(US & Canada) | Culture Goes Hand-in-Hand With Data Quality — US Immigration and Customs Enforcement CDO

Carin Quiroga, Chief Data Officer at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), speaks with Adita Karkera, Chief Data Officer for Government and Public Services at Deloitte, in a video interview about the data empowerment program, the role of culture in data governance and quality challenges, the data community at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and advice as a CDO.

The final segment of the interview series starts with Quiroga shedding light on the data empowerment program that she started as a CDO. The fact that everybody plays a role in the data lifecycle fueled her urge to ensure everybody has an opportunity to learn and understand their importance in their journey.

Further, as the term data literacy was widely used, Quiroga wanted to have something that stood out and made people feel empowered. This led to the creation of the data empowerment program, and it started with a data literacy survey to create the baseline, she adds.

Apart from that, the organization carries out lunch and learn sessions every month to share the energy and enthusiasm around data with everyone else. Also, there is a dedicated website that allows people to fetch information and learn at their own pace.

Delving further, Quiroga reiterates that data is knowledge, and knowledge is power. As a CDO, she believes in breaking down data silos and bringing data together to expand knowledge. For her, it boils down to getting people excited about leveraging data to be efficient and make better decisions.

Sharing further, Quiroga says that sharing her passion and understanding of data with people is what drives her.

When asked about data governance and quality challenges, she states that culture goes hand in hand with improving data quality and implementing data standards. The organizational culture must be such that people understand the importance of sharing data.

Adding on, Quiroga maintains that it is critical to change the culture so that people understand that the data is used in different ways across the organization. Consequently, implementing data standards and ensuring good data quality will make it easier down the road.

Highlighting data governance, Quiroga says that it was only recently that she realized that it was always a recommended thing to do. Now, she is changing the organizational mindset to focus on data governance and ensuring that the standards are followed while the systems are built.

According to Quiroga, teams must be encouraged to follow data standards from the very beginning. She believes that there will be a time when there will be enough influence and no need for enforcement, and education can drive that change.

Commenting on the data scenario at the DHS, Quiroga shows her appreciation towards the data community within the agency. She affirms meeting different CDOs and building solid bonds and partnerships.

The connection facilitates collaboration, says Quiroga, and it enables the leaders to help different mission areas as CDOs. Also, there are monthly CDO councils where everybody comes together to focus on the challenges and the work being done. She also mentions the data standards group within the immigration domain that sets the governance.

As a woman in data, as much as Quiroga loves being a part of the community, she is concerned about the data and technology domain being male-dominated. She asserts the need to have everybody’s perceptions in the data journey and feels lucky to be a CDO, as she can inspire someone to get into this field and avail of the opportunities.

Concluding, Quiroga advises to never give up and know that one can do any job regardless of race, gender, age, and size. She confirms that diversity is a necessity in every aspect, and one must be true to oneself.

CDO Magazine appreciates Carin Quiroga for sharing her insights with our global community.

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