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Laura Clark

CIO, Michigan

Laura Clark, CIO, Michigan
Laura Clark is building up the tech ecosystem of Michigan with her team, and also helping to build the next generation of IT talent in the state.

Clark has a cybersecurity background, having previously held the dual roles of chief security officer and CIO for the state. Now, as CIO, she says cybersecurity is still top of mind in all the work she does, but from a human-centric perspective. As she put it, the human-centered design approach is “not a tool or a process, but it’s really a cultural change.”

One way this mindset can be seen in action is the Michigan Cyber Summit, an annual convening of cybersecurity practitioners and stakeholders in the field to share information. And while this event is valuable for current cybersecurity talent, Clark’s vision was to expand the work to reach the next generation too.

As such, the state’s first High School Cyber Summit was held last October, enabling about 400 attendees from different high schools to learn from industry partners and higher education institutions with cybersecurity-related programs. And based on the inaugural event’s success and attendee feedback, the state is looking to expand this year.

Looking ahead, Clark said the state will pair its focus on cybersecurity with goals to increase modernization and improve customer experience. Her vision for state IT is broad: to have an empathetic organization, to make the Michigan resident the primary focus, and to continue providing services for residents and other agency partners.

Stressing the need for investments informed by both security and user experience, she pointed out that aging technology can increase vulnerability points and result in expensive maintenance. “We want to be the most effective and efficient that we can with the dollars that are granted to us,” she said.

This story originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Government Technology magazine. Click here to view the full digital edition online.
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.