Back in the fall of 2017, Erin Becker reached out to me about putting myself up for election for the new Carpentries Executive Council. For me, this suggestion seemed to come out of the blue. Sure, I had been involved with the Carpentries as an instructor and more intensely as a workshop organiser at my institution. But was I really well-suited to serve on the Executive Council for a non-profit organisation? It was something I had never done before and I will fully admit that I suffered from imposter syndrome regarding the value I would be able to bring to the organisation in this role. I also wondered, quite frankly, if there would be any value in it for me professionally or personally. Time is one thing none of us seems to have enough of these days, and it is important for each person to make careful decisions about how much of themselves they give to “all the things”.
After some consideration, I decided to nominate myself for community election and soon found myself part of a dynamic, thoughtful group of volunteers with short and long histories within The Carpentries. In order to set up the rotating terms for the Executive Council, my first term was for only one year, and I soon found myself not only submitting my nomination for re-election but sitting in the position of Chair for this collaborative group.
I hope that my contributions to the Executive Council have provided (and will continue to provide!) value for The Carpentries, but two years in, how do I feel about the professional and personal value that being on the Executive Council has provided to me? Last year I was promoted to the next librarian rank at my job. I am 100% convinced that this promotion would not have happened without my participation in The Carpentries Executive Council. That’s a particularly tangible example, but I have also gained a lot of experience and confidence in building consensus and decision-making among a highly diverse group of people who live around the globe. I have built a network of friends and colleagues who share my values and that can support each other in future professional activities. And I’ve helped an organisation whose values closely reflect my own.
While I may never have nominated myself for community election to The Carpentries Executive Council without the nudge from Erin Becker, I highly encourage all of you not to wait for Kari Jordan, Erin Becker, Elizabeth Williams, me or anyone else to give you that nudge. Nominate yourself today.