Tye Hayes knows a thing or two about managing professional crises.
After her time in the Navy, Hayes spent the early part of her career at Lockheed Martin as the head of the Information Security Compliance and Governance group. After becoming a mom, the College Park native and Georgia State graduate said she decided to take a job with the Atlanta Public Schools as a Deputy Chief Information Officer in 2010.
2010 turned out to be a wild time for Hayes to start working in the local school system. A cheating scandal rocked the city when it was found that teachers and principals cheated on state-administered standardized tests, resulting in a dozen people going to trial in 2014.
“I left my good corporate paying job to walk into a fire. But, I will say it was probably some of the most rewarding work that I’ve done. I got to work under great leadership when the transition team… we launched some very transformational things out of that negativity,” Hayes told Hypepotamus.
As Deputy Chief Information Officer, Hayes and her team were tasked with turning the school system around and working through the investigation proceedings following the cheating scandal.
Hayes later started consulting with adjacent school districts on their digital transformation efforts, but ultimately found herself working on a very different type of crisis when the City of Atlanta came knocking at her door.
In 2018, the city went through one of the largest government ransomware attacks in American history. Hayes came in as the city’s Chief Technology Officer shortly after the attack, and stayed onboard while the city worked through COVID crisis.
She’s taking her work with local government and school systems with her on her latest entrepreneurial endeavor. Hayes recently re-launched her company, N-Ovate Business Solutions, a strategy and change management agency focusing on highly-regulated industries like the federal government, utility services, healthcare, and SLED (State, Local Government, and Education).
Government and education aren’t typically industries where the term “innovation” is top of mind. The reality, Hayes said, is that they are often working with legacy systems and have a ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ mentality.
“Maintaining and securing these legacy modern systems has become a risk to government….it’s very hard to build on,” Hayes told Hypepotamus.
Hayes says she works with N-Ovate clients with innovation strategies (think program governance, culture change, and operational agility work), technology services (cyber strategies, data transformation, and IT infrastructure work), and emergency preparedness (recovery, response, and resilience work). Recent clients outside of Atlanta include the Buffalo Public School system in New York.
The team has also recently launched a new practice to help sports and entertainment companies use their data to create more “customer centric” experiences.