Firstly, I want to amplify the statement of Support for Ukraine that the Drupal Association sent last week. My heart is with the Ukrainian Drupal community, friends, colleagues and family #PrayForUkraine.
The Drupal Association is the non-profit organisation focused on accelerating Drupal, fostering the growth of the Drupal community, and supporting the project’s vision to create a safe, secure, and open web for everyone.
One of the main purposes of the Drupal Association is to organise DrupalCon events around the world. Events are essential for the community and are also a vital source of revenue to finance the hosting and maintenance of the Drupal infrastructure. Then the pandemic happened so fast, which meant we had to reinvent how we organise events and how we raise funds. It was not a small task for a rather small team at the Drupal Association who worked hard (but smart) to get through these challenging times. Big #Drupalthanks to everyone at the Drupal Association.
On February 22nd, I accepted the nomination as the new Chair of the Board of Directors of the Drupal Association.
I want to thank Audra Martin-Merrick, who has been the Chair for the past 18 months, for her great work in the role. In 2018, Audra and I were nominated as new board members, and while working together, we have become friends. I have learned a lot from Audra, and we will miss her advice and guidance within the board’s work.
This transition is happening six months sooner than expected as the board term typically ends at the end of October. This accelerated transition allows me to oversee the search for a new Executive Director following Heather Rocker’s recent decision to take a new job. She will join Amazon’s Alexa AI team to scale their academic-industry collaborations with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Heather’s last day at the Drupal Association is on March 11th.
Heather started as the Executive Director in 2019. I was involved in the search committee and interviewed her. I remember her strong background of leadership in technology and the nonprofit sector. Heather was the first executive director of the Women in Technology Foundation and the CEO of Girls Incorporated of Greater Atlanta. Since her first day, Heather has led the organisation through some challenging times and always found an answer to all the unexpected challenges that came our way.
We can probably all agree that her job description didn’t include words like “pandemic,” “covid-19,” and “coronavirus,” but that didn’t matter. Together with the strong leadership team, she always found a way to make sure the Drupal Community thrives and that we have a stable infrastructure.
Personally, I’ve worked very closely with Heather, especially regarding all matters related to DrupalCon Europe and the local associations. My personal highlight is how she executed the #DrupalCares campaign, which secured funding for the Association so the staff could focus on their most important tasks.
Heather will be missed at the organisation, and I’m very grateful for her great work. I wish her all the best at her new job at Amazon, and I’m confident that we will continue to hear more from her in the future.
As a result of the good work of Heather, Audra, and all the staff of the Drupal Association, we managed to come out of the pandemic situation stronger than ever before. The Drupal Association is well funded, the infrastructure is stable, we can successfully execute online and in-person events, and we can focus on our other important strategic initiatives.
While transitions of key roles like this are always complicated, the board will start the process of hiring a new executive director immediately. In the meantime, the Chief Finance + Operations Officer, Angie Sabin, has been appointed as the Acting Executive Director of the Drupal Association. Together with Tim Lehnen, the Chief Technology Officer, and Ashlee Noland, the Chief Development Officer, she will lead the team until the new Executive Director has been appointed.
I’m confident that the organisation is in good hands. I’m looking forward to seeing part of the community again in person at DrupalCon North America in Portland, which takes place on the 25th – 28th of April.