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RFC: PyLadies Global Council Selection Process #32

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lorenanicole opened this issue Oct 18, 2019 · 18 comments

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@lorenanicole
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@lorenanicole lorenanicole commented Oct 18, 2019

PyLadies Global Council Selection Process

Overview

The Global Interim PyLadies group closed the RFC for proposing a PyLadies Global Governance Model on September 15, 2019 - #11 and we will be moving to the next stage of the process.

In this next stage, below we have proposed three approaches for how to select the Global council. Initial questions have been outlined below and we will be updating this document with more details on the proposals and in the questions section as feedback is received.

This RFC will close on November 18, 2019 23:59:59 Anywhere on Earth.

Please circulate this with any and all PyLadies members.

Qualifications

Any self-identifying PyLadies member can propose themselves for the council, provided the requirements below. If nominating another person for election, that individual must be a self-identifying PyLadies member and their consent will be required (e.g. an email sent to the person and they consent to participate).

Additional requirements to consider:

  • Proficiency in English (historically English is the language this work has been done in)
  • Ability to participate in a regularly scheduled meeting; to start monthly
  • Reasonably responsive on email, GitHub, and Slack
  • A PyLadies member with at least 2 years experience in the community

Length of Term

The council will have 9 seats. To ensure that new council members onboarding is smooth and institutional knowledge is not lot, council members will have staggered term lengths. Initially, 4 of the council members will hold a term of 1 year with the option to seek an additional term. The last 5 will hold a term of 2 years with the option to seek an additional term.

The length of a term is subject to change given the input of the PyLadies Global Council members.

Diversity and Inclusion Requirements

The PyLadies Global Council will be made initially of 9 members with no one country of residence representing more than 33% of the council during a given council cohort. Other diversity and inclusion requirements will not be mandated in an explicit policy as these requirements can change over time and the end goal is to promote community involvement and feedback.

Proposals

Proposal 1: Elections

Selecting the PyLadies Global council with elections will emulate the Python Software Foundation council of Directors Elections in the process including:

Phase 1: Individuals to propose themselves or another party to last roughly 4 weeks
Phase 2: Voting to last roughly 4 weeks

The timelines provided here are placeholders since only if this proposal selected will a timeline be better detailed. Registration additionally for voting will be determined in a separate proposal.

Proposal 2: Nominations

Selecting the PyLadies Global council with nominations can happen either through self-nomination or nominating another PyLadies self-identifying member. An application will be made available through PyLadies, for example on the website.

Proposal 3: Blend of Election + Nomination

Selecting the PyLadies Global council with elections and nominations would require that some subset of seats are appointed with the rest are elected. This proposal can allow for more fine-tuning for diversity and inclusion considerations while also allowing the PyLadies Global council to backfill seats as needed should members step down.

Again, timeline for an election, how many seats would be appointed through which mechanism and registration for voting will be determined in a separate proposal.

Questions

  • Why would a Council member need to be a PyLadies member with at least 2 years experience in the community?

We are looking to make this council as inclusive as possible, so restricting to a specific type of PyLady member (e.g. an organizer) would limit our efforts in this. Additionally, it is important that we have PyLady members on the council that have that has some historical context of the community.

  • What is the adequate length of time a council member should serve?

One thing we need to consider is this initial council will have many firsts they will be taking on. As the initial cohort, we need a council body that is able to commit for a minimum requirement (ergo at least 1 year). Additionally making the requirement a bit soft (that is at least 1 year) allows there to be some overlap for when council members leave and new council members join. There's a real danger that if all council members leave at the same time we may lose precious institutional knowledge, have too many new people and therefore lose progress in sustaining ongoing work, and overall create instability for the council. Therefore, as a requirement seasoned council members should be actively involved in onboarding and mentoring new council members.

Let's look to the Python Software Foundation (PSF) for an example. On the PSF, board members use to be elected to terms of 1 year then all seats were up for re-election. This greatly hurt knowledge retention, led to inactivity due to confusion from what board members can do / learning how to even be a board member, and overall progress made on work suffered. In 2017 the PSF moved to tiered elections, where every year ~ 1/3 of the seats are up for re-election and terms last 3 years. You can read this here in the Python Software Foundation Bylaws 5.5 Election and Term of At Large Directors.

  • What diversity and inclusion considerations should we explicitly consider?

The following should be considered:

  1. Regional diversity -- no more than 33% of the board should come from the same region
  • What additional requirements should be asked of anyone considering joining the PyLadies Global Council? For example, do we want to require that council members have been organizers for a chapter for some period of time?

  • How will nominations, that is a Council member who is selected by a means other than direct election, be reviewed and selected?

For determining council members from a nomination process, for the initial council we could:

  1. the interim global group could receive nominations via submission of a web form
  2. again any nominations that aren't self-nominations require approval from that person
  3. the interim global group can review over a period of time and select those nominations
    selection will follow the list of guidelines defined in the issue above as well as diversity and inclusion requirements (e.g. not all members be from one same country)

Right now those in the interim global group are experienced organizers of established PyLadies chapters from around the world. We should definitely continue to ensure that group has proper regional representation.

