Interim Chief Information Officer for the City of Memphis
Usually, when we speak with a leader in the field of technology or cybersecurity, the underlying motivations are ultimately profit and market share. Yet when I speak with Augustine Boateng, Interim Chief Information Officer for the City of Memphis, it is a dedication to public service that shines through.
There is no CEO or board of directors here; just a mayor, and the taxpayers who elect him. “Public servants are in this line of work for the love of the job,” Boateng tells me from his office inside City Hall. “It’s the sense of seeing your accomplishments, and knowing that I am helping somebody even if they don’t themselves know it.”
A background in systems security
Memphis is home for Boateng – but an adopted home. Originally from Ghana, he emigrated to the United States in 2012 after marrying an American. He first joined the City of Memphis as a Linux systems administrator before getting the chance to move into information security, and securing the role of Interim Chief Information Officer in February 2022.
His go-out-and-get-it mentality is reminiscent of the much-storied American dream, where anybody can prosper in their chosen field so long as they have the requisite passion, determination and enthusiasm. He admits he was not experienced in leadership when he got his first management role, but he took it upon himself to study and observe other people leaders around him at the time.
He was later offered the chance to fill the Interim Chief Information Officer role for the city government, at which point he undertook several leadership courses in order to make the step up. In this role, he is in charge of the applications team, enterprise applications, IT operations, and the information security departments for the City of Memphis.
“It’s been a really exciting journey,” he tells us from his office inside City Hall. “It's been challenging, but it's been really cool to learn new cultures and new ways of doing stuff, and then be able to show the talent and experience you bring along from years of practice.”
Good people and the best BBQ in the world
Boateng’s adopted home city is an interesting place on Earth to find yourself; straddling the Mississippi river on Tennessee’s western border with Arkansas, it is the 28th largest in the United States and second only in state terms to the capital Nashville. The city is preparing to welcome a US$5bn electric car plant in the next two years, and already has the world’s second busiest cargo airport thanks to FedEx’ huge presence.
A vibrant city of more than 620,000 people, it is world-renowned for its music culture, helping to launch the career of celebrated recording artists like Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Al Green, B. B. King, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
It also played a significant role in America’s civil rights movement. The vibe of the city, which today is more than 60% African-American, has long been shaped by black culture. In 1968, black workers from the city’s Department of Public Works striked in hope of better pay and conditions; they attracted the support of Martin Luther King, who, on a visit to the city, was tragically assassinated later that same year.
But it is not the music, nor the city’s fight for equality, that speak most to Boateng’s imagination. “Memphis has people who are so committed to their city,” he says. “They have a love for their city, a love for what their city stands for, and they just want the city to do even better. I go to places and I see strangers meet and then become friends. It’s like a whole village of people just enjoying being with each other.
“And we do have the best barbecue in the world!”
Read the full story HERE.
We’ve built some unique features into our insurance program specifically because we’ve listened to courier partners in every country