Six years and 9 months... is a relatively long time. Not as long as some things, longer than others. Relative. As is everything.
But Six years and 9 months is the length of time I've been on the board of the Drupal Association.
I was elected to serve on the board by the community in February 2012, and then nominated to serve for another two terms. That second term expires on 31 October. My original candidate statement makes somewhat nostalgic reading now... and it's now that I wonder, what I achieved. If anything?
But that's the wrong question. There's nothing useful to be gained in trying to answer it.
Instead - I want to reflect on what I learned.
I learned something from everyone at that table. Honestly, I never really lost my sense of imposter syndrome, and I'm freely and gleefully willing to admit that.
Cary Gordon - we shared a passion for DrupalCon. That show grew into the incredible event it is because of seeds you sewed. And your experience running big shows, and supporting small community libraries seemed to be the perfect mix for fueling what Drupal needed.
Steve Purkiss - we were elected together! Your passion for cooperatives, for Drupal, and for getting on with it, and making things happen was infectious! Thank you for standing with me in those weird first few months of being in this weird new place, called the board of the Drupal Association!
Pedro Cambra - I wish I'd heed the lesson you taught me more often. Listen carefully. Speak only when there's something important to say, or to make the case for a perspective that's being missed. But also good humour. And Thank you for helping make the election process better, and helping the DA "own" the mechanics.
Morten - brother. I can't even find the words to say. Your passion for Drupal, for theming, and for our community always inspired me. I miss your energy.
Angie "webchick" Byron - mate! I still can't fathom how you did what you do so effortlessly! Well, I know it's not effortless, but you make it look that way. Your ability to cut through noise, sort things out, get things done, and inspire the Drupal masses to greatness is breathtaking.
Matthew Saunders - you made me appreciate the importance of governance from a different perspective. Thank you for the work you did to strengthen our board processes.
Addison Berry - Sorry Addi - this is a bit shameful, but it was the mezcal, tequila and bourbon lessons that really stuck.
Danese Cooper - I was so grateful for your deep wisdom of Open Source, and the twists and turns of the path it's followed over such a long time. Your eye to pragmatism over zealotry, but steadfast in the important principles.
Shyamala Rajaram - Oh Shyamala! I can't believe we only first met at DrupalCon Mumbai, or perhaps it was only the first time, this time! Thank you for teaching us all how important it is for us to be in India, and embrace our global community.
Ryan Szrama - you stepped onto the board at such a tough moment, but you stepped up into the role of community elected Director, and helped make sense out of what was happening. Sorry not to see you in Drupal Europe.
Rob Gill - Running. I didn't learn this. Sorry.
Tiffany Farriss - You're formidable! You taught me the importance of having principles, and sticking to them. And then using them to build a foundation in the bedrock. You do this with such style, and grace, and good humour. I'm so thankful I've had this time with you.
Jeff Walpole - You made me question my assumptions all the time! You made me laugh, and you gave me excellent bourbon. You always had a way of bringing us back to the real world when we waded too deep into the weeds.
Vesa Palmu - So many things - but the one that still resonates, is we should all celebrate failure. We should create ritual around it, and formalise the lessons failure teaches. We all learn so much more from mistakes, than from successes.
Sameer Verna - For a time, we were the only linux users at the table, and then I defected back to MacOS - I still feel a bit guilty about this, I admit. You championed Free Software at every step - but also, so often, guided us through the strategic mumbo jumbo, to get to the point we needed to.
Steve Francia - "It's not as bad as you all seem to think it is" I don't know why, but I hear this mantra, spoken with your voice, whenever I think of you. Thank you for your Keynote in Nashville, and for everything.
Mike Lamb - I've not yet put into practice the lesson I need to learn from you. To switch off. To really go home, and be home, and switch off the world. I need me some of that, after all of this. Thank you so much for all you've done, but more for your positive, real world perspective. Ta!
Annie - I missed your presence in Germany so much - I feel like I've still got so much to learn from you. You bridged the worlds of digital and marketing, and brought much needed perspective to our thinking. Twas an honour to serve with you.
Audra - With you too, I feel like I was only beginning to get into the groove of the wisdom you're bringing to the table. I hope our paths continue to cross, so I can keep learning!
Baddy Sonja Breidert - A powerful lesson - as volunteers, we have to account for the time, passion and energy we borrow from the rest of our lives, when we give it to Drupal. And Drupal needs to properly recognise it too.
Ingo Rübe - You taught me how to have courage to bring big ideas to the table, and show grace in letting them go.
Michel van Velde - You taught me to interrogate my assumptions, with fun, with good humour, and honest intention of doing good.
George Matthes - You taught me the power of questioning the received wisdom from history. You reminded me of the importance of bringing fresh eyes to every challenge.
Adam Goodman - a simple, but important lesson. That leadership is about caring for people.
Suzanne Dergacheva - newly elected, and about to start your term - I had too little chance to learn from you at the board table, but I already learned that you can teach the whole community kindness by giving them carnations! #DrupalThanks to you too. And power to your arms as you take the oars as a community elected director, and help row us forward!
And to all the staff who've served over the years, your dedication to this organisation and community it serves is incredible. You've all made a difference, together, to all of us. Special mentions for four of you...
Kris - from Munich to Vienna - my constant companion, and my dive bar adventure buddy. Til next time there is cheese...
Holly - Inspiring me to knit! Or, more accurately, to wish I could knit better than I can. To knit with conviction! It's a metaphor for so much, but also very very literally. Also I miss you.
Steph - Your vibrant enthusiasm, and commitment to DrupalCon always inspired me. Your advice on food trucks in Portland nourished me.
Megan - where to start? I'd never finish. Kindness, compassion, steely focus, commercial reality, "operational excellence", and cactus margaritas.
I save my penultimate words for Dries... Thank you for having faith in me. Thank you for creating Drupal, and for sharing it with all of us. Also, thank you sharing many interesting kinds of Gin!
These final words are for Tim - as you take the reins of this crazy sleigh ride into the future - I feel like I'm leaving just before the party is really about to kick off.
Good bye, so long, and thanks for all the fish.
The DA does amazing work.
If you rely on Drupal, you rely on them.