LaVerne H. Council is the assistant secretary for information and technology and the chief information officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs. There she oversees the VA's $4 billion IT budget and more than 8,000 employees and 8,000 contractors.
Council, who spent years in the private sector, including serving as the first Global CIO at Johnson & Johnson, joined the administration in 2015 to help upgrade the VA's internal systems and improve services for veterans. She talked about her government experiences and her leadership philosophy with Tom Fox, a guest writer for On Leadership and the vice president for leadership and innovation at the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: What motivated you to come to work for the federal government--and the VA in particular--after many years in the private sector?
A: I got a call from the White House saying: You've probably read about the VA's problems in the news, would you be interested in a presidential appointment to address some of these issues?
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