The DSF Board elections – what about you?

I’m standing down from my position on the Django Software Foundation Board, having served for three years as the DSF’s Vice-President (it’s a nice role to have – but not nearly as grand as it sounds).

Unfortunately, people do in fact often think that being on the DSF board is somehow a grand role, an exclusive kind of position for exclusive people, or even that it’s only for people who somehow “deserve” to be Board members. Needless to say, that’s really not true.

Each one of the six Board members is there because:

  • they put themselves forward as a Board member
  • the DSF membership voted for them

In other words, they are Board members because other people felt they were suited to the role.

We do this each year, and each year we rely on members of our community to step forward in sufficient numbers as candidates, so that six of them can be selected.

Obviously, this only works if people put themselves forward. Less obviously, it only works well if the people who put themselves forward represent all of our community, and are not just ones who are already well-known and visible members of it.

In this respect, we’ve been moving in the right direction. Last year’s election had the biggest-ever number of candidates, and this year’s Board reflects a greater diversity.

We’d like to continue in that direction, by encouraging not just more people to consider standing for election, but also to encourage people who might not otherwise have thought they were qualified.

Could you be a useful Board member?

You need:

  • to be able to commit to administrative and clerical tasks, and work through things like grant requests, proposals, email messages and so on
  • to be able to participate in online meetings, sometimes – depending on your timezone – at unattractive hours
  • to be able to follow things up, even sometimes tedious ones
  • to be able to do what you said you were going to do
  • to be able to pay attention to the needs and concerns of the Django community and its stakeholders
  • to have the time and energy to do this (for at least a whole year).

You don’t need special skills, just ordinary ones, and to be able to apply them to the work that needs to be done. Nearly everyone has the skills needed.

Do you deserve the honour?

It is an honour to serve on the Board, and it’s a position of responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. But that doesn’t mean that it’s given as an honour, as a position that people earn, or deserve – it’s a job that they volunteer to take on, and anyone who is prepared to do what the job entails is as fit for it as anyone else.

You will find being voted in to a position helps dispel any doubts you might have about whether you “deserve” to be in. (Even the process of writing a short statement about yourself, why you’re standing and what you would like to achieve if elected can make a difference to how you feel about that.)

What is it like to be on the Board?

Please see the article I wrote last year: What it’s like to serve on the DSF Board (short version: it’s not very mysterious).

It’s your turn

I’ve enjoyed serving on the Board, and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity. Three years though is enough for me, and it will give me the chance to do some more of the other Django things I’ve been able to do less of since then.

As well as helping keep the ship on a steady course, I’ve been able to use the position to make a difference. This is reflected in for example the DSF’s sustained support for African Python and Django communities, and our recent call for proposals for the development of a Django Software Foundation membership management system. To be on the Board is to be in a position where you can help get things done.

I hope that there are many other people who also have ideas about things that should be done in the world of Django, and who are prepared to dedicate time and energy to them, and that they will consider putting themselves forward to serve on the Board.

Not everyone who stands will be elected – with only six places on the Board, most people won’t be. That shouldn’t stop you. It’s not a popularity contest, or a matter of being chosen for an honour. It’s being chosen to do a job, as a volunteer, and just the act of standing is already performing a service to the Django community.

Submit yourself as a candidate

You only have a couple of days left in which to submit yourself as a candidate – the form will be available only until the end of the 29th November.

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