New challenge

11:34 am Uncategorized

Working as the GNOME Foundation Executive Director has been one of the highlights of my career. It has been a pleasure to work with many wonderful people, and we have made fantastic progress over the past
three years. GNOME is such an important, vibrant project, and I feel lucky to have been able to play a part in it.

I think I have made some important contributions to the project while I have been Executive Director. I’ve helped to recruit two new advisory board members, and we recently received a one time donation of considerable size (the donor did not want to be identified). Financially the Foundation is in good shape, and we have run the last three years in the black. We’ve held some successful funding campaigns, particularly around privacy and accessibility. We have a mind-blowingly fantastic Board of Directors, and the Engagement team is doing amazing work. The GNOME.Asia team is strong, and we’ve got an influx of people, more so than I’ve seen in some time.

I hope that I have helped us to get in touch with our values during my time as ED, and I think that GNOME is more aware of its guiding mission than ever before. The ongoing success of the Outreach Program for Women and positive relations with other organizations fighting for software freedom have all helped us to tell a powerful story about who we are and why we matter.

With all these achievements, I think it’s time for me to hand the reins over to someone new, who can bring their own personal strengths to the role. It is time for a new challenge for me also, so today I am announcing my new position as the Software Freedom Conservancy Executive Director. As many of you know, I have been volunteering with Conservancy for some time, since I helped found it when I was a lawyer at SFLC. I also can’t wait to work closer with Bradley, who has done a bang up job in the role of ED thus far (he’ll be taking on the title of Distinguished Technologist while remaining President and on the board). It is an important organization where I think I can make a difference, and GNOME is in good hands.

Don’t worry though: I’m not leaving GNOME. I will be announcing my candidacy for the board when the call comes out (this is a real exception for me as I’ve generally declined serving on boards). I will stay on as pro bono counsel, and of course I’ll continue volunteering in other ways. The Conservancy has also agreed to partner with GNOME, so that I can help to run the Outreach Program for Women with Marina.

I’m excited for the future. GNOME is already in great hands and I look forward to what the next Foundation Executive can bring to the table. If you know of someone who would be fantastic in this position please let the GNOME board know! I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved in the past three years, and can’t wait to see where we go next.

9 Responses

  1. Sriram Ramkrishna Says:

    Good luck, Karen! It was a pleasure working for you these past years! Best of luck with your new position!

  2. Karl Fogel Says:

    Wow, those will be tough shoes to fill — but whoever fills them, you’ll have helped by leaving the Gnome Foundation in great shape.

    Congratulations on your new position! The Software Freedom Conservancy is already one of the most effective organizations in free software; I can’t wait to see what you and Bradley do there!

  3. Juanjo Marin Says:

    Thanks for all the hard work you have done for GNOME all this time. It has been awesome !. You’ll do great in your new position working for Free Software as always.

    I’m sure all the SFCL people will be using GNOME soon if they aren’t now 😉

  4. erick2red Says:

    Thanks for all the work you’ve done for GNOME. Hope you the best in the new position.

  5. Ian McKellar Says:

    Congratulations and thank you for your great work!

  6. Jono Bacon Says:

    Congratulation, Karen! All the best for the future!

  7. Sammy Fung Says:

    Wishes you all the best Karen, hopes to see you again soon at open source events. 🙂

  8. Quim Gil Says:

    Thank you for all your work here, and especially in the FOSS OPW program. You were a perfect fit for the GNOME Foundation, you are a perfect fit for Software Freedom Conservancy!

  9. Magpie Says:

    I am happy for you in finding a new place you are happy at but very sad to see you leave GNOME.

    Honestly, I think you’re an inspiration and I am not sure GNOME would be so great without you in charge because you are a living example of a successful person who can still be a kind and ‘down to earth’ genuine person and do so completely, without and glimps of egotism or control freakery in sight. For that, I have a tremendous amount of respect for you and your achievements.

    The great news is that you intend to keep working with Marina. You have both done such good work for equality in FOSS and in making GNOME an organisation I have felt proud to contribute to.

    Whoever fills your shoes at GNOME has their work cut out for them.

    Best of luck.


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