Drupal Association blog: Being an At-Large Board Member for the Drupal Association – What Does That Mean?

We now know the list of candidates that form the election for the next At-Large Drupal Association Board member. Voting is now open until 16 August, 2019 and everyone who has used their Drupal.org account in the last year is eligible to vote. You do not need to have a Drupal Association Membership.

Cast your vote

Ryan speaking to Drupal Camp London about prioritizing giving back in Drupal. - photo Paul Johnson
Ryan speaking to Drupal Camp London about prioritizing giving back in Drupal. – photo Paul Johnson

To help everyone understand how an At-Large Director serves the Drupal community, we asked Ryan Szrama, currently serving as one of two community-elected board members, to share about his experience in the role.

I was elected to the board in 2017. While it would be my first time serving on a non-profit board, my personal and professional goals were closely aligned with the mission of the Drupal Association. I was happy to serve in whatever capacity would best advance that mission: uniting a global open source community to build, secure, and promote Drupal.

You’d been a contributor to the project for over 10 years by that point. How do you think your experience in the community shaped your time on the board?

Indeed! I’d been developing Ubercart since 2006 and Drupal Commerce since 2010. I had more Drupal development experience than most folks, helping me understand just how important the Association’s leadership of DrupalCon and Drupal.org are to our development efforts. The year before joining the board, I also transitioned into a business leadership role, acquiring Commerce Guys in its split from Platform.sh. This exposed me to a whole new set of concerns related to financial management, marketing, sponsorship, etc. that Drupal company owners encounter in their business with the Association.

While the Association is led day-to-day by an Executive Director (Megan Sanicki when I joined, now Heather Rocker), the board is responsible for setting the strategic vision of the organization and managing its affairs through various committees. Most of our board meetings involve reports on things like finances, business performance, staff and recruitment, etc., but we often have strategic topics to discuss – especially at our two annual retreats. My experience as a long-time contributor turned business owner gave me confidence to speak to such topics as Drupal.org improvements, DrupalCon programming, community governance, and more.

What’s the Association up to lately? Are there any key initiatives you expect an incoming board member may be able to join?

There’s so much going on that it’s hard to know where to focus my answer!

The Drupal Association has seen a lot of changes recently impact the business of the business itself. We welcomed a new Executive Director and are beginning to see the impact of her leadership. We’ve revised our financial reporting, allowing us to more clearly monitor our financial health, and we’ve streamlined sales, immediately helping us sell sponsorships for DrupalCon Minneapolis more effectively. Additionally, we’ve launched and continue to develop the Drupal Steward product in partnership with the Security team. This is part of a very important initiative to diversify our revenue for the sake of the Drupal Association’s long term health.

From a community growth standpoint, we continue to follow-up on various governance related tasks and initiatives. We’re working with Drupal leaders around the world to help launch and support more local Drupal associations. We continue to refine the DrupalCon program and planning process to attract a more diverse audience and create opportunities for a more diverse group of contributors and speakers. The retooling of Drupal.org to integrate GitLab for project is moving forward, lowering the barrier to entry for new project contributors.

Any one of these activities would benefit from additional consideration, insight, and participation by our new board member.

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

One of the best things for me is getting to see firsthand just how much the staff at the Drupal Association do to help the community, maintaining the infrastructure that enables our daily, international collaboration. I’ve long known folks on the development team like Neil Drumm, but I didn’t realize just how much time he and other team members have devoted to empowering the entire community until I got a closer look.

I’m also continually inspired by the other board members. Our interactions have helped expand my understanding of Drupal’s impact and potential. I’ve obviously been a fan of the project for many years now, but my time on the board has given me even greater motivation to keep contributing and ensure more people can for years to come.

Thank you, Ryan! Hopefully folks reading this are similarly inspired to keep contributing to Drupal. Our current election is one way everyone can play a part, so I’d encourage you to head over to the nominations page, read up on the motivations and interests of our nominees, ask questions while you can, and…

Cast your vote!