Dec 18 2015

3 Years, 7 Months: A Final Letter to Hive NYC

Hive NYC, Mozilla

Dear Hive NYC,

Recently, I was presented with a professional opportunity to which I could not say no—an offer to join the team at Girls Who Code as its VP, Innovation & Strategy. I’ve always known it would take a unique and compelling offer to entice me away from Mozilla, Hive NYC, and all of you—and for me this is certainly it. After over three years working to broadly connect and find intersections between themes, practices and organizations across NYC, I’m excited to work more directly with the complexities of gender and equity, and to explicitly target the next generation of computer scientists and engineers through a national organization like Girls Who Code.

The decision to step down as director was a difficult, and highly personal one. As I deliberated, there were two factors that I continually returned to that ultimately bolstered my decision. One was the strong ties and resiliency that you continually demonstrate as a community. In the face of a shifting Digital Media and Learning landscape, you remain grounded, youth-focused, and staunchly irreverent. Nowhere was this more clearly demonstrated than at the 2015 State of the Hive meet-up, when you reemphasized our shared goals and values as a community.

Another factor in my decision was my confidence in the team at Hive HQ. During a year in which we experienced a reduction in staff but no such contraction in our ambition, Julia Vallera stood out as a collaborative and insightful leader, co-designing programs and connecting members with quiet aplomb. My certainty also stems from the fact that Hive HQ is once again growing its NYC-focused team and launching new initiatives. In the past two months alone, we’ve hired Dr. Sarah Zeller-Berkman to lead the Building Connected Credentials work and Joey Azoulai as a community coordinator. In January, Mozilla will advertise for a newly-designed role that will manage and support the network and by month’s end a new portfolio strategist will join the team. In addition to these recent hires, Mozilla Brooklyn still boasts stalwart Hive NYC alumnae like Chris Lawrence, Meghan McDermott, and Lainie DeCoursy.

15562841628_1ca7388abd_kWhether it was unpacking difficult decisions in a post-RFP exit interview, hammering out a new idea via text message, or reflecting on promising network practices at a funders convening, it has been a great pleasure and honor to work with (and advocate for) all of you these past three years and seven months. Taken together and as individuals, you are a testament to what people can achieve when they are aligned around complementary goals and supported through intentional structures that encourage them to explore, create, share, and build.

In my final blog post, A Final Round of Hive Watching, I’ll reflect more specifically on trends in the network and what lies ahead. In the meantime, if you’d like to say so long, or hear more about the plans in place for Hive NYC. Join me and the transition team at 2p on January 6, 2016, for my final community call on my last day as Hive NYC director.

Yours,

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Leah Gilliam

Director, Hive NYC Learning Network

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