Today, Mayor Sly James is proud to announce the selection of Ashley Z. Hand as the City’s first Chief Innovation Officer. With this appointment, Kansas City joins a select handful of cities who have created a position dedicated to finding innovative ways to solve some complex city problems and improve citizen satisfaction.
Ashley is an architect by training, and a problem solver by trade. She attended the renowned Pratt Institute in New York where she received her Masters of Architecture and she holds a Political Science degree from the exceptional McGill University in Montreal.
For the last five years, Ashley has been an associate at AECOM where she has worked for both private and public sector clients to adopt best management practices through streamlining processes, data management and analysis, and incorporation of technology to change the business-as-usual mentality. Far beyond her skills as an architect, Ashley has focused on helping large bureaucracies, like the federal General Services Administration and the Air Force, adopt and implement new technologies and efficiencies.
Last fall, Ashley was named by the Kansas City American Institute of Architects as the 2012 Emerging Professional of the Year. She is a member of the 2013 class of the Chamber of Commerce’s Centurions Leadership Program. Last year, Mayor James appointed her to serve on the City’s Planned Industrial Expansion Authority.
Ashley has demonstrated a commitment to Kansas City since moving here from Los Angeles, where she founded the award-winning Sustainability Committee to promote sustainable urbanism and democracy. Locally, Ashley is the chair and co-founder of the Friends of Hale Cook initiative to reopen the neighborhood school.
“I look forward to helping Mayor James drive innovative strategies that will improve how our city government serves Kansas Citians through creative problem solving and citizen engagement. We have an opportunity to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit we see throughout Kansas City and reassess how we can best meet the needs of the community, empower neighborhoods, and enhance coordination, quality and efficiency. It is an honor to join the Mayor’s dynamic team and to serve our city,” said Ashley Hand.
“I am excited to have Ashley on board as we continue to drive City Hall toward a model of efficiency. Ashley’s connection to neighborhoods, understanding of bureaucracies and engaging spirit will serve Kansas City well. We are fortunate to have her talent and enthusiasm as together we work to make our City best,” said Mayor James.
Ashley officially starts at City Hall on Monday, February 4. However, she will be joining the Mayor at this evening’s celebration of high-tech startup SightDeck, which begins tonight at 5pm at Harvey’s in Union Station.