Debra Lam

Chief Innovation and Performance Officer, City of Pittsburgh
by Jeana Bigham | December 11, 2016 AT 3:20 PM
Dynamically Planned

A native of Pittsburgh, Debra returned to her hometown after living and working in Washington, D.C., California, New York, the United Kingdom, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. She speaks Mandarin and Cantonese.

Prior to joining the Executive Team, Debra worked as a strategic consultant at Arup, a global consulting and design firm. With over a decade of experience, her projects have included development work with the World Bank, APEC and the C40 cities. She has spoken and published numerous articles on sustainable development, climate change and urban resilience. Debra was among the 35 high achievers awarded a place on the “35 Women Under 35″ list in Management Today, and was a finalist in the Women of the Future awards in Science and Technology.

As Chief Innovation & Performance Officer, a role from which she resigned at end of 2016 after two years, Debra oversaw all technology, sustainability, performance and innovation functions of city government.

In a role new to Pittsburgh with the election of Mayor Peduto, Debra has the daunting task of combining performance management, user-centric design and technology, data-driven decision-making, technical infrastructure and urban resilience in a way that is truly unparalleled in the United States. Lam and her team have already led the creation of the “Pittsburgh Roadmap for Inclusive Innovation,” adding a lens and layer of addressing inclusiveness to everything the city does. The result is 100+ specific action plans, informed by Pittsburgh residents, that will fundamentally change the city in powerful ways for years to come.

She graduated cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and went on to earn a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

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