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Linda Gerull

CIO, San Francisco

San Francisco CIO Linda Gerull
"Bridging the digital divide” is one of those phrases that always sounds positive but can often signal mere intention over tangible work and actual progress.

That’s not the case for Linda Gerull.

Since 2017, Gerull has served as chief information officer and executive director of the Department of Technology for the consolidated city-county of San Francisco. Noting that San Francisco has 30,000 underserved residents — “the size of a small city” — she has led efforts to bring free Internet to affordable housing, helping to link more people in one of the tech capitals of the world to the global economy, among other programs designed to make tech a meaningful part of civic life.

Her focus on digital transformation also means making city services more accessible via digital tools and making sure that residents are invested and involved in building those tools. The goal? Instead of some top-down approach that can lead to stagnation, she views improvement as an ongoing, 24/7 process that relies on constant feedback to keep civic services — no matter how cutting edge — relevant and useful for those who use them. It also means creating a work culture that values open minds and innovative thinking, where change is welcomed instead of feared. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Gerull holds a degree in civil engineering.

Indeed, during her long career in government technology — Gerull was previously IT director for Pierce County, Wash. — she has earned a reputation as a thought leader among her peers, a professional always willing to engage, teach and learn.

“I have the strongest passion for public service,” she said. “I certainly believe in partnerships, with my peers in other cities and with vendors.”
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in New Orleans.