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Nadia Hansen to Depart from CIO Role in Clark County, Nev.

Nadia Hansen concludes two years as CIO of Clark County, Nev., leaving behind a more human-centric department. In her next role, she will help support digital transitions for state and local governments worldwide.

Clark County Government Center
Nadia Hansen* is stepping down after serving two years as CIO of Nevada’s most populous county. Her last day is Nov. 5, after which she leaves for the private sector, she told Government Technology.

“This has been one of my most favorite jobs, hands down,” she said. “[Leaving] was a very tough decision.”

Hansen will remain involved with state and local governments in her next role, though they will be her clients. Her new firm provides guidance to clients looking to make digital transformations, and Hansen will work with governments around the globe, she said.

“I’ve always been attracted to roles where I can make the greatest impact on the largest number of people,” Hansen said. “I’ve always been attracted to more of the global space, being able to help and work in different countries and use some of my language skills.”

Hansen became CIO in December 2019, after serving a year as deputy CIO. There she would manage the IT needs for a county whose population that year topped 2.3 million, per its website, and has been growing since.

The pandemic loomed over most of Hansen’s tenure as CIO, with the outbreak hitting only months after her promotion.

The county wrestled with a more than $1 billion deficit when revenue from resorts and gaming dried up. Like counterparts across the country, the county had to navigate the launch into remote work. Handling this shift required a mix of new technology and new management approaches. The IT department deployed remote meeting technologies, digitized paper-based processes and trained supervisors on best practices for communicating and staying engaged with off-site employees, Hansen said.

Many of these changes are for the long term, as the county can now complete processes that once took six to eight weeks in a matter of hours.

Hansen’s tenure has ushered in other lasting updates, including a strategic technology road map covering the next two years, and a new philosophy toward work. IT policy now enables permanently hybrid work schedules. Staff can even elect to split their 40-hour workweeks into four or five days.

This approach makes the work environment more sensitive to employee needs and lets the agency compete with benefits offered in the private sector, Hansen said.

Being similarly sensitive to residents requires governments to recognize that they’re dealing with five distinct generations — ranging from Gen Z to baby boomers and “traditionalists” — with different preferences and needs for how government communicates with them, Hansen said. Thus, it’s important to offer plenty of channels for connecting, including phone, email, in person, mobile and online.

To make that latter channel more viable, Hansen said the IT department needed to overhaul the “archaic” county website and add an improved search capability that makes it easier for residents to find what they need.

The county has not officially appointed a successor to Hansen, although she has two deputy CIOs.

Hansen herself rose from deputy CIO to CIO when her predecessor, Michael Lane, left office. But this isn’t a guaranteed promotion pipeline — Hansen was only selected after the county conducted a nationwide search in which 100 to 110 applicants were reviewed.

If Hansen could offer one tip to her replacement, it would be to focus on engaging with customers to fully understand what they need, then look to identify how technology can help.

“My biggest advice would be try to understand the audience and who you’re serving,” she said. “Do a listening tour and learn about people. This is very much a people business — it’s people-first. Technology just happens to be an enabler that helps.”

*Hansen has been an advisory board member for e.Republic’s Nevada Digital Summit, and will participate again this year.
Jule Pattison-Gordon is a staff writer for Government Technology. She previously wrote for PYMNTS and The Bay State Banner, and holds a B.A. in creative writing from Carnegie Mellon. She’s based outside Boston.