Drupal Association blog: A Step in a New Direction. Farewell from Amanda Gonser.

When I joined the Drupal Association over 4 years ago, I didn’t ‘do Drupal’ and I didn’t have the faintest idea of what ‘the community’ was. These were things I read about in the job description for DrupalCon Coordinator, but didn’t mean anything to me yet. Now, as I prepare to leave Drupal – the Association, the community, the Con, the project – I can actually ‘do Drupal’ (albeit it on a Drupal 7 site, tsk tsk I know) and have such respect and care for the people that I have been lucky to work with from the community.

The journey from Point A to Point B, has been just that – a journey, with many steps in between.

My first DrupalCon was DrupalCon Los Angeles 2015 and it was full of firsts: the first time I met the Track Team who I had seen on the planning calls for months and who were surprised how short I was ‘in real life’; the first time I walked farther than a marathon in one single building; the first time I waltzed to the front of a session room to introduce myself to one of the many volunteer speakers to thank them for contributing; the first time I gained the understanding of how big, how passionate, how special this community was and how important DrupalCon was to all of them.

Since that Con, I have done my best to serve the community that makes Drupal so successful and special. There have been many volunteers, multiple Cons, too many emails to count, and a lot of smiles. As I prepare to step down from my role at the Drupal Association, there are many moments/projects that I am proud that we achieved together:

  • We’ve gone from not tracking diversity of our speakers at all to having our DrupalCon Seattle 2019 lineup be comprised of 50% speakers from underrepresented groups.
  • We held our first DrupalCon in India to serve an incredibly enthusiastic and growing community in what was one of my most memorable Cons ever.
  • We’ve taken the challenge of creating a sustainable and productive DrupalCon Europe and approached it with new eyes and ideas, to craft a new model that is community-driven and on course to be a great event to serve our European contributors.
  • We’ve continued to open our community to new and different audiences, working to create a welcoming environment along with relevant and compelling content for anyone who Drupal impacts- from the CTO to the content editor and marketer.

There are countless other moments that I also consider special – the hugs, the thank you notes that I’ve received, the inside jokes, the staff retreats, the volunteer dinners – thank you for those. In addition to the magic I have felt within our larger community, I also am grateful to the truly fantastic team at the Drupal Association who works to serve the community every single day; I am grateful to have worked with such talented, driven, and fun teammates.

My last day will be February 1, and between now and then I’ll be reaching out to all the volunteers involved in the upcoming event to put you in touch with the great team that will succeed me. I am more than confident that the Association, the community, and the project will continue to grow, change, and prosper. Thank you for letting me be part of that, it has been a true privilege to serve you.

In my time here, I learned that to do well in my job, I needed to do my best for all of you. So even though I won’t see you at DrupalCon Seattle 2019, imagine me whizzing by you at speed-walk pace with a smile, shouting lovingly at you to squeeze in the group picture, or receiving a handwritten card from me thanking you for contributing to the Con.