October 8, 2018

Michelle Riordan-Nold | Executive Director, Connecticut Data Collaborative

Michelle Riordan-Nold

The Connecticut Data Collaborative (CTData) was recently named the state's official data source for the 2020 U.S. Census, a feather in the cap of Executive Director Michelle Riordan-Nold, who's spent most of her career analyzing numbers.

Riordan-Nold has led CTData since 2014, and before that worked stints as a data analyst with the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, state legislature and Connecticut Hospital Association.

A math major from her undergrad days at Boston College, Riordan-Nold has a deep appreciation of studying numbers and solving problems. But, she says, in hindsight, it was always public policy and politics that drove her.

As the Census point-person, Riordan-Nold and CTData staffers will help the governor's office put together a committee that raises the public's awareness about the 2020 Census and disseminates the data once the Census is complete.

CTData is spearheading the 2020 Census in Connecticut. How did that come about?

Gov. Malloy designated our organization as the Census State Data Center partner, which means we help disseminate information and data produced by the Census Bureau between state and local governments and data users. Our role for Census 2020 will be to work closely with state government and the Census to ensure everyone is counted once, and only once in the right place.

In what industries do you think tracking data is most important?

All industries — private, government, and the nonprofit sectors. Every organization should be measuring their program effectiveness and trying to understand their impact by collecting and analyzing data.

How has access to data changed the way public policy is driven?

Access to data has helped improve service delivery and helped policymakers understand program effectiveness. We also have statistical techniques that can determine if different 'treatments' (i.e. delivery of services) work better for some individuals than others, as opposed to across the board everyone receiving the same type of government services.

What are the most important points about providing the public with access to data?

Data are a public asset and should be used to promote the social good.

Can you tell us something about yourself few people know?

I am an avid reader of nonfiction and like writing poetry.

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