Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Jade Borgeson

Jade Borgeson, MPA ’16

Office of Governor Gina Raimondo, Providence, Rhode Island*
Policy Advisor to the Governor
Hometown: Plymouth, Massachusetts

How are you applying the skills you learned in the MPA program?

After my time at Brown, I was fortunate enough to immediately find a role in state government here in Rhode Island. I took on a role directly under the 2016-17 Department of Revenue Director, and was able to later parlay my experience into a position in our executive branch. I currently serve as a policy advisor to Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo. In my role, I oversee key policy initiatives and advise on policy developments relating to business regulation, commerce, revenue, and transportation. I convene key stakeholders – state agencies, interest groups, nonprofit organizations, business leaders, community leaders and others – to discuss how to implement more effective policies, oversee key initiatives, maintain liaison with departments and agencies, and produce policy recommendations to support the Governor’s agenda.

The skills I gained through the data-driven policy specialization help me to objectively evaluate both operational and policy decisions and recommend policy priorities that measurably impact Rhode Islanders. I apply analytical rigor to my decision making. A solid foundation in quantitative analysis has enabled me to have more meaningful conversations about government performance, data acquisition, and the findings of statistical reports, actuarial analyses, and technology audits.

The MPA program also provided me with a network of peers working in a wide array of policy fields and contexts, who I can consult on subject matter specific issues as needed.

How did your consultancy help you in landing your current job?

During my consultancy with the Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab (RIIPL), I conducted research to develop a set of policy recommendations to improve the utilization rate of the State of Rhode Island’s social programs to benefit low-income mothers and their children. The consultancy program served as a training ground for me to learn how to apply cost-benefit analysis, behavioral economics, data analytics, and survey design to the issues faced by this population within the State agency context.

Given my experiences with RIIPL, a joint venture between Brown and the Office of the Governor of Rhode Island that embraces data and science-driven policy making, I now understand government agencies’ constraints in advancing their policies and can offer practical recommendations that utilize advanced analytical practices to meet various stakeholders’ needs.

How does your work contribute to the Common Good?

Government enshrines the core values of the community; in my day-to-day work, I make sure the right connections are made within government to advance the types of policies that will help Rhode Islanders achieve their goals. The Governor’s policy staff is tasked with translating public priorities into actionable policy, and concrete results. With my experience in data analytics and program evaluation from the MPA program, I’ve been able to take what historically were the best practices of academics and business executives and apply that same level of rigor to decision making within government. It is rewarding work, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to apply these skills to it.

-November 2017

*Jade Borgeson is currently chief of staff, Rhode Island Department of Revenue