Cheriene is the Strategic Planning and Performance Manager for the City of Miami, FL, focusing on effectively implementing the city’s strategic plan and improving service delivery to local residents.

“I think we often jump to solutions before we truly understand or even accurately articulate the problem we’re trying to address. A data-driven approach forces patience and discipline that we don’t always have the tolerance for when considering the types of challenges facing local government.

We have access to so much information. It’s tempting to take a tweet with a buzz word and a data point and run with it. I think we need to slow down and practice the discipline of drilling down on what’s really happening.”

Cheriene uses data (think 311 calls, service requests, resident surveys) to assess the performance of the City of Miami government.  This is done to improve the provision of city services, and ultimately better the quality of life for Miami’s 470,000 residents across issues like traffic flow and congestion, crime prevention, street repair, and flood management.  How did this come to be?

“I didn’t pursue data-driven work directly. But I’ve always known I wanted to solve problems in government and leadership. After college I pursued a ‘generalist' Master’s degree (MPA) and I set out to learn local government in a budget office. Incidentally, budget departments were one of the first entities in government making data-driven decisions.”

Department mandates are a great example of conditions that support “Opportunistic Upskilling”, the process of leveraging team or project-based demands as a step towards building out data-driven skills.  As we know, the learning never stops – last year Cheriene participated in the Coleridge Initiative’s Applied Data Analytics program, a curriculum designed for government staff to analyze and communicate data across diverse audiences.  It was taught by Julia Lane, a professor at NYU's Wagner School of Public Service, and co-author of Big Data and Social Science.

So how does this come together on a day-to-day basis, both in terms of pride points and challenges to tackle?

“I'm proud that we're doing something that every department can contribute to in some way. We don't isolate this work to a specific team, although we do strive for a team focused on data. But not having that has forced us to be creative and build capacity throughout the city.

Topics on leaderships are most relevant for me. Some of our biggest challenges stem from culture and change management.”

Of all the uncertainties in work, the pressures to change, and its difficulty, are constant.  If big victories over the last couple of years (like being selected to participate in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities Initiatives and rolling out new services to streamline entrepreneurship) are any indicator, patience seems like a pretty useful virtue in Miami.



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  • B.A., International Studies (Latin America)
  • M.B.A., Management; M.P.A., Public Administration
  • 3 Years, Senior Budget & Management Analyst; 8 Years, Consulting
  • 4 Years, Strategic Planning & Performance Management