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Member of the Week – Savi Swick

I had the opportunity to speak with Savi Swick who works for the Health and Human Services Agency for the County of San Diego. She is deeply engaged in many county initiatives to better serve the community. I appreciate the time she took to discuss her role and ambitions. Thank you Savi!

1. What is your role (what do you do) as Organizational Development Manager for County of San Diego?

With its 250+ programs and over 5,500 employees,
County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) provides a wide variety of services to San Diego County’s 3 million residents.

Working for an organization like HHSA, my role is also varied. To name a few, I administer the Agency’s stretch performance program, employee development programs such as the Job Shadow Program, provide consulting services on continuous improvement and business process re-engineering projects to HHSA’s regions and divisions, facilitate Agency-wide surveys on customer service and employee satisfaction, analyze worker’s compensation data and make recommendations for improvements in worker safety, develop and deliver training programs, manage projects for the Agency as well the HR Division, conduct strategic planning exercises, participate in various committees and taskforces ….etc. That’s what makes my job very interesting.

2. What are your current projects?

The biggest thing going on in HHSA right now is shaping its 10-year Health Strategy Agenda. This is a huge Agency-wide project with many subprojects and a number of phases. With this new Health Strategy Agenda, HHSA hopes to create an integrated service delivery system to better serve the communities of San Diego. I am excited to be involved in this process sometimes as a Project Manager and other times as a team member of its many projects.

I am also involved in a couple of tech projects that allow remote collaboration and service delivery in a virtual environment. Another project I’m working on is developing a comprehensive SharePoint site for HHSA’s HR Division. We are in the process of leaving our old intranet sites behind in favor of SharePoint sites.

3. What are the products you deliver, and what impacts have they produced?

Our products are programs aimed at employee development and engagement as well as web-based services. The Job Shadow Program is very popular among HHSA employees because it gives them an opportunity to preview Agency’s 5,500 some jobs, get the inside scoop and be prepared with the knowledge necessary to make the decision that is right for them. All of this is with the blessing of the executive management and while still in your current job. This year we featured 100 jobs available to preview. This is the third year that we rolled out this program with excellent feedback from employees.

We implemented a remote collaboration tool last year for conducting trainings and meetings. This tool has saved over $100k in staff time and mileage because we were able to offer live on-line training for one of our biggest mandatory trainings.

4. What data sources and types of data do you leverage?

I work with a variety of data with most of it being HR data. The sources of data also vary but almost always primary data and occasionally meta data. These are leveraged for workforce planning, performance management and program evaluation.

5. Are you pursing any data.gov sharing initiatives?

County of San Diego was definitely on the path to a more open government even before the OpenGov initiative became fashionable. OurGIS warehouse makes 245 layers of data available to the public. We are the only local government in the U.S. that updates its parcel data weekly. Our Land Use & Environment group is developing a Business Case Management System for its permitting system. This will allow builders to track the status of permits and how the County is charging for its services at each step of the process.

We have a searchable database of restaurant inspections is available on our web site. We provide interactivity through our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We also provide RSS feeds on several county topics, making our information accessible from news readers or other web sites. We stream board meetings online and provide video of past meetings indexed to agendas. These are just some of the ways that we share information with and engage the public.

6. What benefits have you realized by using GovLoop? Other forms of social media?

There is a lot of information out there that used to exist in the form of books, newspapers, TV and other media. Social media brings all of this together in one place in small bites (or big bites if you want to dig in). Same thing with GovLoop. There is so much valuable information here. Even more valuable is the opportunity to engage in a dialog/discourse with other public servants without having to go to a specific seminar or event. Those seminars and conferences are good but they are usually one time events where you may make connections with people but not necessarily sustain them. With a place like Govloop, you have the opportunity to make those connections and sustain them through continued discussions and participation anytime you want to at so many different levels. So it is very obvious isn’t it that I am a big fan of social media and GovLoop?

7. If you inherited $20 million (free and clear), but only had ten years to live, how would you spend your time? What would you like to accomplish?

I’m glad you clarified the “free and clear” part! Well, the first thing I would do, without a doubt, is to create trust funds for my two children, one million each. I would also give a million each for each of my three brothers and my husband’s three brothers. That is $8 million right there! I will also set aside a million to take care of my close friends and other family, paying off their mortgages and such.

With another $10 mil, I‘ve always dreamed of setting up a non-profit Foundation in my Mom and Dad’s name to provide basic education to the poorest kids in poorest parts of the world. My parents were teachers and they dedicated their lives to doing that making only $3.00 a month in today’s money! I will develop a team of dedicated individuals to run the Foundation after I’m gone in 10 years. I will invest the money judiciously so that the Foundation will be self sustaining. I’m sure a lot of my 10 years will be spent on managing this project.

With the left over $1 million, I will start going through my “bucket” list of making a trip to Antarctica, the Amazon, and all the other places that I want to visit, buy a good size boat and sail around the world – this will also be a gift to my husband. Then I will eat the best foods and drink the best wines and teas with my friends and family till it is my time to finally be no more!

How is that for dreaming?

8. What restaurant in San Diego serves the best fish tacos? What is your favorite local dish, and from where?

I’m sure other San Diegans will debate me on this but I like the Brigantine’s fried Cod taco. I also like Rubio’s fish tacos, still good and cheap!

I LOVE the crab cake sandwiches at Point Loma Seafood and also love the breakfast burrito at Nico’s Taco Shop on Morena Boulevard.

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Russell Caldarone

Excellent interview. As a former San Diegan, it’s was nice to see all the great things HHSA is in the community. I would be interested to learn more on how HHSA moved from the Intranet to SharePoint as a collaboration tool. How did you get employees on the SharePoint bus? Also, love the food at Point Loma Seafood!