new life as a cool tech space and transformed the community by bringing thousands of employees to the area and partnering with local institutions to ensure everyone benefitted.
As ‘Rackers’ (employees of Rackspace) moved on from the company they remained in San Antonio. They started up businesses, became executives elsewhere, and set up VC funds. One of our founders was incredibly active in redeveloping downtown and creating an urban center that could incubate startups. We also started a school to teach IT skills and created a local tech talent pipeline that fed our company and several IT departments across the city.
Rackspace’s efforts were transforming the city and I wanted to get involved. I had grown my network by working with the city and state on our incentives and been exposed to the political side of things when I led the efforts to pass two tax bills in Texas.
I took a leap and applied for a position on the San Antonio Economic Development Corporation, the city’s nonprofit arm investing in startups. During my tenure, I saw many companies that could have a big impact but needed help. I eventually left the SAEDC and began investing directly in these companies because I knew they all had the potential to be the next company to improve our community.
Could you break down your father’s advice, “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows what you know,” and how it impacted you?
My dad knew a thing or two about business. He began his career after college as an IBM salesman, eventually starting his own business, for which he was awarded the EY Entrepreneur of the Year. He told me that everyone is in sales, even if you’re not “in sales.” He pushed me to take a sales training course.
I resisted at first but he wore me down and got me to attend a sales training he was sponsoring through the Small Business Development Center at UT San Antonio with several aspiring small business owners. I vividly recall the instructor saying, “Some people say, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. That is wrong. It is who knows what you know.”
That really resonated with me. Your personal network is the most powerful muscle you can build. I used his advice to not only meet new people, but to have quality interactions where my peers, colleagues and contacts knew not only my name, but the value I could bring.
Throughout my career, I’ve worked to ensure that my professional connections “know what I know.” One example is a connection I made at tax conference in 2011. I was on a panel discussion tax issues in cloud computing and met someone that ended up introducing me to Bumble!