In November of 2013 I cycled onto the Drupal Association Board. I was excited to be taking part in an organization that had supported the way I had chosen to make my living over the last few years. I knew many of the other board members quite well. The term was for one year - which seemed very short to me. I had worked with other Non-profits, on and with other Non-profit boards, and knew that one year was barely enough time to get up to speed. Still, there was opportunities for me to help steer the organization. Early on, I was involved in reworking the Association's Vision, Mission, and Values. Later, I helped update the bylaws to increase elected board member's terms to two years and at the same time, shifted the dates which elections were occurring. That is the reason my one year term has become closer to two and half. I also worked with the board to establish term limits on appointment members. There are lots of other things that I've been involved with over the last two and half years, but these shine out to me.
This year my term was due for expiration. I had hoped to extend my work with the Association by another two years. Let me share some numbers with you.
When deciding on Board Positions for a non-profit like the Drupal Association, I try to be as logical as I can in determining who might be the best choice. A focus on skills, experience, and board needs helps me winnow down the field. As we get closer to voting in the election, it seemed like I should underline my skill set using this lens.
- Has the candidate had experience working in the non-profit space?
- Has the candidate had board experience?
- Does the candidate have educational background that supports the board's needs?
- Does the candidate have work experience that supports the board's needs?
My background supports this.
- Board of Directors for Drupal Association
- Board of Directors for Crown Pointe Academy
- Policy Committee for Crown Pointe Academy
- 8 years of nonprofit management experience including grant making and board management
- 2 University programs in non-profit management - one certification and a Masters Degree
There are main three legal responsibilities for boards of nonprofits in the U.S. - the specific statutes vary a little from State to State.
The long and short is, if you are coming into a Board position with your own agenda, an axe to grind, and a desire to change the way things are being done, it will end up being an exercise in futility for both you and the rest of the team. No single Board member has any real "power", a board acts as a single unit to make strategic decisions. Once those decisions are made, they must speak as one even if personally you disagree with the decision made.
Still this gives you an idea of the nature of what is expected - just a taste.
I've described myself as a cuckoo. I was dropped into the nest of opensource folks 10 years ago, and ended up making it my family. I'm that fellow who took a different path in making a technology career. I think that describes a lot of us in the Drupal community though. My background is in Theatre and Visual Arts. However, I have a certification in non-profit management and my Master's focused on technology and governance.
This is the first in a series of posts I'm going to write leading up to the Drupal Association elections. I had a funny chat with a supporter a day or two ago. It went something like this:
So you thought, "I have too much free time. I need to become a board member." LOL You are a more patient person than me, good sir. You have my vote.
As you might know, I’ve been an elected At Large member of the Drupal Association board for the last two years. I’ve been chairing the Governance Committee. Some highlights of that work includes changes that implemented term limits for Board members, extension of the term for At Large member to two years, liaising with the community on issues they wanted to discuss, and a myriad of activities related to good governance.
I was challenged by my wife to post three things I am grateful for, each day for seven days. I did this on Facebook, but I thought it might be nice to post them all here. I am indeed lucky. So, here it goes in no specific order.
- I am grateful for books. My parents instilled me with a lifelong love of reading even though I wasn't supposed to learn to read or write. The extended to my working in a book store and eventually managing one.
- I am grateful for my family. I crossed international borders for grad school and stayed because of my amazing wife. We adopted an fabulous girl who blows my mind away. Every day I am with these amazing ladies, I marvel at how blessed I am. I can't even express how much I love them both.
- I am grateful my unbelievably brave sister Sean Mary Ann Saunders who completely amazed me two years ago in a conversation we had in her car. Once again she became a hero in my eyes. I adore her.
- I'm grateful for Drupal. It has kept me well employed for many years now. Who would have thought a little project dreamed up in a dorm room in Belgium would turn into such a phenomenon. Thanks Dries - I appreciate what you've put into the project and it is my honour and pleasure to be serving on the Association Board with you. It is my great privilege to work at Aten with great colleagues.
- I'm grateful for my kookie dogs. Felix, who runs back and forth under my legs when I'm putting my shoes and socks on. Fremont, who despite all odds keeps going and going. Seneca who is just the sweetest thing with such kindness. They are all good dogs.
- I'm grateful for my brother Alec, who has quietly influenced almost all of the positive choices I've made in my life. I probably wouldn't be a technologist if it weren't for him blazing the way before me. If I hadn't made that choice, I would likely have never met my wife and I wouldn't enjoy the prosperity I have found.
Apple, the Great Mimic
Apple is trying really hard to become the centre or hub of everything we do. To this end they have produced:
- Laptops and desktops
- Music players
- Tablet computers
- TV Streaming devices
- Music Retailer
- Smart watches
We're going to see them continue to try and penetrate all kinds of markets where digital devices can enhance how we interact in the world.
Apple started as a kit company. You would get the circuit board, but you needed to add a keyboard, case, and some kind of monitor. Apple has been a company that analyses the market and tries to figure out best how to duplicate and improve on existing models. I've experienced quite a few of those failed precursors myself that have later been leveraged by Apple in extremely smart ways. Think about the following...
This is the second post in my Making A Drupalcamp Happen series. I've been involved in camps for about 7 years and recently was the main project manager for Colorado. The first post was around tools, coordination and management. This post is really focused on tasks and when they need to be done to not go crazy.
There are certain things that need to happen every year. The earlier you can sort them out, the easier things will be as you approach the deadline of your event. So, I've listed some tasks below along with some rough timing and notes on some of the items. This is by no means an exhaustive list and the timing might be a little off on tasks, but I think it does give a sense of task, scope, and order.