Drupal Association blog: Experiences as an elected Board Director – Suzanne Dergacheva

It is that time of year again where we can all consider nominating ourselves for election to the board of the Drupal Association. But what does that mean? What could you expect to be involved in and what might you learn from the experience? We asked our current board members who were elected to tell us their own experiences, starting with Suzanne Dergacheva, elected in 2018:

Around a year ago, I was elected to the board of the Drupal Association. I had been on board before, and participated in community initiatives and event organizing. But I didn’t know exactly what to expect.

How much time does it take?

As a community board member, you’re probably already involved in a lot of community activities: organizing local events, working on initiatives in the community, and/or contributing code. And if anything, being on the board makes you more excited to push these activities forward. It’s hard to make time for everything, and of course it’s hard to know what to prioritize.

Being part of the board doesn’t mean that you can magically improve things. It takes time to move a large community forward. I’m used to being able to make decisions at the web agency that I run, and have them implemented in weeks and months. Because Drupal has such a large, contribution-driven community, making changes takes time. Your role is to come up with a strategy or plan that the association and community can act on.

There are different board committees with different responsibilities: I’ve been involved in the governance committee (creating a framework to support local Drupal communities), and the revenue committee (expanding the scope of the association so we can do more work). I’ve also worked on the Promote Drupal initiative to help organize volunteers to create the new Drupal Pitch Deck, and been part of talks about the new Drupal Event Organizers group.

What’s the best part about being on the board?

I’ve really enjoyed getting insights from others in the community – especially hearing ideas about how to grow the community. For example, I’ve loved being part of conversations about community building and being able to point people who want to contribute to the right place.

I’ve also learned a lot from being on the board from my fellow board members. They’re a diverse and multi-talented group, they ask great questions, and have really forward-thinking ideas.

What’s the Drupal Association doing?

Growing the community:

It’s a great time to be involved with the Drupal Association because it’s a forward-looking time. In the past, the scope of the Drupal Association has been organizing DrupalCon and running Drupal.org. Now, we have the role of brainstorming how to expand this scope. Providing more structure to local associations and events, Marketing Drupal, proving more member benefits, and developing products like Drupal Steward. The goal is to grow the community and provide the support/resources to grow the project. These are lofty goals for an open source project, especially since Drupal now finds itself competing with Adobe and WordPress, that have really different models.

As a board, we’re actively thinking of more ways that the Drupal Association can propel the community. These are the types of conversations we’re having.

Fostering the community:

One of the new responsibilities of the community-elected board members is being on the community working group review committee along with an external member. This was added recently as part of updating the community working group (CWG) charter, so that it can take advantage of resources and support from the Drupal Association. So far, we worked with CWG to facilitate leadership training at DrupalCon.

Thank you Suzanne! Well, does that help you know more about what it means? Will you consider nominating yourself? You can go right ahead and…

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