5 in 5: Tina Walha, Seattle’s Director of Innovation & Performance

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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Results for America

Working with decision-makers at all levels of government to harness the power of evidence and data to solve the world’s greatest challenges.