Earlier this month, StateScoop named the winners of the 2021 LocalSmart Awards, a program honoring some of the most innovative and impactful people and projects in local government. Kate Bender, Class of 2020, was selected for her stellar work. An interview as shared on the STATESCOOP newsletter highlighted details of her work.
Kate Bender, Chief Analytics Officer of Kansas City, Missouri
What have you accomplished in your role in the past year that you want people to know about?
Over the last year, we have certainly continued to have to respond to pandemic needs in the city in addition to our regular operations. We also lost several core members of our team last year, so we’ve really had to do this with reduced staff. We’ve also really been honing in on data visualization, especially external-facing publicly available data. We’ve had an open data portal for a long time, but this summer we launched a new homepage in an effort to make that information more navigable. And then we’ve also been gradually building out visualization dashboards to pair with some key data sets.
What projects are you most excited about?
I’m really excited with the opportunity to expose a lot more of our data to the public, and also to really simultaneously provide access to additional high-value data sets — access to the raw data that’s helpful to researchers and business owners and people used to working with raw data — but also the visualizations that summarize it. I think our focus is on leaning into building automated data sets and automated visualizations so you can really ensure sustainability for all of this, so we’re not building a lot of things that quickly become stale.