Meeting:2013 AGM/Candidates/Andrew Owens
Hello, and thank you for the opportunity to nominate! As I am unopposed for the role of Secretary, I felt it appropriate to write a statement so that members know what I stand for and have the opportunity to ask me questions.
Most of you will know me already but for those who don't, I am w:User:Orderinchaos, an administrator on Wikipedia and am active in geography, politics and local government over there, as well as being a rather active user on Commons. My academic background is variously IT, Chemistry, Mathematics and adult education, and I've worked in too many things to count. I served as a non-voting observer on the first full board through 2009, and as an elected Ordinary Member from 2009 until 2011. After attending Wikimania in Haifa in August 2011 on a WMF scholarship, I ran a successful event, Wiki Takes Joondalup, in the northern suburbs of Perth in November 2011 working with the Joondalup Library and several new and old editors to add almost 800 photographs of the area. I have also assisted Gnangarra on numerous projects including Wiki Takes Perth Foreshore and more recently Toodyay, and historically, facilitated a session and otherwise helped out at GLAM-WIKI in 2009.
During my previous terms as a committee member, I was a passionate advocate of two things - ensuring Wikimedia Australia remains a genuinely national chapter, and ensuring that as a membership organisation Wikimedia Australia works to leverage its organisational influence to help people become active advocates for the WMF projects in their communities. Outside of my Wiki life, I am the Secretary of the Mathematics Association of Western Australia (MAWA) and am involved in two other not-for-profits, so I bring some outside experience into this role as well.
Commitments and goals
As Secretary, I promise to report on meetings in an upfront and timely fashion, will ensure that members are aware of upcoming events such as the monthly IRC meetups, and will work to ensure the governance of the chapter and its adherence to laws and its own rules. I also commit to being present at all meetings and to be available and approachable.
This is a somewhat critical time for Wikimedia Australia (indeed, it's one of the reasons I decided to nominate). Wikimedia Australia, as is well known, needs to find a source of revenue to fund upcoming projects and growth. It has been rejected for this previously, in part because we have a poor record on delivery and reporting. To fix that, we need to gain the trust and respect of outside organisations and especially the Funds Dissemination Committee at the WMF. This will be a big challenge for the incoming board. I hope that the contacts I gained when last in the role as well as my understanding of what they want to see in a successful chapter will be of use in establishing a new basis for going forward. We need to think in a very clear and unsentimental way as to how we can do this, and whether we need to add new priorities or drop old ones, with a focus on achievable and progressive goals. We also need to work better with our members (both those we now have and those we can gain) to help us decide on and reach achievable goals - pursuing small projects but actually demonstrably succeeding in them, and being seen to succeed. Very early on in my first elected term, we held a strategic planning meeting where the priorities were given to us by members - I'd like to see more of those sort of initiatives.
Thank you to my nominators and to others who urged me to run at various times in the past couple of weeks. I hope that I can honour the confidence you have placed in me :)
I'd also like to thank the outgoing board for their service, and especially the outgoing President, Craig Franklin. I consider him a good friend as well as someone I have a high degree of professional respect for, and this organisation owes him a great debt for the work he's put into ensuring it is well run, is meeting its legal and financial obligations, and is well represented to the outside world and the wider movement. I hope that we as the new board can do their work justice.
I wish the best of luck to everyone else who has nominated - I look forward to working with you.