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Advancing equity: Bringing heart to data

State Chief Data Office Jason Lally

Hello, California! I’m thrilled to introduce myself as your new Chief Data Officer (CDO) and I am honored that the Governor has entrusted me with this role. I am also excited to work with our Director, Jeffery Marino, to fulfill the Office of Data and Innovation’s vision of helping the State deliver exceptional services to our residents. And during this month of Pride, I’m especially proud to serve you as California’s first gay CDO.

I bring to this role over a decade of working with data in the public sector, including 3 years with the State of California. I’ve already had the privilege to work with many State departments and agencies in several capacities. In my most recent role with the Office of Data and Innovation, I’ve led a team that partners with departments to co-develop more flexible ways of working with data. I am excited to continue the work with my friends and colleagues across the State and to forge new relationships to advance responsible and ethical use of data.

As I step into this role, I feel a profound sense of responsibility and determination. Our state is celebrated for its diversity and innovative spirit, yet we face persistent challenges in ensuring that everyone benefits equitably from our resources and opportunities. That’s where the power of data comes in.

Data isn’t just about numbers and charts—it’s about people. It’s about understanding our communities, addressing their needs, and ensuring everyone can be at the table of success. My vision for using data to advance equity rests on three core pillars: accessibility, inclusivity, and innovation.

Accessibility: Making data work for everyone

Accessibility is essential for ensuring that data benefits everyone, not just a select few. This means more than just making data available; it means making it usable and understandable for all Californians. As your Chief Data Officer, I am committed to breaking down barriers to data access. We will develop tools and resources that help individuals, community based organizations, and policymakers more easily navigate and utilize data to make impactful decisions.

Inclusivity: Listening to all voices

Equity means ensuring no one is left out. To achieve this, we need to gather and analyze data that truly reflects the diverse experiences of all Californians. This includes considering factors that shape people’s lived experiences like race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, and disability status. But it’s not just about numbers—it’s about listening. As the State’s Chief Data Officer, I’m committed to engaging with communities, learning from their experiences, and ensuring our data-driven efforts meet their unique needs.

Innovation: Tech for good

California is a hub of innovation, and we can harness that creative energy to promote equity. My goal is to increase the State’s use of modern data approaches to respond quickly and effectively to issues (both emerging and known), and always with ethics and equity at the center. With these approaches pointed at human-centered challenges, I know we can collectively tackle some of our most pressing challenges without losing sight of the people we serve.

Working together

Achieving equity through data isn’t something we can do alone. It requires collaboration, creativity, and a shared commitment to fairness. I’m excited to work with community members, government agencies, community based organizations, and private sector partners to evolve our data strategy to further align with the State’s equity goals.

Thank you for your support and for believing in a future where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

More about Jason: He has served in several roles at the California Government Operations Agency from 2021 to 2022, including Deputy Chief Data Officer and Special Consultant to the Chief Data Officer. Lally held multiple roles at DataSF for the City and County of San Francisco from 2014 to 2020, including Chief Data Officer, Data Services Manager and Open Data Program Manager. He was a Mayor’s Innovation Fellow in the San Francisco Mayor’s Office from 2013 to 2014. Lally held multiple roles at PlaceMatters from 2008 to 2013, including Director of Decision Lab and Planning Technology Associate. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Science and Technology from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.