After the initial council is selected, any nominations received would be reviewed and selected by the council.

@melostbr

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@melostbr melostbr commented Oct 23, 2019

A PyLadies member with at least 2 years experience in the community

Would it mean someone that is a leader of a chapter or could it be someone that is contributing as mentor or etc?

@gise

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@gise gise commented Oct 24, 2019

+1 to @melostbr question, I have the same doubt.

About the length of time a council member should serve, I think the propose period of 1 year is good with at most 2 consecutive terms in the council, adding up to 2 consecutive years at most. I think 4 consecutive years sounds excessive (this would result from having a 2 year seat and reelection).

I really like the location diversity effort. I'd add that we should aim to have one person per "area" if possible. Where "area" could be something defined by us but encapsulating the idea of group of countries with similar challenges and resources (e.g. Latin America, Europe, USA&Canada, etc).

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@trallard trallard commented Oct 24, 2019

It does not necessarily need to be a chapter organiser/leader but someone that is actively involved in the wider Python community. Some examples are: events organisation (i.e. conference, meetups), mentoring folks in the community, attending Python related events, etc.
The intention was to keep this as broad as possible rather than gatekeeping to "pyladies events/chapters " only

@lorenanicole

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@lorenanicole lorenanicole commented Oct 24, 2019

@gise some of the below has been added to the questions section in the issue above and we will continue to update as we have more discussion, thank you for your feedback!

However now in response to:

About the length of time a council member should serve, I think the propose period of 1 year is good with at most 2 consecutive terms in the council, adding up to 2 consecutive years at most. I think 4 consecutive years sounds excessive (this would result from having a 2 year seat and reelection).

One thing we need to consider is this initial council will have many firsts they will be taking on. As the initial cohort, we need a council body that is able to commit for a minimum requirement (ergo at least 1 year). Additionally making the requirement a bit soft (that is at least 1 year) allows there to be some overlap for when council members leave, and new council members join. If all council members leave at the same time we are confronted with the problem that we may lose precious institutional knowledge, have too many new people and therefore lose progress in sustaining ongoing work, and overall create instability for the council.

On the note of individual(s) serving more than 1 term, this too is a bit difficult. Instituting a hard limit I think is a bit premature, at least initially, as we do not know how the selection policy will be. I think this it is a very valid concern that we do not want to encourage stagnation in the council members population. Where I think we should should is to provide: 1.) a baseline of how long an initial term is serve and 2.) permit the option of seeking another term, if one wishes to. This leaves it open to the council to change policies as it sees fit (e.g. before the initial cohort has completed their initial terms).

Why am I advocating for this? Let me provide you an example from the Python Software Foundation (PSF).

On the PSF board members use to be elected to terms of 1 year then all seats were up for re-election. This greatly hurt knowledge retention, led to inactivity due to confusion from what board members can do / learning how to even be a board member, and overall progress made on work suffered. In 2017 the PSF moved to tiered elections, where every year ~ 1/3 of the seats are up for re-election and terms last 3 years. You can read this here in the Python Software Foundation Bylaws 5.5 Election and Term of At Large Directors (snippet below):

Upon completion of the term beginning after the 2017 elections, directors shall be elected for a three-year term, unless they are replacing a director that resigned or was removed, in which case such replacement directors shall be elected to a term sufficient to complete a three-year term as measured from the term of the original cohort. Replacement directors shall be chosen in order of the number of votes received, with the longest terms of service being allocated to candidates according to the number of votes received.

R-Ladies has no fixed limit in length of term or terms overall for their global body (which is the inspiration for this council model #11). Many foundations actually have longer requirements for council members / board members to balance innovation with stability.

@lorenanicole

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@lorenanicole lorenanicole commented Oct 24, 2019

@gise responding to:

I really like the location diversity effort. I'd add that we should aim to have one person per "area" if possible. Where "area" could be something defined by us but encapsulating the idea of group of countries with similar challenges and resources (e.g. Latin America, Europe, USA&Canada, etc).

Yes! I am a bit biased to the council being selected with Proposal 3: Blend of Election + Nomination. I think this would provide us as an organization an easier way to mitigate the concern you raise about there being stagnation in the members of the council as well as having overrepresentation of specific members in the council.

I also really love the idea of the group defining what these requirements are for how the board ought to be built.

Question - do you think it would be best to start with a geographic requirement on the council? If so, what do you think would be a good recommendation for how we define the geographic areas?

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@gise gise commented Oct 26, 2019

One thing we need to consider is this initial council will have many firsts they will be taking on. As the initial cohort, we need a council body that is able to commit for a minimum requirement (ergo at least 1 year). Additionally making the requirement a bit soft (that is at least 1 year) allows there to be some overlap for when council members leave, and new council members join. If all council members leave at the same time we are confronted with the problem that we may lose precious institutional knowledge, have too many new people and therefore lose progress in sustaining ongoing work, and overall create instability for the council.

