arnalielsewhere’s Diary | community in the map and at the table: my first year and continuing plans as OSMF board member

By neub9
6 Min Read

Here is my extended OSM diary detailing my experience as a member of the OSMF board. I apologize for the delay!

Background and Tips for Preparing as a Board Member

I joined the OSMF Board in December 2022, marking my first time holding a board member position. You can review my manifesto and answers to board election questions. I plan to revisit these to assess my progress and areas for improvement.

Transitioning into this new role was initially intimidating, despite my discussions with other open community and geo board members. It feels entirely different once you’re in the position!

Some of the best tips I received include:
  • Talking with leaders and individuals with board member experience, seeking support and mentoring from them.
  • Utilizing free resources such as the Nonprofit Board Essentials from to assess my potential as a board member.
  • Seizing the opportunity to serve as a board member while having the time and capacity, despite being a full-time mother and working woman.
  • Recognizing the finite time frame of the board member role and making the most of the experience.
  • Maintaining patience in enacting change and avoiding unnecessary frustration.

Occurrences in 2023

Reflecting on the past year, I must acknowledge that I faced health challenges, which impacted my accomplishments on the board. Nevertheless, it served as a valuable learning experience, encompassing both successes and failures.

With the support of fellow board members, working groups, and community members, we accomplished the following in 2023:

1. Local Chapters Application Revisions

We audited and revised the Local Chapters page to clarify eligibility requirements and documentation necessary for submission. Additionally, the LCCWG took charge of reviewing applications for potential local chapters and proactively encouraging communities to apply.

Learn more about OSMF Local Chapters:

2. Community Discussion at Regional/National SotM’s (Online and In-Person)

In 2023, wearing my OSMF board member hat, I engaged in discussions and interactions with various community members. I intend to write a separate account outlining the key takeaways from these conversations 🙂

3. Planning 2023 Community Presentations at OSMF Board Meetings

I volunteered to oversee this initiative starting in May 2023 with the primary goals of:

  • Spotlighting and amplifying the work of current LCs through the community spotlight segment.
  • Inviting LC applicants to present, enabling the board and community to ask questions and address uncertainties in their applications.
  • Engaging and encouraging diverse communities and speakers to participate in OSM/OSMF activities and spaces.

Historical stats from 2020-2022:

  • Regional: 11 Europe, 3 Asia-Pacific, 3 Africa, 1 LatAm, 1 North America
  • Gender: 3 women, 16 men, 1 unknown (Mapbox Workers Union presenter)
  • Thematic: 13 community presentations and 6 tech/tool presentations

Some stats beginning 2023:

  • Regional: 1 Europe, 2 Asia, 2 Caribbean, 1 LatAm, 2 Africa, 1 encompassing regions (i.e. Youthmappers)
  • Gender: 4 women and 8 men presenters
  • Thematic: 9 community presentations and 2 tech/tool presentations (TeachOSM and Devseed)

All OSMF Monthly Presentations are available here.

Do you have any presenters you would like to hear during OSMF monthly presentations? Leave a comment in this thread in the community forum!

Plans for 2024

During this year, my focus will be on efforts to engage, grow, and diversify the OpenStreetMap community. This includes:

1. Building More Local Chapters

Early this year, we welcomed (back)! We hope to establish 1-3 new local chapters, particularly in regions where there are few or no established local chapters. Our newest board member Dani will partner with me on this initiative.

2. Growing and Diversifying OSMF Membership
  • Executing a membership drive in the first semester of the year with a volunteer team and community leaders.
  • Reviewing OSMF WGs, their objectives, processes, and operations to encourage greater participation.
  • Reviewing Active Contributor Membership applications to ensure they are suitable for those seeking to benefit.
  • Exposing local communities and community projects through community presentations during OSMF board meetings.
  • Revitalizing the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to ensure it is still relevant and active.
3. Ensuring OSMF’s Support to Regional and National SotMs
4. Representing OSMF in Various Events/Conferences

Additionally, I aim to enhance my in-person relationship-building and fundraising skills.

5. Online Communications and Safety

I have received inquiries about online communications and safety. Unfortunately, not all communication channels are protected by the OSMF Etiquette Guidelines and Moderation. Therefore, I encourage community members to utilize the Community Forum in discourse.

Thank you for reading this far!

If you would like to discuss anything related to the community, feel free to reach out to me at arnalie[at]osmfoundation[dot]org or send me a message.

Warm regards,

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