It is with mixed emotions that I announce I’ll be stepping down as Director of Membership and Technology of The Carpentries. Some of you know that two years ago my family moved from the United States to Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand. My family and I have come to truly enjoy our life in Aotearoa (the Māori name for New Zealand). Given the international nature of my work for The Carpentries, I haven’t had as much time as I would like to focus on the local and regional community.
My experiences as a member of this wonderful, global Carpentries community will stay with me. I started this Carpentry journey in August of 2013 when I was invited by a coworker to become a Software Carpentry instructor. I was instantly hooked on the community-based model and dove into teaching in order to share skills with researchers around the world. By the end of 2015, I had taught 11 workshops in 24 months! In the process I found myself talking about the benefits of Software Carpentry to pretty much anyone who would listen. My passion for the impact we can have on researchers’ workflows and lives helped me to land the job as Executive Director of Software Carpentry.
We have done so much in these past five years at The Carpentries. We’ve tested and validated a model of financial sustainability. We’ve made a transition from one fiscal sponsor to another. We’ve merged Software Carpentry, Data Carpentry and now Library Carpentry together into The Carpentries! We have a new logo, have hosted the first ever CarpentryCon, we’re truly having an impact across borders and cultures. I believe we are stronger now than we were before. I’m confident in our leadership and the team we have built.
Through it all, the best part has always been the strength of our community. I have never had a job with so many energetic people enthusiastically sharing their wisdom and expertise toward a common mission. It has been exciting to support community builders all over the world as they work to bring more impactful workshop teaching to researchers. Our community is diverse, strong, and engaged! I thank you all for the energy you bring to our community. Please know that your contributions matter.
I’ll be joining a local Dunedin, New Zealand firm called AbacusBio working in data science, geospatial analysis and business development. In this role I’ll be building and expanding collaborations between university researchers, government research organizations, farms and other private sector businesses as they work together to bring data skills to their workforces. At the same time I’ll be dipping my toes back into my technical skill areas of geospatial and remote sensing analysis, applying them to business challenges in the agricultural sector. I will continue to have a small part-time role in The Carpentries as regional coordinator for Oceania and Asia community development and coordinating the Carpentry Champions community.
I’m going to miss the exciting and ever changing challenges of helping to steer the our global strategy, but it will be good for me to focus on local and regional objectives as I help to grow vibrant local and regional communities. “Zooming” across geography and timezones each day for three years has been thrilling, but I’m also strangely excited to have an office with coworkers again.
The Carpentries community’s diversity of opinions, backgrounds, skills and passions is truly our strength. I’m looking forward to continuing as a community member and look forward to where we take our work and impacts in the future. See you around at workshops, community calls and on the mailing lists. And thank you again for all that you do. Your enthusiasms and passion for sharing knowledge and skills to others is what makes this community so great! Keep up the amazing work, we still have a lot of work to do.
Elizabeth Williams has already been working closely with me on Memberships for some time, and she’ll be continuing to handle membership activities. More from her on that next week!