Share Regional Data Work With Peers
September 10, 2021 by
Innovative government data leaders find ways to foster connection and dialogue with their peers — even in the most challenging of times. The Southern U.S. Community of Practice is a regional-based, online community focused on sharing ideas around open data use, promoting best practices, and solving challenges together with data. The group has been meeting for more than a year and used this month’s session to discuss the data-driven practices employed by two local government leaders, Sarah Harris, director of performance management of the City of Memphis, and Melissa Schigoda, director of performance and accountability for City of New Orleans.
Both Melissa and Sarah started the conversation — moderated by Tyler Technologies’ Debbie Fedak — by introducing their roles, where they sit within government, and the most pressing challenge they are currently solving. The discussion highlighted the differences between approaches in data-driven government.
Their organizations are structured differently, but they are each positioned to affect change based on how their seat in government directly aligns with the priority of those in charge. Melissa reports to the deputy CIO while Sarah reports to the COO. Sarah’s office is overseen by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, who is known as the “metrics mayor,” and recently created a new hub for residents to engage with government data. Melissa’s team addresses operational questions across city government, recently having taken on a large audit project as those most familiar with performance management and data use.
While their organizational structures may be different, both are driving value from data use across government. Melissa and Sarah shared how they are currently using data to support high-priority needs like COVID-19 data, 311 requests, and citizen engagement.
Through the conversation, Sarah and Melissa shared and added to each other’s points. This community of data leaders provides value to those presenting just as much as it does to those listening in.