[Talk-us] US Chapter board elections - time is running out!

Martijn van Exel martijn at openstreetmap.us
Tue Sep 30 04:13:12 UTC 2014

Hi Luis & all,

Those are great questions. Let me try and provide some more insight and
clarity. I am expecting the other boardies to chime in as well.

A lot of our work is generating plans and ideas to support our mission,
which is to support and grow the OpenStreetMap project and its community in
the United States, and executing those plans. Let me give one example from
recently. We were talking about the upcoming State of the Map conference in
Buenos Aires. We noted that the U.S. community could use a boost in
presence at the international conference. And that we did a good job
increasing gender diversity at previous US conferences. Why not combine
this into a plan for scholarships for US community members to help with
travel costs, and specifically target them at female applicants? OK, let's
do this. Decide what the scholarships should look like. Reach out to SOTM
organization for free tickets. Check budget. Write blog post
<http://openstreetmap.us/2014/09/argentina-scholarships>. Tweet. This all
happened within two weeks. A lot of our work is like this, and we discuss a
lot of ideas in weekly meetings that usually last around 30 minutes.
Of course there's longer term objectives that need work as well - there's
always the next SOTM US to think about, and work on that usually peaks in
the 2-3 months before the conference. (I think I probably commit 10 hours a
week right before the conference, and more like 2-5 hours the rest of the
year.) And there's administrative work as well, of course, but we retain
the services of an accountants agency and legal council to offload some of
that. Right now we're in the middle of applying for 501(c)(3) status which
involves a little more of that administrative work than usual, but it will
be worth it.
We keep to-do lists and discussions mainly on github, neatly organized into
projects. We use G+ Hangouts for meetings. We have systems in place to
maintain the web site, member registration + payment (being overhauled),
bookkeeping. Overall I think the board runs its operations pretty well.

Ideally, to my mind, the board is made up of a diverse group of people who
care deeply about OSM and its community, and can commit an average of say
2-5 hours a week to board things. For a board to run well you need a
combination of skill sets. Writing. Event organizing. Listening. Patience
with forms and figures. Leadership. Creative thinking - to list just a few.
What I have enjoyed perhaps most of all working with various US chapter
boards over the past three years is experiencing how much you can achieve
with extremely limited resources when you have a great working environment
where your fellow board members really listen, everyone knows what their
strengths are, and debates are mostly quickly resolved because we all see
the bigger picture.

I hope that this sheds some light on what it's like to serve on the board.
Don't hesitate to email / irc / skype / tweet me if you have more


On Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 5:51 PM, Luis Villa <lvilla at wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Hi, Martijn, others:
> [Lurker here for a while, not a very active OSMer; possibly asking dumb
> questions as a result.]
> I've found in the past when recruiting for boards like this one that it is
> helpful to talk about things like:
>    - What kinds of skills does the current board think would be
>    helpful/desirable in a candidate?
>    - What kind of work do board members do? Is it mostly fulfilling legal
>    obligations/formalities? Other?
>    - In particular, what sorts of things do board members do that they
>    might not otherwise have done as volunteers?
>    - What's the time commitment?
>    - What do current board members enjoy the most?
> Putting this kind of thing out there might help shake some potential
> candidates loose.
> Luis (not a member, so not doing this on my own behalf :)
> On Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 1:42 PM, Martijn van Exel <
> martijn at openstreetmap.us> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> With just a few days to go, we only have two names on the ballot for
>> the upcoming US Chapter board elections. We have all five positions up
>> for election, so this is clearly not enough!
>> Let me tell you what made me run the first time, and why I am running
>> for a fourth term. I love OpenStreetMap and care about its future, and
>> its community here in the United States. Serving on the board has
>> allowed me to work with a small group of committed people to organize
>> great events, spread the word about OSM, support local communities
>> around the nation and help OSM grow in the US. Sure, it requires time
>> and commitment, but it has really been extremely rewarding. In the
>> years I have served on the board, I have seen (and helped) the Chapter
>> evolve into a more professionally run organization, and I am
>> periodically blown away by how much we've been able to do.
>> If you've been thinking about putting your name on the ballot but
>> haven't yet, feel free to reach out to me with questions, ideas,
>> plans, anything you would like to discuss.
>> --
>> Martijn van Exel
>> President, US Chapter
>> OpenStreetMap
>> http://openstreetmap.us/
>> http://osm.org/
>> skype: mvexel
>> _______________________________________________
>> Talk-us mailing list
>> Talk-us at openstreetmap.org
>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk-us
> --
> Luis Villa
> Deputy General Counsel
> Wikimedia Foundation
> 415.839.6885 ext. 6810
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Martijn van Exel
President, US Chapter
skype: mvexel
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