Brett Goldstein

Former Director, Defense Digital Service
U.S. Department of Defense

Brett Goldstein is a disruptive innovator known for breaking bureaucratic silos across industries from the Department of Defense to Silicon Valley. He has provided counsel to Cabinet Secretaries and C suite executives in a variety of content areas, including national security, finance, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. He is also an advisor to several early and mid-stage start-ups. Throughout his career, Goldstein has served in a range of mission-driven leadership roles across government, the private sector, and academia. He is deeply committed to improving government through data and technology. Goldstein is a Pearson Institute Associate.

Goldstein began his technology career at OpenTable, where he helped grow the company from an early-stage startup to a multinational corporation. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he joined the Chicago Police Department where he earned the rank of Commander. He became a leader in Chicago’s municipal government, serving as the first municipal Chief Data Officer in the nation, and later assuming the position of the city’s Chief Information Officer. In these roles, Goldstein was critical in leading successful efforts to use data and technology to improve the lives of Chicago-area residents. To accomplish this, he established one of the premier analytics programs in the country, accelerating Chicago’s growth as a global hub of innovation and technology.

Goldstein previously  served as a Senior Fellow and Special Advisor for Urban Science at the University of Chicago, and as a Senior Advisor to the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts. He also held a fellow appointment at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

Goldstein also co-founded and served as Managing Partner of Ekistic Ventures, a venture capital fund dedicated to cultivating a portfolio of technology start-ups that bring new solutions to critical urban problems. Prior to his work at Ekistic, Goldstein served as the Chief Technology Officer of GCM Grosvenor, a global investment and advisory firm.

Most recently, Goldstein served as Special Advisor (HQE) to the United States Department of the Navy where he provided technical expertise on special projects, including overhauling the Navy’s personnel and manpower systems and infrastructure, developing data analytics and machine learning with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and using commercial technology and algorithms to improve force protection for service members in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.

Goldstein holds a master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Suffolk University. He earned his bachelor's degree in Government from Connecticut College. Goldstein has received numerous recognitions and awards, and is a sought after speaker in national and international forums.

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