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Brenna Berman

Executive Director at City Digital, UI Labs


Brenna Berman is the Executive Director of City Digital, the innovation accelerator focused on cities and infrastructure at UI Labs.  City Digital focuses on data-driven urban innovation within the built environment, executing technology development pilots that bring together cities with university, corporate and start-up partners.  At City Digital, Ms. Berman is leading an inter-disciplinary team that is pioneering a new process for innovation to bring IoT to scale in the urban environment.Prior to joining UI Labs, Ms. Berman served in the Emanuel administration as Chief Information Officer for the City and Commissioner for the Department of Innovation & Technology for over 4 years.  In that time, she focused on transforming the team at DoIT to provide the skills and expertise to implement the Mayor’s vision of data-driven resident services and of a more efficient, effective and innovative City government. This meant adding new skills to the team to increase the focus on software engineering and analytics, improving the department’s commercial partnerships to drive savings for the City and identifying ground-breaking civic partnerships.During her tenure as CIO, Commissioner Berman delivered on the Mayor’s commitment to a robust open data program, integrated advanced analytics into many city departments, driven IoT innovation for the City through unique partnerships at UILabs and the founding of the Midwest IoT Council and, in partnership with the University of Chicago, realized the vision of urban-scale sensing with the Array of Things.Prior to joining the Emanuel Administration, Comm. Berman built a career promoting government innovation over 10 years at IBM, where she worked closely with government agencies in cities and countries across the world to leverage technology and analytics to improve the services they provide to their residents. She advised governments on a variety of issues, from targeting personalized services through analytics to normalizing program offerings to simplify the delivery process and make them understandable to residents. Throughout her time at IBM, Ms. Berman tailored cutting-edge business and data models, from processes to analytic algorithms for large government organizations in order to accelerate their own modernization efforts, providing an incredibly valuable skill set for the work she continues at DoIT. Brenna earned her bachelor’s degree and Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. 

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