Hello, all. I am delighted to join the Rust Foundation as Executive Director and CEO. This is a huge and exciting role for me and for the Rust Foundation, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to support such a broad, innovative and collaborative community. I am eager to get started, and hope to meet as many of you as possible in the coming months.
A little about me in the meantime – I’m Welsh, based in Cardiff, and have worked in and around international tech/policy/politics for the last 15 or so years. I join the Rust Foundation from mySociety, a civic tech open source platform developer, where I worked in impact, research, community building and senior management. I founded the TICTeC civic tech community, which has grown to become a global multi-annual programme and event series, and on the side, I support The Hansard Society as a Trustee, am a Non-Executive Director of the UK Advertising Standards Authority and work with the UK Privacy Collective on legal routes to redress for data privacy violations. I’ve worked in partnership with parliaments and governments all over the world, as well as with leading universities and tech organizations such as Google and Meta (formerly Facebook). I’m confident that these various experiences have positioned me well to serve the Rust project and community.
Full disclosure, I am not currently a Rust programmer. Nor am I able to code in any other languages. Practically, I don’t anticipate this as an issue, as this role is one designed to provide strategic leadership and operational support. Having worked with coders for years, I am familiar with many of the concepts, practices and of the broader landscape of languages, and am therefore confident that my lack of language skill will not present a problem. I recognize how game-changing Rust is, and I am committed to championing it as your ED.
I suspect what is more interesting to you all right now, is what this appointment means for the Rust Project and community going forward. My ambition for this role is to build a lot of the institutional infrastructure necessary to safeguard Rust’s growth and sustainability, and to develop a strategy that will thoughtfully and purposefully guide that growth and open up new opportunities. In these early days, this will cover setting up financial and operational processes, building a team of the right people to contribute to this and working with the Board and the community to develop our strategic goals. Longer term, this will include attracting investment, developing partnerships and exploring how to sustainably and effectively support a growing community.
This is a leadership role, but it is one that is in service to you, the community, which means my priority is understanding what I as ED and the Foundation as a whole, should be doing to enable Rust to flourish. I was attracted to Rust because it is all about collaboration, and while the Foundation will provide practical support and organization, in these early days I want to work closely with you all to shape our strategic goals. These goals will shape our joint future, and set the direction of growth and development.
One key area is in financial support to the community, projects and teams. I understand how eager you all are to see real and meaningful movement from the Foundation as soon as possible. I will be prioritizing developing frameworks for community grants and financial support, but this will take some time. Please bear with me, as I want to develop fair, coherent, and purposeful strategic funding frameworks to maximize the impact of our support. In order for these instruments to target support effectively, we will need your input. A consultation process will begin very soon to enable you to provide your thoughts, advice and expertise to help shape our approach.
Rust has already come a very long way given its youth, but I see a lot of further opportunity in the future. I am excited about exploring that future with you all. I am planning to host an AMA session online soon so that I can answer any and all of your questions, and I look forward to working with you.