Results for America Fellowship Alumni give five answers in five minutes. This month, we caught up with Tina Walha, Director of Innovation & Performance for the City of Seattle, WA.
- Summarize what you do and how you do it.
I support change agents — including my multi-disciplinary team, City leadership, City staff, and community partners — to leverage data and design to improve how government works and feels for our residents.
- Share something exciting that you’re working on.
The introduction of COVID-19 vaccines brings with it excitement for all of us and a number of strategic and operational challenges for local governments. I’m excited about work that we’re doing to identify community members that may be at-risk for lower sign-up rates for vaccinations through data analysis and qualitative research, so we can thoughtfully engage them in partnership with trusted community messengers to ensure an equitable vaccination approach.
- Tell us one thing you learned from someone else during your RFA Fellowship.
Promoting the use of data and evidence in government looks different depending on the jurisdiction, and I loved learning about the different ways my colleagues were approaching this work in their cities and counties. In particular, I learned a lot from how Anjali Chainani spread the use of behavioral science across Philadelphia city government by starting small, building a community of practice, and engaging passionate partners outside government.
- If you could wave a magic wand and have any data or evidence, what would it be?
I’m an economist by training, so I would love to have more longitudinal data on the role that social interventions have on long-term outcomes that local and state governments can leverage to inform investments. In particular, COVID-19’s impact on an already changing future of work elevates the need to be more creative with how we connect with and upskill residents so they can thrive.
- What’s the [pick-your-adjective] job you’ve ever had?
The most immersive job I’ve ever had was as a graduate school intern for the National Park Service. Assigned to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, I lived in park housing in the Marin Headlands and worked in the historic park headquarters in Fort Mason. Living where I worked allowed me to better understand what folks want from their national parks and may have been my first lesson in human-centered design (I just hadn’t learned the term yet!).
Interested in learning more about Seattle’s work? Read the December 20, 2018 case study on Seattle’s testing of a low cost intervention to increase pet license renewals.
Tina Walha participated in Results for America’s Local Government Fellowship.