NYC analytics lead Kelly Jin departs for Knight Foundation

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Kelly Jin, New York City’s chief analytics officer and chief open platform officer, announced Tuesday that she’ll depart city government next month to take an executive role with the Knight Foundation, a nonprofit that funds civic technology projects.

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Jin, who managed grants at the philanthropic group Arnold Ventures for a year before joining the city in October 2018, said on Twitter Tuesday that she’ll assume the role of vice president for communities and national initiatives at the Knight Foundation to support communities as they recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

In an email to StateScoop, Jin said one of the projects she’s most proud of from her time in New York was her team’s response to the pandemic. During her time at the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics, she said she also “doubled down” on the city’s open data efforts, including publishing in 2019 a strategy that outlines the next decade data work.

Jin said that Martha Norrick, director for data strategy at the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, will serve as her acting replacement.

“MODA is an office that counts City agencies and the public as our customers,” Jin wrote. “The team’s (virtual) day-to-day will remain unchanged: completing fast turnaround and several month-long analytics projects, managing a robust and world class open data program, and serving as listeners and connectors for City agency data analytics and sharing needs.”

Prior to her work at Arnold Ventures, Jin served the City of Boston as an analytics manager. She also served as an adviser to the U.S. chief technology officer in the White House from 2016 to 2017.

During her most recent government stint, Jin led the codification of MODA as a permanent agency in the New York City charter. Her work helping to plot the city’s next 10 years of data projects called for more strategic data analysis in place of aimlessly publishing “open data for open data’s sake,” Jin said then.

Jin also advocated for a wider open data community to involve themselves in the city’s strategy, calling for MODA to work “alongside” New Yorkers and even with communities outside New York to gather best practices.

“Nationally, in the next decade, I’m really interested in what other communities are thinking about in their programs,” she said in 2019.

To aid the city during the coronavirus pandemic, Jin also helped oversee the launch of the NYC Recovery Data Partnership, which encouraged technology companies, nonprofits and community organizations to share their proprietary data on New York City consumers — like where people are visiting, shopping, eating and conducting real estate transactions — to help the city equitably distribute resources and aid.

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Kelly Jin, MODA, New York Mayor's Office of Data Analytics, NYC MODA
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