Washington Department of Commerce names Lisa Heaton to lead digital equity work
New Managing Director of Broadband Equity will focus on community-led solutions to provide broadband access, affordability and digital literacy for all Washington residents
OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce has hired Lisa Heaton (she/her) to serve as Managing Director of Broadband Equity working in partnership with the Washington State Broadband Office. Heaton, a past recipient of the Governor’s Leadership in Management Award, brings a wealth of public service experience in school administration, education, outreach and community engagement.
“Lisa shares Commerce’s mission to strengthen communities,” said Commerce Director Mike Fong. “Her experience developing relationships and trust with community partners will be invaluable as the State Broadband Office continues work that will unlock once-in-a-generation federal investments to ensure all residents have broadband access and skills necessary to engage in the digital economy.”
“I am thrilled to lead the Broadband Equity team and collaborate with our State Broadband Office and the many other dedicated professionals statewide working to bring universal broadband access to Washington communities,” Heaton said. “Working with communities to shape meaningful partnerships, to listen and respond to their needs, is the essence of public service, and I am honored to be leading the team that is centering the perspectives of unserved and tribal communities to do just that.”
Heaton most recently served as Consumer Advocacy Program Manager at the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner and spent six years as Community Relations and Policy Manager at the state Department of Labor and Industries. She holds a Ph.D. in Development Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and studied abroad receiving her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Tarapacá Arica in Chile. Heaton was a lecturer in Political Science and a visiting assistant professor at Pacific Lutheran University. She begins her new role at the State Broadband Office on May 16 and will be based in the agency’s Olympia headquarters.
Working in collaboration with community partners, their broadband action teams, and state partners at the Office of Equity, Community Economic Revitalization Board, Public Works Board, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and others Heaton will build consensus to develop a transformational statewide digital equity plan. The 2023-2025 state biennial budget provides more than $230 million in new operating, capital and federal broadband funding.
Learn more about Commerce’s digital equity work at the Digital Equity Forum webpage.