What’s It Like Being on the Node.js Foundation Board of Directors?
The Node.js Foundation Individual Director is the Node.js project’s community voice on the board. There are two individual directors that sit on the Node.js Foundation board and they server a two year term — more details on who can apply, term limits, etc. can be found here.
This coming Sunday (January 15), we will close the nominations for one Individual Membership seat. If you have the passion and drive to help propel the community’s voice on the Board, then we encourage you to apply. Previous board experience is not needed.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Todd Moore who is the Vice President of Open Technology at IBM and a member of the Node.js Foundation Board of Directors; he also sits on the OpenStack Board of Directors and is the General Board Director for the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Below he provides his perspective of the Node.js Foundation board and how it compares to others; why it’s important to have a community seat; lessons learned and accomplishments from this very new board (it’s only be around for a little over a year); and traits that he think will come in handy if you are interested in applying.
If you have any questions about this position, please reach out to the Tracy Hinds, education community manager for the Node.js Foundation on Twitter @hackygolucky or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q) Why is it important for a community representative to have a voice on the board of directors, in your opinion?
Todd: Having the community represented is extremely important for open source projects with a board of directors as diverse as ours. This gives the community a voice on the board and helps to guide how we make the investment decisions. The individual board members are able to provide feedback on how proposed board items might impact the community and can provide suggestions on how the Node.js Foundation can better support the community. With this knowledge and feedback, the board is able to contribute the resources the community needs to stay healthy and continue to grow.
Q) What have you learned over the last year about being a Node.js Foundation board member?
Todd: Node.js Foundation is one of the more fun boards that I am on. The community is very friendly, spirited and full of diverse opinions. We’ve seen incredible growth over the last year — the community and user base both doubled — so the board is constantly needing to adjust and be thoughtful on how to address our growth and continue to grow in the future.
Q) What is the time commitment involved in being a board member?
Todd: It really varies; you can be a part of none, one or multiple committees (legal, financial, etc) and those committees can have a lot of meetings over the course of the year. These committees propose plans that the board reviews and makes decisions on. So, it really depends on how much you want to be involved with the project. Just participating in the board meetings is a fairly small time commitment; it is up to you how involved you want to be.
Q) What 2–3 traits do you believe are required to be an effective board member?
Todd: You certainly need to know what’s happening in the project and have a technical understanding of how open source projects work. It’s also good to have a marketing eye as you need to consider how decisions impact on the Node.js brand and be able to communicate what the Node.js Foundation is doing: board members are representatives of the Foundation and sometimes need to act as its cheerleaders.
Lastly, I think it’s really important to have an open mind toward individuals and their opinions. Everyone is coming to the table with different opinions. You need to be a good listener and have the ability to have constructive dialogues, so you can resolve issues and move forward.
Q) Any accomplishments that the Foundation BoD led in 2016 that you are proud of?
Todd: Getting the Node.js Foundation up and growing was a huge accomplishment. We provided the technical team with the resources and support they needed to create a long-term support plan and issued many releases under this plan.
Being able to re-unite the community in a short time period was another big accomplishment — this doesn’t happen very often — but we had the right people in place to help make this happen. The community should be really proud of this; it is a testament to how friendly and easy to work with the Node.js community really is. It’s a community that’s committed to finding ways to work together and ensure many voices are heard and respected.
Q) What advice do you have for individual members who are thinking of nominating themselves, but are still undecided?
Todd: Joining a board isn’t for everyone. But if you have a real sense that you want to do something for the community, you want to see it grow, you like to engage with others and you think you would be a good liaison, then joining the board is a great thing to do. It’s a huge responsibility, but a very important position to hold.
Everyone on the board takes their job seriously, and we want to make sure that we are supporting the community now and into the future. We are helping to influence the project’s direction and we want to do this in an environment that is friendly, spirited and cooperative with the community. All of the board members really take this to heart.
Q) What do you plan to focus on as a Foundation BoD member in 2017?
So, you think this is a fit for you? Throw your submission into the ring here.