I started as .NET Foundation Executive Director in February 2017, and a lot has happened over the past nearly three years. We’ve added dozens of high quality projects and added a lot of services to support them, like automated code signing and releases. We launched a worldwide Meetup program that includes over a quarter of a million members, and supported them with hundreds of local events in our .NET Conf Local series. We’ve also ushered in substantial changes, literally years in the making, to open up membership, run an election for the board’s first elected directors, introduce a corporate sponsorship program, and lay the groundwork for the .NET Foundation to grow into its next stage.
When I first signed on to work full time on the .NET Foundation, the plan was for that to be a two year secondment; it’s been almost three years. I was recently offered a role with a product group in Microsoft that will offer some new opportunities and challenges that are pretty exciting to me. And also, after almost three years at the .NET Foundation, I really feel like some fresh perspective and energy in the Executive Director role can help us get to the next stage. It’s time for me to step down as Executive Director. However, I will still be helping the community as Vice President of the .NET Foundation and as a member of the voluntary Advisory Council.
I’m very happy to announce that we have an obvious choice for the next Executive Director, Claire Novotny. Claire was a member of the Advisory Council when I first started back in 2017, but it didn’t take long for me to learn that he was a lot more than “just” and Advisory Council member. Claire had set up a lot of the systems that the .NET Foundation depended on, from continuous build systems for projects to Azure and Office 365 backend admin to deeply technical issues like security and code signing systems for projects. Month in and out, he’s volunteered tons of time, both on support for individual projects and bigger picture initiatives that benefitted all our projects, and the open source community.
Claire is widely respected in the .NET open source community, so it was no surprise to me when he was elected in our first board elections this year. Since then, he’s both shown leadership and vision as a director and continued to push ahead on project support and technical initiatives.
We’ll be transitioning duties to Claire over the next few weeks, with Claire officially taking over at the start of January. Over the next few weeks we will transition roles, but since he was the one who showed me the ropes on a lot of our operations when I first started, this won’t be a tricky transition at all. Please give him a great welcome and offer him all the help and assistance you can. I wish Claire all the best, and am excited to see him take the .NET Foundation to the next level.
I want to thank the .NET community for their support and passion over the past few years. I’ve always believed the community is who shows up: there’s a big difference between talking about what someone should do and actually getting involved when there’s an opportunity or need. A great example is the turnout for our board member elections earlier this year. We’d worried about what to do if fewer than six people ran for the six open seats; we ended up with forty-five amazing candidates. Time after time, you’ve offered suggestions on what we could do better, pitched in on new initiatives, and helped us grow up as a Foundation and an open source community. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with you and to helping in my Vice President role.
A few words from Claire as he steps into this role:
My journey in the .NET open source community began around 2012 as I published some helper libraries to GitHub. My reasoning was then, and continues to be, “if it’s useful to me, someone else will probably find it useful too.” I have been privileged to work with an amazing group of talented project maintainers, including xUnit, Humanizer, Reactive Extensions, the Windows Community Toolkit, and NuGet Package Explorer. Over the past seven years, I’ve strived to find and fill gaps in libraries and tools to enable people to focus on building great things. In the role of Executive Director of the .NET Foundation, I look forward to helping support our existing projects and as well as growing our thriving ecosystem.
I am deeply humbled by the responsibility placed upon me as the Foundation’s new Executive Director. Over the next couple of months, as I ramp up, I intend to reach out and do a lot of listening. The mission of the Foundation is to foster innovation, open development, and collaboration for community and commercial developers to strengthen the future of the .NET ecosystem. I want to hear from you–your thoughts on how the Foundation is doing in its mission, what works and what doesn’t, and how we can improve. Our industry moves very quickly and what worked yesterday may not always be the thing that works best tomorrow. With a diversity of thoughts, we can forge a path forward toward a stronger .NET ecosystem.