September 2014, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio named Minerva Tantoco the city’s first Chief Technology Officer. Tantoco is an experienced financial technology industry developer, multiple patent-holder, mother and proud New Yorker.
Early July 2015, Huffington Post interviewed the new CTO, and since she’s a CTO connected over Google Talk. The interview was too basically to ask about her work and how it was progressing, delivered by five encompassing questions.
You’re not quite a year into being NYC’s first CTO. What progress have you made so far? I was really excited about the opportunity, it was a recognition of the importance of technology to New York and New Yorkers and the New York City government. When the mayor created the role of CTO, this was a bold step in advancing NYC as the most tech friendly and innovative city in the world.
You have and extensive background in financial tech, which is often quite metrics-driven. So was the Bloomberg Administration, for that matter. How are you measuring and managing what you do? In the private sector, success could be measured in revenue dollars and profit margins. In government, we can measure success in terms of outcomes, driving investment and delivery of government services where they’ll have most impact. For example, for Pre-K for All, enrollment numbers is the measure of success. Some quick numbers: 20,000 kids in full day pre-k in 2013, the 53,000 kids in 2014; now 70,000 seat for the coming school year.
How much are you involved with strategy and policy, versus implementation and getting “hands-on?" As CTO, I am responsible for the city-wide tech strategy, which has three parts: access, talent, and innovation. Free or affordable access to the Internet for all New Yorkers is an essential goal of this administration and is included in the OneNYC plan. As CTO, I work with partners in the administration (a team of badass tech women, BTW) to help turn these ideas into action and implementation. It’s a pretty cool job
How have you and the mayor’s administration approached the issue of more inclusivity in tech? I’ve been quoted as saying “Keep calm, and let the women run the technology.” We have the most women leaders of any New York City administration, and the “badass team” includes Deputy Mayor Glen, Counsel to the Mayor Maya Wiley, who leads the Broadband initiative, Jessica Singleton, Chief Digital Officer Anne Roest, DOITT, Kristen Titus, Tech Talent Pipeline and me!
Based upon your experiences to date, what advice would you give to other people in the tech industry considering public service? What are your biggest challenges and opportunities? My biggest challenge is that I have no previous government experience. My biggest advantage is that I have no previous government experience. As a nerd in City Hall, I can ask the “dumb questions.”
Read Article (Alexander Howard | huffingtonpost.com | 07/08/2015)
It’s awesome to see women taking a leading role in tech, there has been way too much testosterone at the top of this industry for far too long.
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