Name: Rachel Haot
Short biography: Rachel Haot (née Sterne) was born in 1983 and grew up in Dobbs Ferry, New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from New York University in 20051 and soon founded GroundReport, an online news site that “provides amateur, apprentice and professional journalists with the digital tools required to reach a local or global audience;”2 Haot was CEO when she left the company is 2010. From March 2011 to June 2011, Haot was an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Columbia Business School, where she taught a class on social media and entrepreneurship.3 In 2011, Haot also became the Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York.1 Haot married Maxime Haot in July 2012; her husband is a founder and CEO of Livestream.4 The couple lives in Brooklyn.
What they do: As Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York, Haot is at the forefront of a new age of combined technology and government. As part of NYC Digital, she is working to help “realize Mayor Bloomberg's digital roadmap for New York City, a plan to fulfill the City's digital potential.”5 The city’s “digital roadmap” focuses on access, education, open government, engagement and industry. (You can check out the entire strategy here.)
Under her lead, NYC has expanded free wireless Internet into city parks and the subway, created high-tech graduate schools and grown its social media presence.6
Why they matter: Hoat has worked hard to bring the Big Apple into the digital age. Her critics, however, say that she’s not done enough to bring the Internet into lower-income households. In an October HuffPost profile, she recognizes that as something she can work on: “For her part, Haot acknowledges that more can be done to help low-income residents take advantage of City Hall's digital outreach. She said the city is considering a public awareness campaign to explain why the Internet is important.
“While that is useful, surveys show one of the largest barriers to Internet adoption is cost. Haot said by 2014 every New Yorker will be able to choose between Time Warner or Verizon for Internet service. That competition will keep down the cost of Internet access, she said.”6
Her other achievements include:
- Being named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2012.5
- Being chosen one of Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology” in 2011.3
- Being named one of Businessweek’s “Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs” in 2009.3
How they got where they are: Hoat’s experience in working at a startup in part led to her quick rise through the technological ranks. According to the HuffPost profile, “Some say her background has helped her be an effective liaison between the mayor's office and 20-somethings who spend their days writing code.”6
References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6