Brenna Berman is executive director of the City Digital initiative at UI Labs in Goose Island and previous chief information officer of the city of Chicago.
Berman’s role at UI Labs was announced in May 2017, when she said she aims to build new partnerships for the nonprofit initiative, including with large corporations, startups and other nonprofit groups. City Digital already counts Microsoft, the Illinois Institute of Technology and the city of Chicago as partners.
She will also oversee and expand the number of smart urban infrastructure pilot projects run by the organization. The group has used Chicago as a testing ground for previous efforts, including two projects in 2016: 3-D mapping the city’s underground infrastructure and monitoring smart green infrastructure.
Berman joined the Emanuel administration in 2011 as Deputy Budget Director before transitioning into a role as Commissioner and CIO of the Department of Innovation and Technology. As CIO, Berman oversaw efforts such as building Chicago’s open data program and an urban and environmental sensing project called the Array of Things.
She built a career in government innovation at IBM. During her 10-year tenure, she worked with government agencies to use technology and analytics as tools for improving services for residents.
Berman was named to the board of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, which runs 1871, in early 2015.
She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in public policy. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two sons.