Read about Christina Goodness

Special Assistant to the Chief Information Technology Officer
Office of Information and Communications Technology


What brought you to a career in technology at the United Nations?

I had always been interested in working for the United Nations but was well-paid in the private sector and without a second degree. Then 9-11 happened. I was one of many who were re-motivated to apply their skills to the greater good. I went back to school to improve my skills in systems focused on knowledge learning and intelligence building. During grad school, a schoolmate circulated a notice for a Temporary Job Opening in the then-Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and away I went. There have been many ups and downs, but I remain motivated to play my small part—leveraging the Organization to improve the world for people and planet.


What has been your favorite IT project at the United Nations and what was your technical contribution?

There are so many. It's hard to choose! From my very first project creating a policy and best practices database in peacekeeping in 2004, to recent work creating the Peace and Security Data Hub ( But close to my heart are projects that helped respond to a crisis. I worked on the Haiti response in 2010, a chemical weapons response with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in 2013, and the Ebola response in 2014. But perhaps my very favorite was the COVID-19 Data Reporting System for the peace and security pillar in 2020. With a highly motivated, small but multidisciplinary team, we built a data reporting system to connect 42-plus field missions and capacities to have visibility of their COVID needs. So, near-real time reporting on PPEs, ventilators, COVID cases, mandate and political aspects, and key safety metrics like sleeping arrangements for uniformed troops. We built the system in 10 days, and improved it in iterative cycles drawing on the O365 suite, including PowerApps, SharePoint Lists, Flow, Azure SQL, MS Reporting Services, Adobe Acrobat and PowerBI. Interoperability was key. Once we defined the data, roles and process, because all the components were in a interoperable environment, we could create any number of specialized dashboards, reports, or other outputs, based on a common, standardized near-real time data and stored in a modern secure cloud platform. I was very proud of the team and the work done. I know it made a difference, especially to the safety checks of troops, and we did see a drop in major outbreaks after the monitoring reports started flowing. This was the first time a live monitoring system for crisis data in the peace and security pillar was put in place to encapsulate a cross-cutting set of concerns, not just focused on fuel or rations or locations, but on political aspects, logistics, human resources and more. The experience was empowering and inspiring, despite the situation itself being pretty dire. It showed me that the tool sets we have now can be used for immediate impact using an agile and iterative approach, and that a multi-disciplinary team, or "fusion team" can get a lot done very quickly. I will always remember those late nights and weekends!


What advice would you give women interested in pursuing a field in technology?

Three things. First, never give up: on the work, on others, and on yourself, in the pursuit of excellence. The factors for your success may not always be clear to you, including your own or others' bias. But trust your instincts, and don't be afraid to seek help and guidance while trusting your own judgement. You will make errors, but learn as fast as you can and improve. Second, take the time for self-care and compassion. The slings and arrows of life have an effect on everyone, and you will only do as good as you are healthy, both physically and mentally. Take care of yourself as if you were your own child! Treat yourself kindly, whether that means taking a walk, a vacation, the extra course to improve skills, or a timeout. Also, compassion for others always pays off. We may perceive that others are barriers within the bureaucracy, but they may also be going through issues in their own office, their own lives. Compassion is a good investment and saying a supportive word about other women in a group, or passing the mic to another woman, are great ways to not just feel compassion but show it. Finally, technology continues to speed us towards an unknown future. Keep up to date. A mantra of the early founders of Silicon Valley was "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish". Maybe this could be updated for women as "Stay Curious, Stay Open." If we keep our minds open to the continual change that is happening, we can adapt better, and, thereby, help the UN stay innovative and alive. Brian Urquhart, one of founding civil servants of the UN, noted the UN was an innovation itself when it was founded, along with peacekeeping, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and all the UN capacities and bodies. We can keep that spirit alive by keeping our minds open to change.