My year on Reps Council

It’s been one year! An incredible year of learning, leading and helping evolve the Mozilla Reps program as a council member. As my term ends I want to share my experiences with those considering this same path, but also as a way to lend to the greater narrative of Reps as a leadership platform.

I could write easily write 12 posts to cover the experience –  but  I thought this might be more helpful:

The 7 things I know for sure

(after 12 months on Reps Council)

1. Mozilla Reps Council Is a journey of learning and inspiration

When I decided to run for council last year, it was with an assumption my workload would  consist of mostly administrative tasks (although to be truthful that is a bulk of our work).  I also thought my previous leadership experiences would allow me to ‘help out’ as needed.

It turns out,  I had a lot to learn and improve on, especially during my two months as council chair. Here are some of the new and sharpened skills I am emerging with as a result:

  • Problem solving
  • Conflict Resolution/ Crisis Management
  • Communication
  • Strategy
  • Transparency
  • Project Planning
  • Task Management
  • Writing
  • Respecting Work-Life Balance
  • Debating Respectfully
  • Public Speaking
  • Facilitation
  • The art of saying ‘no’/when to step back
  • The art of ‘not dropping balls’ or knowing which balls will bounce back, and which will break
  • Being brave (aka stating opinions to leadership and with a nagging imposter syndrome)
  • Empathy
  • Planning for Diversity
  • Outreach
  • Teaching
  • Mentorship

2. 2015 is a (super) important year for Reps

Nurtured by the loving hands of 5 previous Reps councils, a strong mentorship structure and over 400 Reps and thousands of community members the Mozilla Reps program has come to an important milestone as a recognized body of leadership across Mozilla.  The  clearly articulated vision of Reps as a ‘launch pad for leadership’ has pushed us to be more  strategic in our goals.  And we are.  The next council together with mentors will be critical in executing these goals.

3. The voice of community is valued, and Mozilla is listening

In the past few months, we’ve worked with Mitchell Baker, Chris Beard, Mark Surman and David Slater, Mary-Ellen and others on everything from conflict resolution, to VP interview and on-boarding processes. Reps Council is on the Mozilla leadership page. The Mozilla Reps call has been attended by Firefox and Brand teams in need of feedback.  It’s not a coincidence, and it’s not casual – your voice matters.  Reps as leaders have the ear of the entire organization, because Reps are the voice of their extended community.

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If you are one of those quiet people in our community with great ideas, passion and an interest in developing leadership skills – please consider running for council this year.

4. Mozilla Reps is  ever-evolving

View post on imgur.com

When I joined Reps Council, I had a lot of ideas about what would would ‘fix’.  And I laugh at myself for that bit of naivety  – ‘fixing’ is something we do to flaws, to errors and mistakes – but the Reps program is not a completed vision  – it’s a living organism, it’s alive with people, their ideas, inventions and actions.  How we evolve, while aligning with the needs of project goals, is a bit like changing the tire on a moving car .   If you are considering a run for council, it might help to envision ways you can evolve, improve and grow the program as it shifts, and in response to project & community vision for their own participation goals.

 5. Changing minds is hard / Outreach matters

I can’t write a list like this without acknowledging a my personal challenge of recognizing and trying to change ‘perception problems’.  It was strange to move from what had been a fairly easy transition between community, Rep and mentor to Reps council where almost suddenly –  I was regarded as part of a bureaucratic structure. I didn’t see or feel that from my fellow council members who work very hard on behalf of community –  and it’s been important to me that we change that perception through outreach.

Perceptions of our extended community have also been challenging – the idea that Reps is somehow isolated or a special  contributor group is contrary to the leadership platform we are really building.

Slowly we are changing minds, slowly outreach is making a difference – I am happy and optimistic about this.

 6.  Diversity Matters  Reps is an incredibly diverse community with diverse representation in many areas including age, geography and experience. Few other communities can compare .  But,  like much of the technology world we struggle with the representation of women in our council, and mentorship base.  To be truly reflective of our community, and our world – to have the benefit of all perspectives we need to encourage women leaders.  As I leave council, my hope is that we will continue to prioritize women in leadership roles.

7. Our community rocks  Brilliant, creative, energetic, passionate, motivated, friends and second family.  The heart of what we do, lies here.

To the Reps community, mentors, the Reps team, Mozilla leadership and community I thank you for this incredible opportunity to contribute and to grow.  I plan to pay it forward.

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Feature Image Credit:  Fay Tandog

 

 

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