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Bay Area IT Leader Heads for the Exit

A local government technology executive who’s the first to occupy her position will step down in late winter after five years in her post.

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Carrie Bishop, right, San Francisco’s chief digital services officer, joins state Chief Information Security Officer Vitaliy Panych, left, and Tristan Cormier, now chief technology officer at the California Secretary of State’s Office, at the 2020 California Public Sector CIO Academy.
Theo Douglas/Techwire
Five years after her appointment to lead improvements to resident, business and visitor digital experience, one of California’s key local government technologists is stepping down.

In a Tweet Monday night, Carrie Bishop, who was appointed San Francisco’s inaugural chief digital services officer nearly five years ago, announced her departure.

“After five fun years with the city and county of SF as the first Chief Digital Services Officer, I will be moving on in March. It’s been a roller coaster and I’m so proud of what the team has accomplished. Stay tuned because they’re just getting started,” Bishop said on Twitter. Her last day at San Francisco will be March 4, she told Techwire via email, indicating she’s “proudest of having established this team in San Francisco, which is now 50 strong,” and is believed to be among the largest municipal digital teams in the U.S.

“There are few teams with such talent, and we have accomplished some important things – during COVID-19 we led the city’s digital response and helped thousands of people book tests, get vaccinated and find out critical information,” Bishop said, noting the team enabled more than 2,500 businesses to secure the grants and permits they needed to keep their doors open during the pandemic. She said she has “something lined up for the summer, which I’ll share publicly nearer the time,” but will take “a few months off to decompress from a hectic few years!”

Bishop’s public-sector career began in London city government, at the Borough of Barnet, continuing as a founder of FutureGov, which created solutions to help U.K. municipal governments enhance online services. Her U.K. clients included the Government Digital Service. A panelist at events including the 2020 California Public Sector CIO Academy, her commentaries on govtech have appeared in Techwire. San Francisco announced her appointment Feb. 17, 2017, and creation of the role – Bishop’s first U.S. position – as “part of San Francisco’s recently adopted Digital Services Strategy,” adding: “Ms. Bishop’s focus will be on improving the experience of San Francisco’s residents, businesses and visitors as they access city government for information and services.”

Her friends and former colleagues offered congratulations on social media. “An amazing and impactful run! You built a great team in SF. Look forward to seeing what you do next,” Michael Wilkening, senior adviser for technology and delivery at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ¯ and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s former special adviser on innovation and digital services ¯ said on Twitter. “Thanks for all your contributions not just to SF but the movement,” tweeted Luke Norris, vice president of platform strategy and digital transformation at Granicus and the former senior vice president for government relations and growth at OpenCities.

“Wow!!! This is news. So excited to hear where you’re headed and what the team has in store,” Angelica “Angie” Quirarte, federal partnerships director at the Tech Talent Project and the former deputy director of programs at the California Office of Digital Innovation, said on Twitter. The two met in 2019, she told Techwire, shortly before Quirarte – then assistant secretary for digital engagement for the California Government Operations Agency – and her group at the state began work on the Alpha project.

“I think that as a leader in this space you have to learn how to say no to things, and she was really good at keeping the team focused on projects that were reimagining services,” Quirarte said. She brought her colleagues to meet Bishop’s team, she said, “and they were able to provide coaching and advice on their experience creating and navigating a digital services team in the context of a city government.” Named for alpha.ca.gov, the initiative centered on reinventing the state’s website. Quirarte stayed in touch with Bishop to offer support and to have a “sounding board” on Alpha, but also on state work in permitting and cannabis licensing.

“It was great to establish a relationship with Carrie and her team and cheer each other on as we were working on our projects,” she added.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.