About Me: 

I've described myself as a cuckoo. I was dropped into the nest of opensource folks 10 years ago, and ended up making it my family. I'm that fellow who took a different path in making a technology career. I think that describes a lot of us in the Drupal community though. My background is in Theatre and Visual Arts. However, I have a certification in non-profit management and my Master's focused on technology and governance. This is the VERY reason you should re-elect me to the Drupal Association Board. If you want the shaggy dog story of how I found my way to Drupal, this is how it happened. (I think the read is worth the time.) When I completed my degree at Bishops University in Quebec Canada, I had a pretty marketable skill.

  • I could read lighting plans for the theatre and I could hang and focus lighting instruments.
  • I knew the difference between a fresnel and parcan.
  • I knew how to run a followspot and how it differed from an ellipsoidal.
  • I knew that a gel wasn't something that you put in your hair and a gobo wasn't really a character from Fraggle Rock.

I supplemented my income as a bookstore manager with lighting work. I did pretty well at it, but quickly realised that the hours were hectic and the work was exhausting. I enrolled at the University of Ottawa and completed a certification in Arts Administration and I focused on Nonprofit Organizational Management. One of the main requirements at the end of the program was to work in an Arts Organization for several months. I found work at an experimental dance company in Ottawa, Canada called Le Groupe de La Place Royale and quickly dug into helping produce marketing materials for the annual fund raiser called "The Edge". The year I worked "The Edge", the team had set up a wonderful experiment between dance companies across cities to allow real time collaboration over high speed video link. I want to point out that this work was being done in 1995 - it wasn't the norm. It was mind blowing.


My life changed in that moment.


I had been accepted at Virginia Tech to complete an MFA with a focus on Marketing. When I arrived at the school, I explained what had happened in Ottawa and how it changed my perspective. I explained I wanted to work using bleeding edge technology to create multi-cast immersive works that would allow for real time interaction between performers and audiences who were distributed. In retrospect, I know where my love for distributed teams really came from. I produced three pieces of work over a two year period and promptly started my professional career in the Department of Continuing Education teaching the use of Internet Technologies for artists and nonprofits.

So a quick recap of my Education:

  • Bishops University - BA in Fine Arts and Theatre
  • University of Ottawa - Certificate in Arts Administration with a focus on Nonprofit Organizational Management
  • Virginia Tech - MFA in Theatre with a focus on Nonprofit Organizational Management and Technology

I flourished early on with a non-profit called the Western States Arts Federation. This is a nonprofit arts organization that has focused on building custom PHP MySQL applications for other nonprofits, NGOs, and government entities. I was hired as the Senior Director of Technology and I also ran the grants program there for a time. I was the architect of systems like CultureGrants Online, ZAPP, CaFE, ArtistsRegister, and ArtJob. I managed a distributed team who developed the applications. I worked with the Board of Directors. I learned of Board dynamics and how a Board worked. I did this from 1999 - 2007.

In 2006 I found Drupal while exploring how to build Custom PHP MySQL applications more efficiently and became friends (and a student) of the Bryght guys and gals and with Raincity Studios. In 2007, I made the move to Drupal 100% when I joined pingVision. In the days after pingVision, I co-founded a small boutique Drupal Shop called Vintage Digital. My role has been as the business manager, business developer, and project manager - this small company still exists and is a microcosm of excellence. All of this segued into the most crazy, fun, and intense time of my life with Examiner.com where I was the shepherd of an amazing team of developers. We did good work. I worked for a short time with Trellon as CTO. After that, I was the acting COO for Five Rings Web. I spent two and half years as VP of Project management with Aten Design Group. Currently, my main focus is as Engineering Lead for Pfizer's Health Care Provider Portal Platform. So, I've worked as an independent contractor, as leadership in agencies, a founder of a Drupal shop, in Media, and in the Corporate world.

A quick recap of my Technology work history:

  • Pfizer - Engineering Lead
  • Aten Design Group - VP of Project Management
  • Five Rings Web - COO
  • Trellon LLC - CTO
  • Examiner.com - Senior Director of Technology
  • Vintage Digital LLC - Co-Founder and Principal
  • pingVision - Senior Web Producer and Operations Manager
  • Western States Arts Federation - Senior Director of Technology
  • Virginia Tech - Internet Trainer in Department of Continuing Education, Research Associate, Lab Mechanic, Graduate Assistant

This sets up two pieces of the puzzle. I have the education for nonprofit management - with exposure to governance. I have the experience in technology. There is a third leg to this stool -- my experiences as a volunteer. I was the VP of the PTA for my kid's school. I was on that Board for a couple of years. For the last four years, I have sat on the Board of Directors for the 501(c)3 that governs Crown Pointe Academy. I was part of the policy committee for the school and was central in rewriting several of the policies for the non-profit. I have also been the elected board At Large Board member with the Drupal Association for the last two years. One more recap:

  • Board of Directors for Drupal Association
  • Board of Directors for Crown Pointe Academy
  • Policy Committee for Crown Pointe Academy
  • Local organization committee for Drupalcon Denver
  • Lead on the Drupalcamp Colorado organizing Board
  • 8 years at the Western States Arts Federation, a nonprofit technology organization
  • Writing since 2004 on nonprofits, technology, open source, and Drupal

I'm committed to Drupal, I have board experience in multiple capacities, I worked directly with the Drupal Association, and I have governance experience. You add to that the education and the technology background, it paints a picture.

