The Maryland Department of Information Technology has announced the appointment of Natalie Evans Harris as the state’s new chief data officer (CDO), effective May 15.

As the new CDO, Harris will be tasked with leading the creation and implementation of Maryland’s strategic data architecture. She will also oversee the data services of executive branch agencies’ operations.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to harness the power of data to innovate, streamline, and increase efficiencies across Maryland’s government,” said Harris.

“As a 20-year resident, I am eager to dive in and demonstrate the critical role of data in shaping our future and empowering individuals and organizations to make informed decisions in pursuit of data-driven excellence,” she said.

Harris is taking up her new post after serving as the founding executive director at the Black Wealth Data Center, where she led data and product teams to implement a comprehensive data platform to help educate policymakers to understand better and address racial wealth disparities in America.

Harris also served as a senior policy advisor in the Obama and Biden administrations, including playing a key policy role with the Department of Commerce. In addition, she was executive vice president of external engagement at the Data Foundation which is focused on improving the use of data in government and society.

“Natalie is a proven leader who will advance the state’s data modernization efforts, from platform and governance strategies to preparing our data to realize the potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Maryland Secretary of IT Katie Olson Savage.

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