Since September 2014, Rachel Harrison-Gordon has been serving as a Presidential Innovation Fellow with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where she has applied her passion for data analytics to instantiate efficient processes in Veterans Affairs programs, enabling those who serve our nation to receive the healthcare and benefits they deserve and need, and empowering employees to contribute valuably and effect change.
After observing the discrepancy between the intentions of the government and how it is perceived, Rachel focused on open data projects, wanting to facilitate transparency so citizens trust the institutions constructed to support them.
Previously, Rachel joined the Consumer Insight Group (CIG) at
The New York Times as the Manager of Mobile Analytics, where she extracted and distributed actionable, data-driven insights from complex data sets. She provided status updates regarding overall product strategy, user segments, cross-platform use, and app feature performance to the mobile product, marketing, and development teams, as well as to the newsroom. Rachel presenteds findings about how The Times’ audience consumes information across all platforms, and generated insights that facilitated decisions regarding future content.
Rachel served as a resource to the newsroom and advertising as they prepared for events including the Winter Olympics in Sochi. As the CIG's analytics lead for NYT Now, The Times’ newest addition to its product suite, she designed a series of key performance indicators, metrics that will be tracked and reported to assist key stakeholders in seizing new business opportunities.
Rachel Harrison-Gordon has always loved Legos. Throughout her childhood, she spent hours with her grandfather constructing vehicles, towers, and other unique buildings, eventually moving on to virtual construction with “Roller Coaster Tycoon.” Long before her physics classes at Kent Place School, she was building extreme amusement park rides on her Mac. Sometimes they crashed, but iterative design was part of the fun.
During the summer before her Junior year in high school, Rachel attended a program called “Principals of Engineering Design” organized by Johns Hopkins’ CTY program. This experience inspired her to pursue her Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Every element of the MEAM curriculum involved strategic dissection of a problem, and critical application of the experiences gained during class. These analytical skills were developed and put to use not only in her engineering classes, such as Advanced Calculus, Fluid Mechanics, and Thermodynamics, but also in an additional set of courses at Wharton, UPenn’s business school. Being able to view any problem as an equation, no matter how abstract, immensely impacted her success in her Engineering Entrepreneurship minor and career to date. Each curriculum also provided her with valuable experience in project management, as the majority of assignments involved team projects. Additionally, during her Advanced Entrepreneurship course, she was awarded "Best Presenter" by a panel composed of Professors, peers, and professionals involved in fields related to students' business plans.
After graduation, Rachel began working for SSI Health, a healthcare start up, building Electronic Health Record software for physicians to manage their patients’ records and comply with the new Health Care Act. EHRs enable doctors to practice more efficiently, spend more time with their patients than on paperwork, and help them to secure government incentives for converting to a paperless system. Rachel's critical thinking skills enabled her to examine and explore problems in creative ways to successfully configure the application to optimize user experience.
Rachel was actively recruited to join the newly created Mobile Solutions Team at Ipreo, a leading provider of high quality data, expert insight, and productivity solutions to Investment Banking and Corporate clients. She was responsible for creating the overall architecture, design, and layout of the new HTML5 mobile application, which leverages the valuable data, intelligence, and workflow solutions in Ipreo’s desktop product suite. She coordinated and collaborated with stakeholders across various divisions, including product managers and developers, to gather and prioritize business and client requirements, document functional specifications, and evaluate the feasibility of enhancements. Her Product Design and Manufacturing courses provided an awareness of the ergonomic needs her functional Axure prototypes should target, as well as the ability to ask the right questions to extract the most insightful client feedback.
Collectively, these experiences allowed Rachel to seamlessly transition from physical products to the digital space, and critically evaluate every task she is given. Practicing mathematical principles enabled Rachel to be versatile, and has inspired her to further her career by applying skills and experience in product design, project management, and needfinding to the world of digital media.
RACHEL HARRISON-GORDON /