  • 20 years in the technology space
  • 18 years in the open source space
  • 8 years of nonprofit management including grant making and board management
  • 9 years in the Drupal community
  • 2 University programs in non-profit management

Let me know if you have questions regarding my experiences - I'd be happy to answer them. I really hope you'll look at my overall experiences and my commitment and come to a conclusion. Saunders is somebody I should vote for.  Please help me by sharing this across your social networks. I NEED YOUR HELP!


Board meeting attendence: 
Have you served on a board or committee?: 
If so, tell us about it.: 
I served on the Drupal Association board from 2013 through 2016 as a Community Member. I served on the Crown Pointe Academy Board (http://www.crownpointeacademy.org) from 2012 through 2016 in the capacities of Community Member, Secretary, and Vice President. I UNDERSTAND nonprofits and nonprofit governance. There are main three legal responsibilities for boards of nonprofits in the U.S. - the specific statutes vary a little from State to State. The long and short is, if you are coming into a Board position with your own agenda, an axe to grind, and a desire to change the way things are being done, it will end up being an exercise in futility for both you and the rest of the team. No single Board member has any real "power", a board acts as a single unit to make strategic decisions. Once those decisions are made, they must speak as one even if personally you disagree with the decision made.
What perspective will you bring to the board when discussing strategic topics?: 
I am part owner of a small digital consultancy and am self employed. I understand the business of open source and bring a deep and wide knowledge of non-profits. I have experience with budgets and finance. I also already understand the Drupal Association.
What existing board topics are you most passionate about? and why?: 
I have a deep love of good governance, process and policy. For both the Association and the School, I was a member of the Governance Committee and have been involved in reviewing and renewing policy documents for both.
What additional strategic topics would you like to introduce?: 
Drupal is an international Open Source project with the need for voices all around the world. While I live in the United States, I am also Canadian and British. I'm a first generation North American - my parents both came from Europe. I'd like to continue the good work the Association has spearheaded around inclusiveness and increasing the reach of Drupal all around the world.
What unique skills would you bring to the board?: 
I understand technology, nonprofits, and boards.
How have your past contributions to Drupal prepared you for board candidacy?: 
My contributions are largely not in code. I have served on the Drupal Association board in the past, I help organize and run events, and I speak at Drupalcons and Camps. * Member of the Drupal Association * Helped organize and run Meetups in Boulder from 2007 through 2009 * Helped with documentation * Contributed to discussions on governance and marketing * Was on the local committee for Drupalcon Denver and became a Volunteer Wrangler and the Customer Service Wrangler * Helped organize and volunteered at Drupalcamp Colorado - starting with the second camp * Keynoted at Drupalcamp Austin * Presented at Camps, Cons, and Meetups * Blogged on the business of Drupal * Evangelized the adoption of Drupal * Served previously on the Drupal Association Board
Why should we vote for you?: 
I believe in service, contribution, and the greater good. We should all give where our strengths lie. I've spent most of my professional life managing software projects, managing non-profits, and engaging in good governance with and on non-profit boards. Drupal has supported my family for the better part of a decade. It is deeply rooted in my identity now. Some of my best friends, supporters, and colleagues have come from this community. You have supported me, and I want to continue to support you. While I started experimenting with Drupal in 2006 it really became the way I've earn my living in 2007. When I started participating in the community, first by attending meetups but later by making presentations, evangelizing, contributing a bit to documentation, engaging in governance discussions for the community, and helping organize events, what I gave came back double. This deepened my commitment to the community as a whole. When I've had challenges, suggestions and help are only as far away as an IRC client, skype, or slack. What have I done in service to the community? * Member of the Drupal Association * Helped organize and run Meetups in Boulder from 2007 through 2009 * Helped with documentation * Contributed to discussions on governance and marketing * Was on the local committee for Drupalcon Denver and became a Volunteer Wrangler and the Customer Service Wrangler * Helped organize and volunteered at Drupalcamp Colorado - starting with the second camp * Keynoted at Drupalcamp Austin * Presented at Camps, Cons, and Meetups * Blogged on the business of Drupal * Evangelized the adoption of Drupal * Served previously on the Drupal Association Board I hope that you plan on voting in the elections and that you'll consider me as someone that can represent your interests. Please tweet, Facebook, and Google+ these posts. I need as much help as I can get to spread the word! I also need your vote. I would be honoured to represent the Community as an At Large Board Member once again, if you would be willing to place that trust in me. My love and respect of our "Team" transcends just a job and extends to some of my deepest friendships. If you want to talk to me about my candidacy - please find me on IRC j_matthew_s or in Skype jmatthewsaunders or you could even call me +1(720) 254-1546.

Questions for the Candidate

roshan_shah’s picture

How would you support inclusiveness of other countries and companies in decision making of Drupal Association?