Why you should consider running for the Drupal Association board

Chances are you're reading this because you're passionate enough about Drupal to read the Drupal Planet feed with your morning coffee or afternoon doughnut. If so, you or someone you know might be just the person we need on the Drupal Association board.

Nominations for the 2013 "at large" Drupal Association directors close in just five days, on Sept. 16th. We need candidates!

Last year we completely rewrote the structure of the Drupal Association, the nonprofit that supports the Drupal project. While we were working out the new structure, we discussed and argued and fretted and occasionally ranted about how we would meet the needs for experience and expertise on the board while staying true to our global community.

How could we attract people with the ideas and skills and insights to carry the Drupal Association forward? Would hand-picking board members reduce diversity? How could we ensure the board didn't become even more US-centric than it already was?

In the new structure we eventually approved, the board includes three types of members: Drupal project founder (Dries Buytaert); several members selected by a nominating committee and approved by the other current board members for three-year terms ("class" directors); and two community representatives ("at large" directors) elected annually.

I served on the 2012 board nominating committee. It was a ton of work reaching out to candidates and then reaching consensus among ourselves on what we hoped was a strong and balanced board. Then one of our recommended candidates had to back out, while two others weren't ratified by the current board members.

We ended up with a talented board that combined both longtime Drupal Association leaders and several newcomers. But I, for one, came away feeling that despite our efforts we'd fallen far short in drawing in the full diversity of the Drupal community.

After the board nominees were approved it was time for our first open elections. I chaired the 2012 election committee, with two Drupal Association board members and many community members pitching in time, energy, and ideas.

Just as with the nominating committee, it was our first time and we had to invent the process as we went. But a few weeks later we had ten candidates from five continents. Two lively all candidates meetings and a vote later, we had two new Drupal Association board members: Donna Benjamin and Steve Purkiss.

What's it been like for them? An interview with Donna at Drupalcon Munich gives a good feel for her experience. Also take a look at her Drupalcon Munich workshop where she described herself, only partly tongue in cheek, as "your mole in the hole," increasing transparency by "diving into the inner workings of the Drupal Association" on your behalf.

Having community "at large" directors has made a difference. Donna and Steve have raised questions and made contributions that might otherwise have been missing. They've increased the diversity of voices and perspectives at the table when key decisions are made.

Donna's not running for re-election this year. Instead, she's heading up the elections process. Which brings us to the point here. Elections need candidates! Yes, that might be you!

See the election announcement for details.

And whether or not you run, or convince a friend to, please check the Drupal Association website after nominations close to see who's running and participate in the election discussion and debates (Sept. 17-23) and voting (Sept. 24-Oct.7).

If not you, who?