Digital Services Coalition Elects First Board

In 2018, more than a dozen tech companies came together to form the Digital Services Coalition (DSC). In the 18 months since the DSC’s founding, the founding members developed an organizational mission that aims to change how the government delivers services using technology. The DSC’s leaders also created a set of values inspired by The Agile Manifesto.

“The Agile Manifesto was a real starting point for the agile movement and we feel the DSC’s vision and founding is a jumping off point for the next stage of the digital services movement,” said Fearless founder and DSC founding member Delali Dzirasa.

After guiding the founding of the DSC for 18 months, the Steering Committee is now transitioning leadership responsibilities to the newly-elected Board.

The committee consisted of: Dan Levenson (Agile Six), Delali Dzirasa (Fearless), Chris Cairns (Skylight), Brandy Morrison (STSI), Nic “Kayless” Wissman (Truss), and Zach Berke (Alternative — Exygy).

The Steering Committee worked hard to stand up the DSC and lay its foundation:

  • DSC Vision and Mission — By working together, the DSC will accelerate the government’s ability to implement services that focus on good usability, reliable technology, and accessibility for all.
  • DSC Manifesto — Adapted from The Agile Manifesto, the DSC manifesto embraces cross-company collaboration, transparency, efficiency, and delivery of service over delivery of a plan.
  • Branding and Website — The DSC’s digital presence promotes the coalition’s mission, supports branding with an online store, and highlights member organizations.
  • Legal Formation — The committee established the DSC’s bylaws, incorporation, and accounts.
  • Membership Criteria — The sixteen initial member firms have access to benefits that include internal teaming, networking and professional development, and placement on an approved vendor list for government and large business opportunities. Agencies interested in joining the DSC follow a phased membership criteria favoring small- and mid-sized businesses that provide services in the public sector.
  • DSC Formal Announcement — An announcement was issued on Medium heralding the DSC’s formation and mission.
  • Presiding over Board Elections — The recent elections process included candidate town halls and boasted 100% member participation in the election of new Board members. With sixteen initial member firms, regular elections will ensure board members will be rotated to lead the Coalition’s initiatives.

Brandy Hays Morrison, Vice President of Strategic Growth at STSI and Steering Committee member, says the election of new DSC Board members was “value focused and multifaceted.”

“The election and new Board infuses fresh perspective and skill sets into DSC’s strategic direction,” Morrison says. “We are transitioning leadership to a more formal Executive Board Structure, in support of the official incorporation as a 501(c)6 entity.”

The DSC Board welcomes four new members:

  • Sarah Ruggless, Vice President of Public Sector at Flexion — Prior to joining Flexion in 2011, Sarah spent twelve years supporting various local, state, and federal government initiatives focused on cost reduction and business process re-engineering, all for large corporations using mostly antiquated methods while making very little impact on the real issues.

“During my tenure at Flexion, I have been part of several technology and cultural transformation initiatives using iterative methods based on agility and have seen positive impact on organizations and their users.”

  • Jessi Bull, Growth and Strategy at Nava Public Benefit Corporation — Jessi is experienced in the complexity and nuance of digital service transformation and worked across federal, state, and local governments before joining Nava.

“I believe deeply in the transformative power of user-centered digital services and am excited by the potential of the Coalition to drive change in this critical space.”

  • Greg Gershman, CEO at Ad Hoc — Greg spent time as a Presidential Innovation Fellow and his drive to co-found Ad Hoc came out of his belief that small, smart teams of developers can improve how the government delivers services.

“The challenges experienced in the government today are not new ones. Their ability to infuse creative thinking, top talent, and modern technology have been met with more obstacles than successes. For every step forward in technology, there is often a corresponding challenge that holds it back. That is one of the driving forces for my involvement with technology in government.”

  • Eduardo Ortiz, CEO at &Partners — Eduardo is a Marine Corps veteran who has served his country in several war zones and continued to serve by delivering technology and digital services as part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the US Digital Service.

“I want to be that voice that amplifies others, that stepping stone for my colleagues who can’t reach the next step, a helping hand and a friendly smile. I’m willing to take the risk that others aren’t able to, because I believe in one another and I believe in our community and I believe that we are stronger together than by ourselves.”

Newly-elected DSC President and Board member Dan Levenson, Chief Strategy Officer with Agile Six, has served in a leadership position with the DSC since its founding in 2018. Dan’s continued service as President will provide stability through the Board’s transition.

“My background working within the business side of Government, and seeing the inner workings up close, drives my inner passion to confront the systematic challenges in an empathetic and purposeful way,” Levenson says. “I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with such a talented and diverse team, and am confident in our ability to continue to nurture the DSC into an increasingly powerful force for positive change.”

Supporting the newly-elected cohort is Corporate Secretary Marc Jones, In-house Counsel and Compliance Engineer at CivicActions. Jones has worked with free and open source software licensing as well as nonprofits dedicated to building a better digital future.

The Board members have staggered terms of two and three years, so the next partial election will be in 2021.

The new Board looks forward to increasing DSC’s role in the digital services ecosystem, leveraging the experiences of its membership to develop and promote best practices for agile, user-centered development and delivery, and continuing to promote open dialogue and shared learnings that support positive change within the public sector.

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We are a collection of agile technology and design firms that serve — or aspire to serve — the government. Change is hard.