Chief Innovation Officer
City of Riverside, CA
Lea Deesing serves as the Chief Innovation Officer for City of Riverside, California and the Executive Director of SmartRiverside, a nonprofit which aims to narrow the digital divide in her region by training at-risk youth to refurbish computers which are then offered at no cost to low income families.
She holds a Master’s in Public Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills and a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Systems from the University of Redlands, graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA and with Summa Cum Laude honors. Her professional experience includes 27 years within all areas of the Information Technology field with 16 years specific to local government. Prior to working in local government, Lea spent eight years at ESRI, the world leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Lea belongs to a number of professional organizations and advisory boards and has received national recognition for her articles on social media and other technology use within government. Lea also has served as the president for an arts-based nonprofit called the Art Alliance of Idyllwild, where her leadership led to a 25% increase in revenue and a 40% decrease in expenses during her two-year term.
Lea’s forté is team building; she motivates staff through a high-energy leadership style. Her goal is to build safe work environments whereby IT professionals are empowered and inspired to express their ideas and creativity to solve technical problems and create innovative solutions.