Adita Karkera


This year’s Data Leader of the Year has over 19 years of experience working with complex heterogeneous data systems for the Arkansas public sector. Often being the only woman in the room has not deterred her passion for continuously facilitating and presenting research on best practices and new technologies for responsible data science. This work adds efficiency and improves the effectiveness of government programs/policies using evidence-based decision making. As the Deputy CDO, she is focused on fostering cross-sector data sharing and data interoperability, developing data related policies and coordinates the activities of the state Data & Transparency Panel (DTP).

Adita Karkera constantly focuses on furthering the use of data for better public services and for improving the quality of life for our citizens. She led the Arkansas team to bring together the criminal justice and mental health communities of the state to bridge the gaps in data sharing and integration, to benefit the Crisis Stabilization Units. She is also responsible for creating a unified longitudinal system that links existing silo education and workforce agency information to provide insights into our evolving economy, to the DTP.  Additionally, in an effort to further data awareness at agency levels, Adita proposed the concept of “Agency Data Officers” (ADO). 

Today there are over 15 ADOs identified across state government and these ADOs have been brought together to create a State Data Governance Steering Committee focused on creating data sharing policies, a data quality program and a framework for compliant and secure data integration of data. Adita and the team have clearly been hard at work and she is recognised as an exemplary example of leadership for women in IT and STEM. 


Adita Karkera has over 20 years’ experience in information technology. Karkera currently serves as a committed deputy chief data officer for the state of Arkansas pioneering a data driven culture in the state. Karkera’s emphasis for advancing data sharing and spearheading initiatives to improve the effectiveness of government programs and decision-making has sculpted her into a principal expert and passionate state leader in data management. Karkera is currently pursuing PhD in Information Quality from the University of Arkansas.