Bits and Bytes Blog
Get to Know the CDO
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Enjoy the interview with Carlos Rivero below and learn more about his role as a catalyst within the Commonwealth, what inspires his work, what prepared him to handle COVID-19, and a sneak peek of what's coming out of the Office of the CDO in the next few months!
- What inspires you?
“To be of service to others and help those who aren’t in a position to help themselves.”
- What is a quote or philosophy that you live your life by?
“This too shall pass. I like it because it reminds you how temporary or transitory all experiences are. For any experiences that aren’t necessarily good, it gives you strength to persevere. For the positive experiences, it gives you the wisdom to savor them.”
- In your own words, how would you describe your job and role within the Commonwealth?
“I am a catalyst within the Commonwealth. I help make things happen by bringing people, data and technology together.”
- Tell us about your first 30 days in this role?
“Wow, it’s hard to remember back that far! It was a lot of listening. Really in this role, you have to get a feel for the organization, its culture and its people and the problems they are trying to solve and the issues they are facing. This is not a one size fits all or 'whatever I did in my last position is going to work' situation. Every organization is different. You have to spend a lot of time listening and learning.”
- I know Data Talent Development for the Commonwealth is important to you. If you could give advice to an aspiring data professional, what would it be?
“Don’t limit yourself to just technology. Learn about business and business processes. In this profession you have to know more about the business and the people you’re working for. You can provide value by understanding the technology and data but you provide real value when you understand the business of your clients and customers. Our customers are agency personnel and the organizations that are trying to implement data analytics solutions. In order to better serve them, we have to understand the problems they are trying to solve not just from a technology perspective, but from a business perspective.”
- What are you most proud of from your time as CDO?
“I’m proud of the relationships we’ve built in a short amount of time. We’ve brought a lot of people together and this has helped facilitate the success of the data governance and analytics program.”
- What are some reasons data governance or analytics programs fail?
“Lack of engagement and participation by key stakeholders. That’s why I focus a large amount of effort on building relationships.”
- Tell us about what experiences prepared you for this work and specifically, COVID-19?
“All the work we’re doing now, I have done personally myself. I have written HTML code, done database work, and modeling work. I started my career building spatial models. Everything I ask people to do, I’ve done myself and that’s prepared me immensely. All of these things require a lot of different talent and skills to be able to execute effectively. If you don’t know what you’re asking someone to do, how can you empathize and show compassion about the work they’re doing and what they go through to deliver what you’re asking? I also worked on Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon project. I’ve participated and supported crisis response efforts before and those experiences put me in a good position to help this one.”
- You’ve been really busy over the last year behind the scenes, can you give us a sneak peek of what’s coming in the next few months from your office?
“Right now, we are working on the Open Data Portal and Business Intelligence as-a-service for Commonwealth agencies & localities. The Commonwealth Data Trust is in progress. We're also working on DataSAGE for all of the Commonwealth data and the Rural IT Apprenticeship Program will be launched next year. Our web-based data governance training is also launching in the coming months.
- If you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it be and why?
“We will never learn to love, trust and respect one another until we can see ourselves in each other.”
- What’s your go-to order at your favorite hometown restaurant?
“My family and I have a tradition called pizza fridays. We always get a large extra cheese with light sauce. And an order of fried wings.”
- With a full plate and swirling priorities, what are your best tips for productivity, time management, and preventing burnout?
“I have a strong support system. My wife does a great job of making sure I have down time. She keeps me grounded and makes sure I don’t burn myself out. Having people in your life that help balance you and highlight what’s truly important is the best thing. Achievement is important, serving others is important, and I love my work. But you also have to serve yourself and the people around you that love you. That helps keep everything in perspective. I also live by this quote: 'The key to an extraordinary life is to savor the ordinary moments.' The ordinary moments you share with each other are what’s important in life and that’s what keeps me balanced.”