IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

New Hawaii CDO Hopes to Expand AI and Data Use

Rebecca Cai has been named Hawaii’s first chief data officer. She brings experience from an identical role in New York state government.

2305_Rebecca Cai NY 13.jpg
Rebecca Cai
David Kidd/Government Technology
Hawaii has named its first chief data officer, pulling in talent from a mere 4,900 miles away.

Rebecca Cai was officially named the state’s first CDO in October. She previously served in the same role for the state of New York.

“I really love the people and the sense of Aloha in Hawaii. I feel like I belong here,” said Cai, reflecting on her new post, in an email to Government Technology. “There are so many opportunities I can create impacts as the first CDO of Hawaii while improving transparency and customer satisfaction through data.”

Cai assumed the CDO position in New York in March after Chief Technology Officer and Deputy Chief Information Officer Rajiv Rao, stepped down. While there, Cai said she was able to transform the role of CDO beyond just an open data disciple, “to include all data-related functions including data governance, master data management, open data, geospatial data services, data analytics and visualization, and AI,” said Cai. “We created data strategy as well as user-centric and impact-driven approach and drafted AI guidelines.”

It’s an approach she hopes to bring to Hawaii as well. “I am really excited about responsible use of generative AI, and data and AI governance, especially about what value we can bring to the public with data and AI together,” said Cai.

Other than her role as CDO in New York, Cai has worked largely in the private sector, serving as managing director with Singularity Digital Solutions, from 2016 to March 2023.