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California CIO Amy Tong’s Advice to New State CIOs

As the second term of California Gov. Jerry Brown comes to a close, state Chief Information Officer Amy Tong spoke at NASCIO about her priorities in cybersecurity, procurement, cloud adoption and digital services.

Like most of her fellow state chief information officers, California CIO Amy Tong was appointed by the current governor, Jerry Brown. But the term-limited Brown is serving his last few months in office, and the fate of his appointees is uncertain. At the annual NASCIO conference in San Diego last week, Tong talked to Government Technology about what she wants to accomplish in the near term, as well as some key initiatives she would devote continued attention to if she maintains the CIO post into next year.

Tong also offered some advice to incoming state chief information officers — likely to come from a diverse array of backgrounds in government and private industry. Her recommended approach is two-fold: First, take the time to understand why things are done the way they are, and second, don't be afraid to institute change.

"Once you understand the why, you know how to change from within," she said. "Don't come in with a preconceived notion, but at the same time, don't also feel constrained by maintaining the status quo." 

Noelle Knell has been the editor of Government Technology magazine for e.Republic since 2015. She has more than two decades of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.
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