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Making an Impact Through Developer Communities: Why I’m Joining the OpenJS Foundation

By | Blog

Mom: You’re leaving Microsoft for a nonprofit?! 

Me: Yes! It’s an amazing privilege and opportunity.  

I’ve always taken great pride in working for Microsoft, and my family felt the same way. It’s pretty easy to describe the positive impact the company makes around the world. So I explained why I was proudly joining The Linux Foundation to be the Executive Director of the OpenJS Foundation, a new organization formed by the recent merger of the JS Foundation and the Node.js Foundation.  

Together with the industry and developer communities, I will be helping steward one of the largest developer ecosystems. The OpenJS Foundation is the neutral home for more than 30 JavaScript projects including Appium, Dojo, jQuery, Node.js, and webpack. 

We’re talking millions of downloads of these technologies, Mom. 

What convinced me to make the move?

  1. Developers, and the communities that support open source projects, have long been my heroes. Through my roles in technical marketing, I’ve given a voice to the people behind our customers’ open source projects – and the stories they tell inspire. The best stories arise when the industry is working together through open source collaboration. I saw this most recently in my time working with healthcare developers, from solving frustrating interop problems with electronic health records, to improving the lives of those with chronic disease. The OpenJS Foundation is a platform to support JavaScript developers and to communicate how these technologies are contributing to fundamental changes in the world around us. 

  2. JavaScript, with its vast developer base and engaged community, has all the right ingredients to grow and flourish. There’s a lot at stake when a developer takes a bet on a technology. The OpenJS Foundation is entrusted to grow and sustain the projects that many companies depend on. That’s an immense responsibility that is taken seriously and I’m humbled to support. I’ve seen these communities in action over the years. Members here are collaborating in powerful ways through the Foundation. Examples include organizing community events like Node+JS Interactive (see you on Dec 11 in Montreal!), community management support, and technical and governance guidance with experienced mentors. 

  3. It’s always the people. Long before Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation, the Linux Foundation team and its members supported Microsoft, and Microsoft supported Linux Foundation projects. I’ve worked with a lot of awesome people at the LF along the way. When we created the .NET Foundation, the leadership team at the LF helped guide us. When the Node.js Advisory Committee became an LF project, the LF program team pros worked wonders with the founding organizations to grow the Node.js Foundation. The LF and its member project participants not only share code, they share best practices across the industry. 
People gather at last year’s Node+JS Interactive

I may need to tighten up my “why OpenJS Foundation” elevator pitch for family functions, but my pride is hard to miss. I’m excited to jump in and start working to support the future of this valued and necessary ecosystem. I’m ready to listen, learn, and be a champion for transparency and inclusion. I’m looking forward to working with each of you!

This blog also appears on Robin’s LinkedIn. Check it out here.