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3 Interesting Learnings from the State of North Carolina

Let’s jump into this week’s 3 Interesting Learnings from Joe's conversation with Jim Weaver, CIO, State of North CarolinaRob Main, recently retired Chief Risk Officer for the State of North Carolina, from the Raleigh Live Podcast Tour. 

1. Transforming Through Experience

Head over to the NCDIT website and you will see that North Carolina is shifting to a customer-first experience, affecting details down to how their service offerings are designed. Navigation is being reimagined from the customers’ perspective, which continues to be a trending priority across states and cities heading into 2023. Keywords and phrases such as “intuitive” and “efficient experience” are becoming mantras for teams tasked with bringing customers a more personal- (dare we say more enjoyable?)- interface with government services and interactions. Rob's advice? Build to build relationships.

But the relationships matter. Lost in a lot of technology conversations are the soft skills that you need to be effective leaders, whether you be in cybersecurity or data or network operations. [16:58]

Check out NCDIT’s reimagined site 

Government agencies are in good company heading into 2023. Private sector companies are also prioritizing how to create the best digital experience for their customers and users by first understanding the differing ways in which that information is received and perceived.

Rather than a “take it or leave it” approach, companies in both private and public sectors are rethinking what will be the most readily receivable approach. Google announced in November its 1000 Languages Commitment based on the belief that through language people communicate and make sense of the world, and yet only a few are well represented online today.

2. Prioritizing Privacy and Data Protection

Another aspect of shifting to a customer-first perspective is understanding what holds residents back from engaging. When North Carolina learned that privacy concerns were top-of-mind, they implemented a plan to educate its residents on how they are protecting them through prioritizing privacy in 2023:

Whether you be a business stakeholder or a cyber defender embedded within that agency, showing them how the structures and the processes that we're putting in place are to facilitate the secure and safe exchange of data, and not just an impediment or not just yet another obstacle that businesses have to overcome. [31:15]

For example, this past holiday season Private and Public Sector companies put out easy-to-read articles packed full of non-technical jargon information to help citizens protect themselves from potential scams and thefts that have become increasingly more prevalent.

By breaking down fearful perceptions around data and privacy, agencies can spend less time assuaging misconceptions surrounding privacy issues, and more time working on projects to move residents ahead, creating more opportunities for residents; opportunities such as training programs to help workers shift into technology positions who previously might have not thought such a career change was possible.

Related: Cybersecurity, Cloud, and Coding: Why these three skills will lead demand in 2023

Related: Cybersecurity Education and Careers in North Carolina




3. Don’t Be Afraid to Watch and Learn

One of the reasons for being at the front of the curve for talent recruitment is the ability to keep a finger on the pulse of what other agencies across the country are finding success with. North Carolina is currently one of six states selected for a project to create and expand work-based learning opportunities to connect people with career opportunities through the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. Rob talks about his own development as a leader in helping illuminate the role each individual plays in the overall vision of any project:

The most challenging part of my job, being very frank, is allowing people to see themselves in the vision that I'm trying to create. Sometimes we get so mired down in our day-to-day; what's the closest alligator to our canoe…But the most challenging part is helping folks see themselves in the vision. [30:13]

Related: North Carolina’s State Summer Internship Program 2023

Related: Florida’s Credit For Life Experience

North Carolina is modeling a philosophy of utilizing "up-skill/back-fill" projects to help current employees develop the skills needed to fill new roles and back-fill job openings with new hires. Employers are actively encouraged to take part in these training programs and invest in developing an innovative workforce that reflects its community.

Related: NGA’s Lessons Learned in Workforce Innovation

Related: A Strategist’s Guide to Upskilling

Related: North Carolina’s Employer-Leadership page

Be sure to check out the full episode on TechTables+

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on a personal note by joe toste:


This week as I arrived in Tampa, I discovered that my wife had hidden a card in my luggage. While I won't share what she wrote inside 😉, I will say the quote on the front of the card really caught my eye: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." ~ Marcel Proust

I travel to a lot of new cities every month. One of my favorite things is getting out and walking around the city (great for thinking, too!). So, naturally, I walked around downtown Tampa and the Tampa Riverwalk. I had a blast exploring, thinking, and got my steps in, too.


2023-02-12_20-04-25I pondered over the question: How do we get new eyes? Or a new perspective on our own voyages?

Just like in the movie National Treasure when Benjamin Franklin Gates (played by Nicolas Cage) finds Ben Franklin's Ocular Device, the Spectacles, that help read a secret map on the back of the Declaration of Independence, taking the time to walk around a new city can often give us new eyes and fresh perspectives on life.

This week's Inspired Leadership Reminder: The next time you visit a city, be intentional and prioritize walking around and experiencing the sites. You might not discover any secrets hidden on the back of famous historical documents, but you might just surprise yourself over the insights you might gain from this type of reflection : )

2023 Live Podcast Tours

Orlando Live Podcast Tour (NCAA 1st Round)

Saturday, March 18th from 7am - 3pm EST

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Houston Live Podcast Tour (NCAA Final Four)

Wednesday, March 29th - All Day
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