I’m excited at the chance to offer my candidacy for this year’s GNOME Foundation Board of Directors election. I wanted to share a bit more about myself, why I would be excited to take on this important work, and why I bring a unique background that I think could make a positive contribution.
My past has taken me through roles in engineering and large corporate IT, into serving the world through international charitable organizations like my most recent work at the United Nations Foundation, where I designed and ran its open source programs office to help international projects similar to GNOME on their journeys of sustainability. Having spent many years gaining understanding of the challenges faced by maintainers of large-scale public goods like GNOME’s software and community, and through my experience building and growing the OpenMRS medical records platform, I have a unique first-hand understanding where struggles lie for organizations like the GNOME Foundation, what approaches can work well, and what hasn’t worked so well in the past in building sustainable open technology communities.
During my daily & personal life, I’m happy to say that I use free software everywhere I can voluntarily do so and have been for a long time now. In fact, I first started using GNOME with version 2.0.2 back in 2002 with Linux Mandrake (now Mandriva Linux!), and our home fully runs Linux and non-corporate Android devices today.
In 2013, I accepted the Free Software Foundation’s annual Award for Projects of Social Benefit on behalf of our work on OpenMRS. Helping new people get involved in free software projects is also very important to me. For over a decade, I’ve been a mentor and organization admin in the Google Summer of Code program each year, and have also been a mentor and sponsor of Outreachy (formerly GNOME’s Outreach Program for Women) for many of those years too. I’ve spoken about free software projects and activities at small and large community event such as OSCON, CopyleftConf, Open Source Bridge, and FOSDEM’s main stage.
Currently, I sit on the project leadership team for LibreHealth, a small health-focused free software project community I co-founded. I was also chosen to serve on the inaugural Board of Directors cohort for F-Droid, the free software app store for Android, where I currently serve as the organization’s treasurer. I’ve also served on advisory boards for the Open Source Initiative and the Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSUOSL). I’m also the founder of and help run FLOSS.social, a small, focused Fediverse community for free software people and organizations. Financially, I’m proud to have spent the past many years as a Software Freedom Conservancy Supporter, Matrix·org Foundation Elliptic Supporter, and for several years a “Friend of GNOME” donor.
While I’m not yet on the rolls of GNOME Members, I’ve been a huge supporter of the project’s work for over 20 years, and have had the pleasure of working alongside many of you in our collective dedication to improving the quality and variety of free software that can benefit everyone, everywhere. You won’t find a person with more passion for championing everyday contributors in every corner of the world who find the motivation to step up to help lead this community in a variety of ways. I’ve never been the type of leader with a big ego that likes talking about “me”; I prefer to tell the story of “we”, shining the spotlight on talented emerging community members and helping ensure they can get the resources and support they need to reach their goals.
Practically, I can also offer the Board a wide and deep network of relationships with global donors in the humanitarian and international development world. While my past has not been directly as a fundraiser, I have built strong relationships with donors by seeking first to understand their goals and needs, and then advocating for potential free software-focused funding opportunities with their perspectives in mind. I currently have no corporate affiliations, and have no conflicts of interest in serving on the Board.
Regardless of the outcome of this election, I am very excited about where GNOME’s journey will lead, and look forward to getting to know more of you and offering my support in any way possible. Per election process, if you are a current member and would like to second my nomination in order to place me on the ballot, kindly reply to this post with your full name and e-mail used for your Foundation membership.
Thank you for your consideration, and more importantly, for your participation in such a great community!