Atefeh Riazi

Atefeh Riazi knows the value of education. Currently the Acting General Manager and Chief Information Officer of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), Riazi’s sharp as a tack with her electrical engineering degree from Stony Brook University. She’s been recognized as one of the top 100 global CIOs in the world, and is dedicated to bringing Information Technology (IT) to the rest of the world.

Through her work at NYCHA, Atefeh Riazi is helping bridge the digital divide through programs like NYCHA’s Digital Vans, which provide residents with free WiFi and computers to use for school, work, or just for fun. She knows that technology is vital in today’s world and recognizes that not all of NYCHA’s residents are lucky enough to have access.

“I’ve never seen a seven-year-old do homework on a cellphone,” she said while discussing the Digital Vans project. While many residents may have cell phone access to the Internet, functionality is limited.

And while New York City and NYCHA is a hefty goal to take on for bridging a digital divide, Atefeh Riazi doesn’t stop there. She’s also heavily involved in the nonprofit CIOs Without Borders (CWB), which she founded and is Executive Director of.

CWB’s aim is to provide IT to developing countries to promote better health practices and the prevention of disease and sickness. She believes that by educating these communities and providing them with the basic tool of knowledge, we can change the world for the better. CWB currently has two active projects—one in Rwanda and another in Vietnam. More projects are planned for the coming years.