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Friday, June 1 • 8:30am - 10:45am
Friday Mainstage Talks

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Jennifer Pahlka, Code for AmericaDavid Eaves, Summit Host and Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School
Announcement of the Inaugural Code for America Community Fellows
Hashim Mteuzi, Senior Manager, Network Talent Initiative, Code for America

Video: The Brigades

You’re More Powerful Than You Think
Eric Liu, Author, Founder, Citizen University, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Program on Citizenship & American Identity
At Code for America, we believe that three major stakeholder groups have to work together to make government work as it should in a digital age: governments, vendors, and the public, also known as citizens. Eric has been writing, thinking and speaking about the role and value of government and inspired us with Gardens of Democracy, which argued that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. He continues his leadership in redefining citizenship in twenty-first century with a powerful call to own and use our power. Whether you work for or with government, inside or outside, feel marginalized, empowered, or a bit of both, Eric has a message for you that’s certain to inspire you to positive action.

From Calamity to Community
Gabriella Gomez-Mont, founder, Laboratorio para la Ciudad, Mexico City
Julie Kramer, Code for Miami
Jeff Reichman, SketchCity (the Houston Brigade)
Natalie Bednarz, City of Orlando
Gabriella started and leads Laboratorio para la Ciudad, the experimental arm and creative think tank of the Mexico City government. Part of her work involves exploring and experimenting with links between civil society and government, so when a magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook her city for 20 seconds in September 2017, causing immense damage and loss of life, she was eager to observe the ways in which both the government and the public responded to help those in peril. She hoped for the community and government to act in concert, but that wasn’t always the case.  In the meantime, as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma bore down on the southeast United States, Code for America Brigades in Texas and Florida rallied not only their own members, but a national community, to get help to those affected in real time, using simple tech tools and organizing skills.  Each of these civic leaders will share their lessons learned, their hopes and concerns, and their vision for a framework for government that helps more people because it’s powered by people.

Change is inevitable, pain is optional: a report from the field
Eric Jackson, Code for Asheville
Sabrah N’ha Raven, Code for Asheville
We often prefer to focus on the more upbeat uses of on data, like powering entrepreneurship, informing the public, and improving government services. But the data that garner the most interest can also be data that touch on deep divisions in our communities: issues of policing, of economic and racial disparity, and of the best uses of our scarce resources. Putting the data out there invites the community to use it to challenge what government is doing. Asheville, NC faced such challenges in 2017, with data-centered discussions of arrests of homeless members of the community and racial disparities in traffic stops. Code for Asheville members were in the thick of it, both as members of the community and members of City staff. How do we turn difficult discussions into constructive engagement that helps our communities move forward?

Reinventing the Safety Net
Jessica Kahn, McKinsey, former Director of Medicaid Systems for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Dave Guarino, Director, GetCalFresh, Code for America
Albert Garcia, CalFresh Program Manager, County of San Diego’s Health & Human Services Agency
Laura Ramos, Sr. Director, Integrated Benefits Initiative, Code for America
Ashley Meyers, Digital Services + Product Management, City and County of San Francisco
Maria Benjamin, Director of Homeownership & Below Market Rate Programs, Mayor's Office of Housing & Community Development, City and County of San Francisco
As a nation, we spend about half a trillion dollars on safety net programs for our most vulnerable people. With the continuing economic disruptions of automation and other forces, it’s more important than ever that we make every dollar count.  But today, despite what’s possible with service delivery and data, we still operate disconnected, siloed programs that are often hard to administer, hard to enroll in, and hard to take advantage of. Dedicated, passionate public servants often have little data to provide insight into the best way to improve the experience for users, or the best ways to cost-effectively increase the impact of the program. At Code for America, we’ve been experimenting with SNAP, Medicaid, and other benefits, using the delivery of the benefits and insight into user needs as a way to shape both operations and ultimately policy. While grounded in incremental improvements, we’re also pushing the field to imagine something dramatically better. One example of this approach in action in the field is the San Francisco Digital Service teams’s redesign of their affordable housing process to reduce the burden on low-income people. Join us for an honest discussion of the challenges and a provocative call to do better for our fellow Americans.

Ethics, Conscience, Technology, and Public Service
Brandon Bouier, Amazon, formerly of the Defense Digital Service and the Seattle Police Department
Cyd Harrell, former Chief of Staff at 18F
Stephanie Nguyen, Harvard Kennedy School, formerly of the United States Digital Service
Christa Harstock, Code for America
The last Code for America Summit wrapped up four days before the presidential election that put Donald Trump in the White House. Many who came to public service under the previous president found themselves grappling with newly foregrounded conflicts, but these questions of ethics and personal values were always there. What happens when you’re afraid you’re not the good guys? Were we ever the good guys? How do you engage when you disagree? What do we have to learn from the ethics crises of the big technology platforms? Why weren’t we talking about this with greater urgency earlier? Public service is never easy, but it’s a calling, and we need a much more open, honest, and respectful dialogue about how to resolve conflicting values -- in ourselves, among our teams and communities, and in our nation – if we’re going to be able to do the hard work ahead.

Friday June 1, 2018 8:30am - 10:45am PDT
East Hall