Kathleen Warner may have the longest job title in the world.
Warner, who spoke at TechfestNW Monday afternoon, is the Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the New York City Economic Development Corporation's Center for Economic Transformation.
Her position may seem dry and bureaucratic. But Warner's talk, "I'm From The Government and I'm Here To Innovate," aimed to prove those assumptions wrong.
"We've been told we can't [innovate]," Warner said. "That's not what government does."
She disagrees. Backed by a projected image of the musical Hamilton, Warner said that America was founded by "a crazy bunch of farmers and bankers and doctors who became revolutionaries."
"They did what entrepreneurs and innovators do," she said.
Warner took to the stage to discuss how her agency, roughly New York's equivalent of the Portland Development Commission, fosters innovation in America's biggest city.
Warner described her agency's philosophy on healthy growth, highlighting two pillars necessary for economic development: supporting strong neighborhoods and preparing people for cutting-edge careers.
As an illustration of these values, Warner discussed her agency's work fostering a tech corridor in Brooklyn.
Cities should attract and take advantage of foreign entrepreneurs and partner with educational institutions, the private sector, and other organizations, Warner said.
She argued it's also important for government to foster connections between different communities. In February, Warner's agency unveiled new efforts to connect health technology startups with the healthcare industry and funding.
"Look to other cities where other people are doing brilliant and wonderful things," Warner said. "We stole shamelessly from Portland."
Asked by WW editor and TechfestNW founder Mark Zusman if her agency was violating the philosophy that "government shouldn't pick winners and losers," Warner responded, "That's bullshit."
"We don't pick individual winners and losers," she said. "We pick industries."