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Time to join the Plone board?

Posted by Steve McMahon at Aug 20, 2013 09:16 PM |
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Please consider joining the Plone Foundation's Board of Directors.
Time to join the Plone board?

Object Orientation

The Plone Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization that exists to protect and promote Plone. It owns the copyrights for the Plone source code and Plone's trademark, and manages resources like and lists. The Foundation is responsible for the annual conference.

The Plone Foundation is governed by a seven member board of directors, which is elected annually by the members of the Plone Foundation.

The PF does important work. It does not develop Plone, but it does fund marketing endeavors and provides significant funding for worldwide strategic sprints to develop Plone. It pays the release manager stipends.

The PF Board can't make Plone run faster, be more secure or succeed in the marketplace, but a good board can provide the leadership to help make all that happen. A bad board could conceivably damage the whole project and hurt the Plone community.

This year's Plone Board election will take place in conjunction with the Plone Conference, in early October. It is time for you — yes, you! — to think about serving on the Plone board. All that it takes to join the board is to be elected. You do not have to be a member of the Plone Foundation. In fact, several directors (including me) have joined the PF membership after one or more terms on the board.

So, what does it take to be a board member?

  • A genuine interest in the idea of community-driven open-source software projects. Nothing can replace that interest.
  • An ability to collaborate with a diverse group of people from throughout the world. You'll need to get along with the rest of the board and to really enjoy coordinating with folks throughout our very international community. It's usually a lot of fun, but sometimes requires patience and a thick skin (the ability to tolerate criticism without taking it personally).
  • Time for a board meeting every other week. Traditionally, we've met somewhere near 20:00 UTC for a meeting that lasts an hour to an hour-and-a-half.
  • Time to engage in one or more major Plone community activities other than development.
  • An understanding that nearly all the power of a board member comes from listening, organizing and facilitating. The PF Board has no real authority over the community; it has no employees. If it simply issues orders, they will be ignored.

There are additional skills and interests that the board needs, but not every board member needs to have them all.

  • An interest in copyright, software and content licensing issues. Can you describe the strengths and weaknesses of the GPL, CC and BSD licenses? Can you have a conversation about that with someone who has a different position and maintain the friendship? The board needs you.
  • Do you have experience reading balance sheets and P& Ls for small organizations? Do you know something about non-profit regulations? We've got a place for you.
  • Do you know a regional or vertical market well? Can you help organize marketing and communications to speak to that sector?
  • Can you speak and write well? Board members need to be able to stand up and represent the PF.
  • Can you ask for money? Funding for the PF comes from sponsors and donors. We have to ask them for their contributions and provide assurance that we'll use the money well.

Got some of those skills? Talk to a current or past board member about what working on the board is like. Then, watch for the announcement that board nominations are open. You'll see that within the next month. Think about it now.