[Linux-aus] Nominating for President in 2018

Kathy Reid kathy at kathyreid.id.au
Tue Dec 5 13:03:29 AEDT 2017

Hi everyone,

I am nominating for President of Linux Australia in 2018.

Over 2017, I've been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to
lead a dedicated, professional, committed and high-performing team in
Council. As a team, we have had rigourous debate on a number of issues
internally, but have strived to provide a united face as the leadership
of Linux Australia, supported incredibly by several subcommittees.

We've delivered a number of key outcomes.

We've almost completed a rebrand of the organisation, the outputs of
which will then be applied to new web and membership systems next year,
if I'm re-elected. We've breathed new life into our Grants Programme,
which saw around $AUD 35k distributed to multiple worthwhile projects,
including Womens Wednesday's at Ballarat Hackerspace, sponsorship of
diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as VALA Tech Camp, and
cross-pollinating open source with other disciplines, such as with
bioinformatics - through STEMformatics. We've provided behind-the-scenes
support for a number of events - although our involvement has largely
been hands off - ensuring infrastructure like bank accounts and seed
funding are in place. We've welcomed Linux Users Victoria as a
subcommittee, helping to reduce their administrative overheads, and
focus on what they do best - bringing together the Linux and open source
community in Melbourne and surrounds. We've liaised and started to build
relationships with other relevant organisations in Australia and abroad
- such as through our WordPress MoU - although there is much work still
to do here. We've also done the boring administrivia that ensures our
established processes run smoothly - in building a pipeline for future
linux.conf.au and ensuring we do forward budget planning, that we have
insurance coverage, that we're complying with Fair Trading NSW law, and
that our bills are paid on time. We've also made strong efforts to
communicate our activities this year - providing space and opportunity
for feedback, criticism and dialogue. Thank you to those who have taken
that opportunity - while we may not have always solved an issue,
feedback helps us ensure we're in alignment with the wishes of the Linux
Australia community.

We've had our challenges.

Striking the balance between freedom of expression, and creating an
environment where *all* open source practitioners, developers and users
feel welcomed remains a challenge. Sometimes we get that balance right,
and sometimes we need to work harder to shift the pendulum. While we
have more diversity of genders attending Linux Australia events, this is
nowhere near parity. And our community is overwhelmingly white - which
is not reflective of the diversity in Australia - not just diversity of
ethnicity - but diversity of viewpoints, diversity of thinking,
diversity of approaches. Together we do better.  We're also challenged
by capacity. A 7-person volunteer Council puts in tens of hours per week
just to "keep things running" - one of the reasons that some of the
goals for this year have been delayed (web refresh and new member
database). We need to be realistic about what we can achieve with an
entirely voluntary leadership team, and a revenue model that is based
entirely on volunteer efforts. We do not want to see burnout in our
community or in Council.

Why me?

It would be easy to say "well, no-one else is silly enough to put up
their hand", but this would insult those whose steps I've followed -
Hugh, and Josh, and John, and James, and Stewart, and Jon, and Pia, and
Anand, and Terry. You shouldn't nominate me, or vote for me because
there's no one else. You should vote for me because you have confidence
in my ability to lead, and you believe in the direction I want to take
us in. If there are others with other directions and visions - great -
we benefit from a diversity of strategies, and the desire and drive to
fulfill them.

Where to?

Next year, I would like to continue the momentum we've built in 2017 -
running the Grants Program again, and continuing to refresh our aging
systems. I would like us to continue to foster relationships with other
technology organisations and identifying where we can work jointly on
issues that affect us, and effect greater change. We need to review
whether our name - Linux Australia - effectively captures what we do
now. And we need to continue to incrementally improve our operational
processes, and make things easier for those running events under our
umbrella - through templates, well documented procedures and so on. We
also need to be aware of the pipeline issue we face - we have fewer
younger and newer members, and we don't have strong methods for
attracting new members to our community. Those who survive and thrive
are those who can best adapt to change, and we need to evolve.

Full disclosure of interests:

  * I currently contract with Mycroft.AI, an open-source company
    specialising in natural language processing and artificial intelligence
  * I run my own microbusiness - kathyreid.com.au, where I contract in
    web development and data visualisation
  * I sit on two committees with G21 - the Geelong Regional Alliance
    (Education and Training and Economic Development)
  * I hold a BA in Indonesian and security studies, a BS in Information
    Systems and an MBA (Computing)

Kind regards,

Kathy Reid

Kathy Reid

       email: kathy at kathyreid.id.au
      mobile: 0418 130 636
     twitter: @kathyreid

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