Jody Lusby, the new chair of Customer Impact Committee (CIC) is enjoying her first year as head of FI$Cal’s primary customer representative group. “I’m really getting an opportunity to meet folks from other departments, hear their concerns, find out where they are struggling and also learn what’s working for them, what’s going well,” she said.

The increased engagement is right in line with Lusby’s goal for the CIC moving forward. She is committed to creating a format for increased communication and collaboration for departments to engage with one another and share issues as well as solutions.

Lusby, who assumed the chair from California Military Department’s Brigadier General Robert Spano in January, is assistant director of administrative services at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). She served as vice-chair of the CIC for two years and also leads the CIC’s robotic process automation working group. She has spent 20 years in state government, much of it in accounting and budgeting and 17 years of it with CDFA.

“My main goal is to get more departments engaged and communicating with each other. We have 151 departments in the system and we have 151 silos,” Lusby said, “But if we can have those departments working together and sharing their ideas, we can find efficiencies and solutions that can help everyone.”

Soon after she took over as chair, Lusby became concerned about the lack of engagement from attendees at the bi-monthly CIC meetings. She saw it as an indicator of a larger issue of lack of engagement between departments using the FI$Cal system. With most people teleworking and few opportunities for face-to-face meetings, she worried that end users were going to the FI$Cal Service Center when they had problems instead of engaging with other users.

To address this issue, Lusby created the “Lessons Learned/Best Practices” forum which she held on June 9. The meeting was a place for users to share lessons they learned or efficiencies they realized during the FI$Cal implementation. It was also a place for users to share struggles they were facing and ideas they had to resolve these issues.

The meeting was a great success with departments sharing information, pointing out their concerns and offering up solutions they found along the way. Lusby received a lot of positive feedback and plans another forum on September 8, right after Labor Day. “Hopefully, with everyone right at the cusp of knocking out their year-end-close, it will be a good opportunity for more collaboration and problem-solving,” Lusby said.

Moving forward, Lusby also wants to increase the attendance at the bi-monthly CIC meetings by inviting department representatives to attend the meetings as non-voting members. Currently, only agency representatives attend the meetings, but Lusby would like to invite departments to send representatives to broaden the number and variety of voices the CIC is hearing from.

The CIC was created to act as the primary customer representative to the FI$Cal Steering Committee for all departments. It partners with the Steering Committee as a leadership group to provide a formal mechanism for departments and agencies to express their views and receive information from the FI$Cal project team, provide broad input and advice to the Steering Committee and promote effective representation of department needs during the entire life cycle of the FI$Cal project.