Jie Wu is the Interim Director of the Program Planning & Innovation division. The division provides program planning with a focus on innovation, community insights, program evaluation and analytics, and policy advising to advance equity and economic opportunity in Harris County.
Jie has more than 15 years of experience in research and nonprofit management. Prior to joining DEEO, she oversaw data initiatives and a portfolio of research projects at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research and has published a series of reports on survey findings, economic mobility, community resilience and urban inequality issues. Jie earned all but her dissertation towards a doctorate in economics and her M.A. in economics from Rice University.
Dr. Paula Cecilia Pineda is the Assistant Director of ARPA Initiatives. In this role, she leads DEEO's efforts to optimize federal funding and provide inclusive economic development assistance via small business and workforce development strategies. A mission-minded, innovative, and strategic leader, Dr. Pineda is committed to extending economic opportunity to empower under-resourced communities and address inequality.
As a scholar of ethnic identity, ethnic conflict, and decentralization institutions, Dr. Pineda draws on her research background and interests to design programming and policy that addresses structural inequalities. An excellent communicator, Dr. Pineda has presented on identity, ethnicity, institutional design, and inclusive policy design across the US, UN-partnered initiatives, and abroad at the Hague, Iraq, Ecuador, and Turkey.
In her previous roles, Dr. Pineda led various workforce development and small business development efforts with the City of Houston, including work with partners such as Meta (Facebook) and federally-funded small business programming for Hurricane Harvey recovery.
Bryonne (Bree) Cummings is the Assistant Director, Policy & Special Projects. Her responsibilities focus on driving equity and inclusive economic growth in communities that experience disparities and disinvestment in Harris County through policy. She is a skilled operations professional and is experienced in analyzing existing business processes and implementing improvements to simplify the experience and drive efficiencies.
Bree has served in entities championing employment work programs and has extensive experience in the Kansas City government, where she worked in both juvenile and adult diversion programs. As an Auditor for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, she found her calling as an efficiency champion, ensuring compliance with guidelines and optimizing processes for organizational value. She began her tenure in Harris County managing a historic misdemeanor bail reform project in 2020.
Bree has a Master's in Organizational Development Psychology, a Graduate Project Management Certificate, and a Bachelor's in Psychology.