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University Finance and Administration

Rachael Honig

Tell us about your first job.

My first job ever was working at Burger King at age 15. I think my mother still has my uniform (complete with visor) somewhere. I made $3.15 an hour, which was minimum wage at the time. My first real job as an adult was working as a paralegal at a small law firm in Chicago the year after I graduated from college. Many people who are thinking about going to law school work as paralegals first, and it is a good way to find out if you will love or hate being a lawyer. I loved it. The firm had a case that went to trial in Orlando that year, and we all moved into a bed-and-breakfast (an actual bed-and-breakfast, this was years before AirBnB existed!) for a couple of months. I remember watching closing arguments and thinking “this is what I want to do!” We were all working around the clock, but the spirit of teamwork and collaboration was strong. It was such a valuable experience.

Rachael Honig
Rachael Honig, VP, Chief University Compliance Officer

Do you have a favorite object in your office?

Yes. I became the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey on January 6, 2021, making me only the second woman to lead the office in its 232-year history. On that day, a friend and colleague gave me a small print of a quotation by Justice Ginsburg. It reads “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” It’s a good reminder to avoid falling victim to imposter syndrome. We all belong in those places, even if we have to kick down a few doors to get there.

Have you been mentored or do you mentor, and what is that experience like?

I would not be where I am today without the support of many mentors who have guided me along the way, and I try to return the favor by mentoring more junior professionals whenever I can. I spent my first year out of law school clerking for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit who still calls or emails me today with career development ideas or thoughts about what I might consider doing next. In that vein, one valuable lesson I have learned is that to be a good mentor, you need to do more than wait for people to come to you for help or ask you questions. You have to be proactive in thinking about ways you can propel people forward – and you have to be willing to look for opportunities for people that might lead them away from you and your organization. If your best employee has a greater opportunity to shine somewhere else, you need to help them get there, even if it means losing them as your employee.

Is there a TV show you’re mid-binge on?

I am addicted to documentary series about sports teams. I just finished All or Nothing: Arsenal and am currently watching both Hard Knocks and Welcome to Wrexham as episodes are released.

What is your favorite music genre and/or your favorite “get pumped” song and why?

I have listened to alternative music since I was a high school student in the late ‘80s/early 90s. My first concert was R.E.M. at the Rosemont Horizon outside Chicago. (This was when R.E.M. still qualified as “alternative.”) I went to the first Lollapalooza tour in 1991, and the second, and the third. But I would say my musical tastes are broader now, and I also listen to Top 40 and hip hop. My current favorite “get pumped” song is Mean Demeanor by Run the Jewels. If I had “walkup” music, that’s what it would be at the moment.

Do you have a favorite book?

I was an English Language & Literature major in college, so I have a lot of them. My all-time favorite book is Pride and Prejudice, which I’ve read at least a dozen times, followed closely by All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. The best book I’ve read so far this year was Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. And I’m currently reading Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel.