TheBridge profile: Phaedra Chrousos
Name: Phaedra Chrousos
Current city: Washington, DC
Current job: Chief Strategy Officer for The Libra Group
Past job: Commissioner of the Technology Transformation Service for the Obama Administration
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? The Doyle, Dupont Circle
Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job. Being a political appointee with a mandate to change the way the federal government builds, buys, and uses technology taught me that inspiring and executing change has to be treated as a team sport or it just won’t stand the test of time. That certainly remains true in my role as Chief Strategy Officer of the Libra Group today.
Q. Job advice in three words? Plan in pencil.
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech / innovation and regulation? I stay involved in the intersection of tech and gov as a board member of Dcode. They’re building out the bridge between tech and gov from both sides by running a stage-agnostic accelerator for technology companies that want to work with the government as well as a training program for government executives that want to deploy emerging technologies.
Q. What can innovators learn from policymakers? Move intentionally and fix things. Too many technology platforms have been built without enough thought as to how their impact might play out in the rest of the country or the world. We can’t stop progress, but we should try and mitigate any negative consequences up front.
Q. What can policymakers learn from innovators? Move faster and embrace failure - after all, failure is still a data point. The culture of the federal government is very risk-averse. While that keeps the trains running, it’s not optimal when you have to invent and adapt to the next mode of transport.
Q. Favorite book/podcast/long-form article you recommend? I’ve been listening to Reid Hoffman’s podcast, Masters of Scale, on my walk to work and it’s a great way to start the day.
Q. Living person you admire? My mom - she’s a badass surgeon who raised three kids and managed to make it all look easy.
Q. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself in the beginning of your career? I would have told myself to stop trying to plan the future. The best and most important parts of my career (and life) to date have been completely unplanned and unexpected.
Q. What's one piece of advice you are still trying to master? I’m still trying to master the art of being patient.
Q. Favorite under the radar company? My favorite under the radar company is Hangar, which recently launched a fund that’s focused on building companies that have the potential for public impact at scale. Over the last 12 months, Hangar has worked with talented founding teams to launch mission-driven product companies in healthcare, disaster response, and mobile data intelligence.
Q. Most underrated virtue in an employee? Hustle. Almost everything else can be learned.
Q. Favorite app? My favorite app is Asana, a platform for team-based work. I’ve convinced everyone around me to use it, including my husband. I can’t wait to assign tasks to my kids on it one day.
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