This is a very valid point! I haven't thought of it. I understand now why the proposed mixed duration lengths and I agree.

Regarding your concern of adding a 2 consecutive terms max limit too prematurely, do you feel we may have insufficient people that might want to be in the council? My initial idea was that people could reapply after, just not indefinite consecutive terms.

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@gise gise commented Oct 26, 2019

Question - do you think it would be best to start with a geographic requirement on the council?

I think it would be preferable although we need to have a back up plan in case there are no nominations/volunteers for a specific area. It's an effort worth pursuing in my opinion as it would create a good space to voice and think about the different conditions, motivations and resources that PyLadies have around the world.

If so, what do you think would be a good recommendation for how we define the geographic areas?

My initial idea for how to define the geographic areas was a combination of:

  • Geographical proximity.
  • Similar resources and challenges.

The geographical proximity could give us a first division i.e.: Africa, Asia, Central & South America, North America, Europe, Middle East, Oceania. We could fine-tune this division if we have more local knowledge. For example a valid question to ask might be country X is in the limit between areas A and B, technically is in area A but resources-wise and challenges-wise is more similar to area B. What shall we do in that scenario?

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@lorenanicole lorenanicole commented Oct 27, 2019

@gise regarding:

My initial idea was that people could reapply after, just not indefinite consecutive terms.

Definitely agree on this! The language probably needs to be improved to clarify that. I’ll update!!!

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@Mariatta Mariatta commented Oct 30, 2019

I'm unclear on how the "nomination" process work. Does everyone who were nominated automatically becomes council member, until we have 9 people? or is there a different process for choosing who to be selected among the nominees?

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@lorenanicole lorenanicole commented Oct 30, 2019

I'm unclear on how the "nomination" process work. Does everyone who were nominated automatically becomes council member, until we have 9 people? or is there a different process for choosing who to be selected among the nominees?

@Mariatta regarding the above, great question! To be clear the word nomination means those that are not selected by a direct vote but through some other nomination process.

For determining council members from a nomination process, for the initial council we could:

  • the interim global group could receive nominations via submission of a web form
  • again any nominations that aren't self-nominations require approval from that person
  • the global group can review over a period of time and select those nominations
  • selection will follow the list of guidelines defined in the issue above as well as diversity and inclusion requirements (e.g. not all members be from one same country)

Right now those in the interim global group are experienced organizers of established PyLadies chapters from around the world. We should definitely continue to ensure that group has proper regional representation.

After the initial council is selected, any nominations received would be reviewed and selected by the council.

What do you think?

@lorenanicole

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@lorenanicole lorenanicole commented Oct 30, 2019

Something @willingc raised in the #33 ticket is worth raising it -- particularly what is the stance of the Council on communication requirements. Proficiency in English makes the Council less inclusive. Can we invest in translation software and volunteers to help if we have Council members that aren't as versed in English?

Does anyone have suggestions or seen this work in practice?

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@pyladiesowerri pyladiesowerri commented Nov 1, 2019

@lorenanicole The monthly meeting mentioned above, is it an online thing or facial meeting.

And how do we nomination someone(I mean, what is the platform for the nomination)?

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@trallard trallard commented Nov 1, 2019

@pyladiesowerri the meeting is online. We usually run these at 6pm BST time (10:00am PDT / 12:00pm CDT) but there is also an ongoing issue #16 to discuss other times

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@treasurechristain treasurechristain commented Nov 1, 2019

Please which place are we doing the nomination?

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@lorenanicole lorenanicole commented Nov 1, 2019

@treasurechristain @pyladiesowerri as of right now we are only discussing how the selection process works. We haven't decided on when or where the nomination / election will happen.

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@jackiekazil jackiekazil commented Nov 1, 2019

I think I am biased towards Proposal 3 as well. I wonder if that is something like 4 seats to election and 5 seats to "appointed" (maybe with nominations, from others or self-declared, taken into consideration first -- because you want the people to be engaged in the role, but also reach out).

The blended model falls apart a little bit in the staggered elections, unless it is something like.... 2 elected people at 2 year terms, 2 get 1 year, then some how the 5 appointed are divided among 2/1 as well.

Unless I missed it, is there anything about who is eligible to vote? (I didn't see anything, but maybe I missed it.)

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@lorenanicole lorenanicole commented Nov 1, 2019

Haaaaaaaa @jackiekazil that's a great thing we should talk about. My thought was we should open next Nov 18 to Dec 18 an issue for discussing election (and thereby voting), if an election is indeed chosen.

@lorenanicole lorenanicole referenced this issue Nov 1, 2019
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@jackiekazil

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@jackiekazil jackiekazil commented Nov 11, 2019

Another proposal. This one came from a friend.

The proposal is to add "observers". Observers are invited by board members. Observers are non-voting members, but have the power to advise/influence the direction of opinions/votes of the person who invited them (or the group) depending on their status. The Council members are the voting members and each only have one vote. The Observers do not have voting rights.

^^ Throwing this out there. I could see how this could be helpful in being more inclusive, but also could be talked out of it.

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