People who know me well know that I hate farewells. It’s not my thing; what can I say? I think it’s because they are too hard for me to deal with. And this one, oh, this one, it’s even tougher, so even when such a tenure would deserve a long post, please do understand I need to keep this brief.
I was very excited and optimistic when I joined the Web Foundation in 2011 moving on from W3C and CTIC. It is a move I haven’t regretted a single moment. I’ve been the Foundation’s longest serving team member after 12 years there, and taking the decision to leave has been extremely difficult; I still feel a hole in my heart.
I have been Director of Programs (Open Data, then Digital Citizenship), Director of Strategy and Partnerships, Director of Strategy and Operations, and Interim CEO (twice!). This, combined with my years of tenure, means that I have participated in and managed quite a few exciting projects, worked with incredible partners, donors, board members and teammates and, of course, learned a thing or two along the way.
I reflected on my experiences on and about the Web in 2019 when we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Web. Towards the end of that year, we completed the Contract for the Web that I was managing and it was launched at the IGF in Berlin by Tim, the partners (big and small), and the team. One of the best memories I’ll keep about my years at WF.
I then handed it over and took a more inward-facing position where I thought the organization needed me the most, leading Operations and Strategy. This kept me very busy at the beginning of the pandemic, in which, as several donors and board members said: “we didn’t miss a beat” (I would say because the organization’s default state was/is online, remote, and decentralized). 2022 saw me taking the helm as CEO to re-shape strategy, and to rationalize activities and the organization as a whole to make it leaner and stronger. It was a very intense task to say the least that left me completely exhausted and in clear need for a break that I’m now taking. I’m going on a sabbatical for a few months, hoping to see new places, connect with old and new friends, reflect on the past and think about what to do next in my professional career.
There are so many people to thank… Please allow me to keep it to the three who made this amazing ride possible in the first place: my former W3C and Web Foundation colleague Stephane Boyera; former W3C and Web Foundation CEO Steve Bratt; and Sir Tim Berners-Lee. They were instrumental in allowing me to join the Web Foundation.
I’m moving on, but the Web Foundation will always have a very special place in my heart and I wish it every success in the future.
You have done some amazing work over the years and you have advanced the cause of making the world more open and equal. I doubt you are done and I expect to see you do more interesting things in coming years. All the best in your sabbatical and I hope you come to Kenya at some point.
Many thanks, Al. That’s very kind of you.