04 - February - 2012

My Week at the Polls

Post by Steph H
Ixis Service

There truly is never a dull moment at Ixis HQ and this week I have been taking part in an election process in a bid to be a director at large of the international Drupal Association board.

The Drupal Association is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping the open-source Drupal CMS project flourish. They help the community with funding, infrastructure, events, promotion and distribution.  I jumped at the chance to be involved in the process and I am delighted that I decided to.

My motivation for joining was to give something back to the community that has welcomed me so warmly and to use my experience of marketing, fundraising and business development to develop new opportunities for Drupal.

My overall vision is to drive forward Drupals promotion as a CMS of choice for business, government and public sector organisations. From my initial research, the UK Government is pushing for Open Source Systems and in particular Drupal for implementation across all local authority sites. I think this is a great time to become involved in pushing forward this agenda and proving the value.

I am also keen to promote Drupal due to my first hand experience that it can lead to job creation and training opportunities, which is of particular importance in this economic climate.

Finally, I am keen to encourage more diverse groups, particularly women into the Drupal community. This may be through promoting programming as an alternative career choice and develop more female leaders and management within the community. I felt “qualified” to get involved as I have taken a variety of advisory and Board member positions throughout my career.

The Association organised 2 “meetings” for members of the community to pose questions to the nominees and get to know each candidates ideas.  The first took place at 1am UK time along with representatives from Australia, Brazil, the US and China.  It was a perfect opportunity for us to share our vision for participation on the board and to hone our Q and A skills.  I wasn’t too sharp at that time of the morning but I was wide awake at the end of the call, my head was buzzing with ideas and full of enthusiasm. 

The second meeting took place the next afternoon so I was in the office surrounded by the Ixis giddy kippers keen to get in on the action!  I enjoyed the second call equally as we had a chance to meet more of the community and field additional questions. 

I’ve highlighted below some of the discussion points and my responses:

  1. How do we reach out to new members?
    It's hard to engage people who are not necessarily already involved. The key is to reach out, especially to women and more diverse groups.
  2. What are the barriers to accessing the community?
    Not having access to support groups is a huge barrier, as is the size of the network that developers can rely on.  In terms of developers finding leverage they've got access to within the community, marketing materials, wealth of community without access to the community we are just like any other software so this is a strength we need to better promote.
  3. What’s the Drupal Associations role?
    To harness and to promote the successes of Drupal and therefore allowing others to shine as well rather than instead of just focusing on specific shops/companies My role would be to support and encourage the community and promote what we can do together.  From my experience with working with smaller organisations and 1 man/woman bands, any access to learning and support is always great for small shops.
  4. What Key Skill Can I bring?
    My previous experience in marketing/fundraising is key here as is my understanding of client requirements and community needs and how to bridge those two - understanding of clients’ requirements, developers’ needs and how to bridge those.

Whilst I realise I might be considered relatively unknown in the Drupal community (despite meeting and greeting 1500 of the community at DrupalCon London last summer) I am grateful for an opportunity to present my perspective on how we can strengthen the board and the future of the association. 

I’ve also been bowled over by the other candidates who have shown enthusiasm and dedication as well as encouraging each other in the process.

Whatever comes out of this process and who ever is taken onto the board, I know that I will continue to be a Drupal evangelist and support the future of open source.

You can read the transcripts of the meetings and learn about all the candidates on the Drupal Association website.

Once you've an idea on who to vote for you can place your candidate preference on the voting form. After clicking through, you will be asked to rank each of the eligible voters, from 1st (top choice) to 10th (last choice).

Voting closes at Midnight Monday 6th February and you must already have a drupal.org username to vote.

Picture of Steph H

Steph H

Comments

Stephanie - it was great to meet you, and an honour to share the floor with you in these elections. Can "spend" more characters here than on twitter, so also wanted to respond to your tweet about being involved. It would be brilliant if all the nominees could find a way to participate and bring their ideas, enthusiasms and passion for participating in the Drupal Association to the table.

If the board ratifies the election, I'll certainly be reaching out to you for help. There's been vague talk of focusing on fundraising - and perhaps forming a committee to look at the feasibility of running a fundraising campaign separate from DA memberships and DrupalCon sponsorship to diversify income, and enable the DA to target key goals such as the improvements needed for Drupal.Org.

Your fundraising and marketing experience would be really valuable if that initiative goes ahead.

cheers
Donna

Donna

Thanks Donna, I'd really like to be involved where I can. Congratulations on the outcome, I think that you and Steve will be a real asset to the community through your roles.
Best wishes,
Steph

Steph H

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