Introducing Open Leaders X (OLˣ)

Abigail Cabunoc Mayes
Read, Write, Participate
3 min readJun 3, 2019


Update: Applications are open for OLˣ! Applications close Aug 1st 11:59am

Mozilla Open Leaders started 3.5 years ago to make openness the norm in innovation and research. Through personal mentorship and cohort-based training, participants learn how to lead open projects. From Gracielle building an open community of science communicators, to Kasia creating open tools to tackle bias in AI, graduates go on to be leaders in the internet health movement.

Photo by Connor Ballard-Pateman / @PinotConoir

Over seven rounds, 25 cohorts and more than 500 open leaders were raised up as strong pillars in the internet health movement. Graduates consistently go on to champion openness and internet health as MozFest wranglers & facilitators, Mozilla fellows, movement leaders and more.

Graduates of Open Leaders have even gone on to adapt the program for their own communities and disciplines. For example:

  • Julia Lowndes launched Openscapes, championing open practices in environmental science.
  • Jose Urra started GO!Commons, a leadership training program for open hardware projects.

Leaders embedded in a community are better placed to make openness the norm in innovation and research and mobilize the internet health movement.

Introducing Open Leaders X

This year, Mozilla is building its own internal processes to work more like a movement. Empowering more of our community to design and execute Open Leaders in local communities around the world is a first step towards this goal.

Following the success of community-run Open Leaders programs, we’re thrilled to announce the next phase of Open Leaders. We’re calling it Open Leaders X (OLˣ).

To sow the seeds of new pathways into the movement, community members will learn how to run and launch their own Open Leaders programs. From September through November 2019, Mozilla is offering movement building training and program-design mentorship for participants interested in running their own Open Leaders program in 2020. The goal is to raise up multiple community-run Open Leaders programs with diverse audiences to serve as entry-points into the internet health movement.

Apply For OLˣ

Interested in applying to be a part of OLˣ? We’ll be looking for participants passionate about internet health in areas like artificial intelligence, open campaigning, open science, or any area you have a strong vision for. Stay tuned for more details on time commitments, selection criteria and areas we’re prioritizing. Applications open July 2.

What Do You Think?

“Mozilla Open Leaders was an incredibly formative program for me. I started OL6 with a vision for empowering scientists with open practices and data science — but I didn’t know what it would actually look like. The curriculum but also the architecture of Open Leaders what exactly what I needed to frame and plan Openscapes. And it was a success!” — Julia Lowndes

We’d love to hear your thoughts. What would you like to get out of a program like this? What would you want to learn? What support would you need to run Open Leaders for your own community? Leave a comment or send us an email at



Abigail Cabunoc Mayes
Read, Write, Participate

open source, mentorship & prototyping, now @github . ❤ open science. founder:@MozOpenLeaders . alum:@mozilla @OICRGenomics @wormbase @uwaterloo 📸@facesopen