Spotlight Story

Alumna Anne Retterer Delivers for Expedia

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Anne Retterer’s UC Davis MBA has proven a valuable passport to a rewarding global career. She embarked on her corporate journey with Osaka-based Takenaka—the world’s largest construction R&D company—working as an accountant while continuing her education following a year in Japan.

Retterer MBA 00 then joined Hambrecht & Quist, where she worked on venture debt and convertible note financings to emerging growth companies. During this time, she also founded an investment fund in Chile—“an incredible experience” that eventually allowed her the opportunity to take a sabbatical and travel the world.

“The pause afforded me time for true reflection,” Retterer says. “I realized that I had spent a lot of time telling companies how to perform; now it was time to round out this perspective with firsthand experience inside a corporation. Though it wasn’t an easy transition, I rolled up my sleeves and have enjoyed learning how to run a technology business from the inside out—business and system analytics, process, program and product management, and, currently, holistic insight and oversight of technology investments and processes for Expedia.”

What drives you in your work?

My role at Expedia as director of portfolio management affords me a broad perspective on how various divisions and subsidiaries are run in a large organization; the technology projects, processes and people employed therein; and how all must align on a global basis to deliver a strong product to our customers. I’ve been fortunate to work alongside (and learn from) some very intelligent and innovative colleagues and partners who share my work philosophy. We endeavor to leverage each other’s expertise, work smart, communicate well, be efficient and do our best to deliver a solid finished product, while stopping every once and a while to enjoy life and the ride along the way.

Currently, I am working with a couple of other organizations in a proof-of-concept that, if successful, will exponentially increase transparency into the work performed, as well as return efficiencies to all technology teams. I also hold regular and more low-key “think and sync” meetings with my team. What keeps me passionate? I believe you should be proud of the way you contribute, be aware of the contributions of all towards each effort, and show up with integrity, humility and a good attitude.

Where is your career headed?

I am very appreciative to have had the broad experiences, challenging mentors and ongoing education that I’ve been provided thus far in my career. Going further, I’d like to continue to combine my background and apply my energy in a role where I have deep ownership—either in a new division in a large company or in a smaller enterprise, perhaps even in a business of my own. Ideally, in this role, I also could give back to the community, preferably via a triple-bottom-line approach. Everybody wins.

How has your UC Davis MBA experience helped shape your success?

UC Davis gave me tremendous exposure to a variety of topics, subjects, personalities, approaches and cultures. The experience was invaluable, including my studies abroad in Mexico City. I’m able to draw on materials and lessons, as well as the wealth of knowledge that our fellow alumni and the university possess. My MBA has opened doors, bolstered my confidence and elevated the work that I am able to perform for my employer. Overall, the UC Davis MBA has been invaluable to my success.

What is the most significant thing that’s happened to you since graduating?

Has it truly been 13 years since graduation? Time has an amazing ability to seemingly accelerate as I get older! My natural tendency is to slip into very long workdays. To counterbalance this, I recently adopted a “philosophy of firsts” whereby I try to broaden myself and my knowledge as well as truly live life. Firsts can be simple, such as learning to stand-up paddle-board or seeing an outdoor movie in the park for the first time, to personal stretches such as a first time having art work on display, to the very challenging: I am working on the completion of my single-engine seaplane pilot license. I’ve also learned that “firsts” are contagious and very fun when shared.

Your favorite GSM memory?

Some of my favorite GSM memories are working late into the night on homework for Professor Tsai’s statistics courses with Nicole Levine and Ted Wooley. The three of us arrived from vary different backgrounds—me from banking, Ted from the armed forces and Nicole from nonprofit. We’d sit in Nicole’s room and almost cry from laughing as we summarized our write-ups on a single hypothesis or finding. I learned so much from working side by side with so many in my class, in addition from the actual coursework.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Since graduating, I have traveled the world and worked briefly in Mexico, Brazil and London. I love the complexity introduced by global partnerships! Right now, I am working in Seattle; however, San Francisco always will be my true home.

How do you support and participate in the GSM now?

The GSM has been very generous to me, and I welcome opportunities to return the favor. When able, I represent the School at recruiting events, help current students in their career searches, support events such as the Pier-to-Peer, and talk to perspective students about my experiences with UC Davis. Moreover, I have ‘Taken-a-Seat’ (more seats available!) in Gallagher Hall, and am partnering in a leadership role to rebuild the UC Davis alumni network in the greater Seattle area.


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