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Budish Chief of Staff Sharon Sobol Jordan Departs to Join Unify Project


For more information, contact:
Cuyahoga County: Mary Louise Madigan (216) 698-2521
Unify Project: Jim Hickey (216) 978-0717 or Stephen McHale: (440) 725-0297

CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced today that Chief of Staff Sharon Sobol Jordan will depart to become the Chief Executive Officer of the Unify Project, a new startup which will initially leverage advanced technologies, including Big Data, machine learning and Blockchain, to unify socioeconomic data at scale. Her last day with the County will be February 23rd.

“Sharon is deeply passionate about moving our county forward. During her outstanding service as our Chief of Staff, she has made it her top priority to provide all of our residents with opportunities and hope for a better future,” said Budish. “The Unify Project is closely aligned with the county’s new strategic plan and directly responds to our need for better data solutions. While we are very disappointed to lose her, the county still will benefit from Sharon’s continuing efforts in her new role. Sharon is leaving us well-positioned to carry on with our great team, targeted strategy, clarity of purpose, and strong community relationships. I am so pleased that this tremendous opportunity for Sharon also will allow our partnership with her to continue. The County looks forward to continuing its support of the Unify Project.”

The Unify Project is on a fast-track to launch as a non-profit supporting organization to the county and other public and non-profit agencies and will officially kick-off in spring 2018. Founders of the Unify Project include Steve McHale and Charlie Lougheed, who previously created Explorys, which was acquired by IBM.

Jordan was appointed as Chief of Staff for Cuyahoga County by Budish at the beginning of his first term in January 2015. As Chief of Staff, Jordan led the County’s top team, directly supervised the cabinet officers, and served as chief strategy officer and policy advisor to the County Executive.

Budish and Jordan quickly formed a highly effective partnership. Jordan’s experience and relationships in the private, non-profit and public sectors complimented Budish’s strengths and were instrumental in their efforts to focus county government on driving change and delivering results. “Sharon provided the vision and drive we needed to expand our impact throughout the region by building upon the county’s excellent direct services and creating cross-sector partnerships,” Budish added. “With the support of a dedicated leadership team and staff, she has set us on a clear path to becoming a strong, innovative, results-driven government that operates on the belief that, in our county, everyone can thrive and all things are possible.”

Jordan often played a strategic leadership role to move priority initiatives forward for the county. Budish noted the following among Jordan’s key accomplishments:
  • First Enterprise-wide Strategic Plan: Drove the creation of the first enterprise-wide strategic plan for county government
  • Universal Pre-Kindergarten: Spearheaded effort to create a $23M public/private partnership to more than double the number of children in Cuyahoga County with access to high quality pre-kindergarten
  • Workforce System Transformation: Drove effort to co-create effective workforce system that meets the needs of career seekers and business. Transformation included convening key funders; achieving agreement on a workforce system transformation plan focused on sector partnerships, strong intermediaries and career pathways; and realigning and funding a new approach to workforce within county government that focuses on upward income mobility and career advancement for residents.
    • Innovation and Performance Office: Created one of the first county-level Innovation Offices in the nation through a public/private partnership with the Cleveland Foundation as part of a broader effort to support a county government culture that encourages innovation and strives for superior customer service
    • Budget that Reflects Priorities: Drove effort to ensure 2016-2017 biennium County budget reflected our strategic priorities, including new investments in expanding high quality pre-school, workforce development and reducing infant mortality

“I am extremely proud of our team and the many ways we have been able to bridge the opportunity gap that exists within our county,” said Jordan. “While there still is much work to be done, we are fortunate to have a County Executive, Council and leadership team that are focused on creating real, lasting, positive change through effective government in Cuyahoga County. I am looking forward to continuing our work together in my new role.”

Budish is expected to name Jordan’s successor shortly.