Welcome Russatta Buford, DataKind’s Chief Operating Officer

May 20, 2019

We’re thrilled to introduce you to the newest member of the DataKind team, Russatta Buford, DataKind’s Chief Operating Officer!

As we set out to scale our impact and set DataKind up to support the data science for social good ecosystem in the long run, Russatta will be a critical member of the organization’s leadership team. Working hand-in-hand with the Executive Team, she’ll help to shape and translate DataKind's strategic vision into a sound operational plan, ensuring we have healthy financials, efficient technology, and rock solid internal operations.

Learn more about her background below. Please join us in giving Russatta a very warm DataKind welcome!

What were you up to before DataKind?

Immediately prior to DataKind, I was the SVP of Operations at Global Health Corps where I oversaw non-programmatic work, addressing operational gaps and implementing growth strategies in the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa. My team and I handled security, finance, legal, IT, HR operations, and administration. One of my proudest moments there was introducing a participatory budgeting process in which all staff members were able to shape how we invested our financial resources in service of our country-level and organization-wide priorities. Earlier stops on this winding path allowed me to practice marketing, business development, fundraising strategy, organizational design and, because it's highly related (truly!), petroleum engineering.

Why are you excited to join DataKind?

I've long wanted to return to my engineering roots, and seeing the world's biggest social problems being addressed through the power of good data, proper interpretation, and practical application just plain excites me. Plus, the solutions the Data for Good movement helps to drive have the potential of bringing sustainable, positive change to the lives of many across the globe.  Even though I won't be pulling out temperature gauges and taking samples of wastewater anytime soon, my work will indirectly support data scientists and engineers, and that's pretty satisfying too.

What do you like to do in your free time?

The mainstays are Broadway and Off-Broadway. Theater has helped me to better listen to different sides of a conversation or argument and challenges me to take a hard look at myself, my values, and my behavior. Other than that, I love learning and pushing myself in new ways.  I've cycled 100 miles in a day, begun learning ASL, and picked up knitting. What's next? Well, I’ll do the Century Ride again, and I'm considering sticking with archery and giving Pilates a try.