13 1 / 2014

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I’m headed to Vancouver today for the Mozilla Foundation Engagement team work week. It’s a new team that emerged from the combining of the Mozilla Foundation Communications and Development teams. The work week is dedicated to kicking off 2014, setting goals for the new team and determining how we are  going to work together to support all of the Mozilla Foundation initiatives in order to create a more unified approach, reach our audience and raise money. I, along with my rock star colleague Emily, will be representing the Open Badges team and I am super jazzed to learn more about this new power-house team and how we can work together.

In prep of the work week, I have homework (gasp! yes, homework). My homework is to really reflect on 2013 (what worked, what didn’t work), determine what skills I really bring to the table and establish goals on how to make 2014 even better. So here are my thoughts:

Where do I fit in? My role is to lead Marketing for Open Badges, which ties into helping grow the community. This comes with wearing many hats including - working on branding launches and updates for our product offerings (i.e. Cities of Learning 2014, BadgeKit, OpenBadges.org, etc.), preparing for and launching new programs to support the Open Badges ecosystem growth (i.e. Badge the World), hosting webinars, weekly community calls and dedicated conference calls as a means to educate our growing community, speaking at conferences (like SXSW Edu) and spreading the word of Open Badges, leading the social media and events strategy, helping with our public relations efforts and more. In the past, I’ve lead product marketing, strategic business development, email marketing, general onboarding marketing and more.  Given my background, I can help in a variety of ways. I can help think through a full product from idea conception through wireframing, user feedback, to product launch and metrics with a keen eye towards overall marketing strategy, scale and sustainability in mind. I can lead general marketing efforts - press releases, webinars, one-pagers, etc. - and I can help establish overall marketing strategies that coincide with our product roadmap. I can set up a solid email marketing program, including mobilized emails, and more. At the core, I’m scrappy and diligent. I’m super passionate about today’s digital landscape that encompasses all the core elements of marketing, design and technology. A nerd at heart, I really just want to use technology to make people’s life better and I’m willing to step up to the plate for any new challenge or project that is thrown my way.

What can the foundation do better this year? I think this one is easy - be more cohesive. One of the benefits of being part of the Mozilla Foundation umbrella is that you have a great brand, that is known for it’s dedication to great initiatives. One of the challenges however, is that all the initiatives/projects tend to work in silos - when in reality our work could be further woven together and ultimately could help us expand our reach. I definitely noticed a shift in Q4 of 2013, where there was more focus on finding common threads between all the projects and really starting to look at how we can further help one another, but I think we still need to find ways to work collaboratively as a means to further promote all of the initiatives.  No project under the Mozilla Foundation umbrella should feel like they don’t belong or they are not supported, rather we should find ways to share resources and minimize duplication of work. In addition, I think it’s important to understand and accept that we are growing and with growth comes change and growing pains, however, we need to embrace it and figure out how we can  grow without losing the spirit of hacking, remixing, being agile and more.

What should we make sure not to lose? Given the transition to the new team, I think it’s important to still be agile. Sometimes when teams start to increase in size, it introduces more levels of approval, more cooks in the kitchen and it can take a lot longer to get a decision made. I experienced this first hand at my previous job, when we went from a company of about 23 employees to over 300. One of the beauties of the Foundation is that it attracts absurdly talented people that are really passionate about what they do. I think it’s super important to encourage that and provide a working environment that allows people to participate and make a difference.

What do you most want to get out of the work week? Based on my response above, I think the most important part of this week is really to establish goals; determine how we are going to break down barriers and work collaboratively. And to establish guidelines - who wants to be involved, when should they be involved, etc. Overall, I think it will be very important to provide clarity on how the new team will work with existing teams (i.e. Open Badges) within the Foundation!

Phew. Well there are my thoughts on what the next week will look like. I’m super excited. I’ve also never been to Vancouver and the team is taking us to Grouse Mountain as well. I selected snowshoeing as my activity since I think I’ve only snowshoed one time in my life. Regardless, I will report back with pictures and all. Vancouver, here I come!