Former Veterans Affairs CIO LaVerne Council joins MITRE

LaVerne Council speaks at FedTalks 2016.

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LaVerne Council, who stepped down from her role as CIO of the Department of Veterans Affairs at the change of administrations, will join the MITRE Corporation to lead its Center for Connected Government.

Council will serve as senior vice president and general manager for the Center for Connected Government, which focuses on MITRE’s business with civilian agencies, the organization’s board of trustees announced Friday. She starts April 3.

Rather than returning to private industry, Council said she chose her new role at MITRE — a not-for-profit that operates federally funded research and development centers — over other offers “to bring what I’ve learned in private industry to the federal space and really help to make things better.”

“Rather than saying it’s frustrating or ‘it doesn’t pay this,’ I took the opportunity to look at what I should really be doing at this time in my career, how can I make the biggest difference for the American public?” she told FedScoop. “And how can I leverage what I learned during my time at the VA on the behalf of some other groups?”

Before her Senate confirmation as VA CIO in July 2015, Council was CEO of Council Advisory Services, LLC and chairwoman of the National Board of Trustees for the March of Dimes.

She sees this as an opportunity to continue the work toward “long-term sustainable change” she was part of at the VA.

“The MITRE opportunity stood out because the organization is really there to provide innovation and do things in a much more effective and efficient manner on behalf of the public and in support of those government agencies, so they can do their best. That felt more aligned to my values,” Council said. “I think there’s a time in your life where you just say, ‘Where are my values at? And what are the things that I can do that I’m going to be the proudest of?'”

The VA hasn’t appointed a CIO replacement since Council’s departure in January. Rob Thomas, who served as Council’s deputy assistant secretary for Office of Information & Technology’s Enterprise Program Management Office, has served as acting CIO in her vacancy.

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Department of Veterans Affairs, LaVerne Council, MITRE, VA