DataKind Launches Search for Chief Program Officer

September 11, 2019

Hi DataKinders!

As many of you know, we announced a search for a new President position for DataKind to lead the organization through its next phase of growth. The goals for that hire were twofold. First, we needed someone who would design and execute a strategy for providing DataKind’s data science services across the world with a focus on going deeper into Impact Practices (read more about our new strategy here). Second, we wanted this role to work closely with the COO to run the day-to-day operations of DataKind so that I, Jake, could focus more externally on building partnerships and engaging the conversation of data science for social good writ large.

We’ve seen a number of fantastic candidates from all walks of industry, the social sector, academia, and other nonprofits apply for the President position. However, we realized that the main focus of this role is in developing DataKind’s Impact Practices, our new strategy for deploying portfolios of data science projects across issue areas. What’s more, executing this strategy well requires coordinating our global network of volunteers. This Impact Practice work alone is more than a full-time department's job, and it was becoming less clear to us how a President would run that side of the business while also overseeing the company. With Russatta, our COO, expertly leading internal operations, the need seemed even smaller.

For all of those reasons, we've decided to pivot our search to find a Chief Program Officer. This role will be a critical member of the leadership team, joining me and Russatta to oversee all programmatic strategy for DataKind. This entails ensuring we’re able to deliver effective and high quality data science services to social organizations, creating partnerships with leading data science and AI practitioners in areas around the world, replicating our work by sharing our best practices with key communities as DataKind chapters, and identifying the entrepreneurial opportunities that arise from our hundreds of projects. With our CPO in place, we'll meet our two objectives of advancing our Impact Practice strategy while allowing me to focus my attention more externally.

What could such a person look like? Perhaps a data science consultancy principal who knows what it takes to expand a successful consulting service, but who wants to turn their skills toward social impact. It could be a leader of social sector data and tech fellowships that understands what it takes to pair thoughtful technologists with social actors. Maybe our future CPO has managed similar volunteer-based networks, like Engineers Without Borders, and now wants to extend that chapter format to data science and machine learning. No matter what, we're looking for someone who knows their way around data science and machine learning, who believes in the power of community, but who is humble enough to recognize all the places data science is not needed.

If that person sounds like you or someone you know, please have them apply here. With your help, we hope we can find the Chief Program Officer that will help us to harness the power of data science and AI in the service of humanity.

To great things to come,

Jake Porway
Founder & Executive Director
DataKind

Photo above courtesy of DataKind Washington DC.