An internationally known open source advocate, speaker and author, Leslie Hawthorn has spent the last decade engaged in the human-focused bits of technology: community tending, software project management, marketing and public relations. In March 2012, she joined Red Hat, Inc., where she leads the team responsible for Community Action & Impact as part of the company’s Open Source and Standards Team, Office of the CTO. Prior to Red Hat, she served as Outreach Manager at Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab and as a Program Manager for Google’s Open Source Team, where she managed the Google Summer of Code Program, created the contest known as Google Code In and launched the company’s Open Source Developer Blog.
When not focusing on all things open source and community at Red Hat, Leslie is in the “save the world business” and works on side projects that make the world a better place. She serves as a Board Member for CASH Music, an open source platform that allows musician to more easily market their independently produced works, the Privly Foundation, an open source community project that gives users more control over how their data is shared and harvested from social networks, and the Sahana Software Foundation, a software platform that helps NGOs and first responders prepare for and react to humanitarian crises. She Tweets from @lhawthorn, blogs at http://hawthornlandings.org and makes an excellent chicken curry.
The technical benefits of the open source model are widely known: a wider pool of talent than any one company could bring to bear on a particular problem, the ability to focus more energy on key product differentiators rather than creating and maintaining foundational elements, and higher quality source code. From a technical perspective, open source has triumphed and ushered in a new era of development practices and methodologies that allow disparate groups with different and, often, conflicting agendas to work together effectively, creating better works, faster. Despite its successes, the practice of open source development remains challenging in many of its social aspects: achieving the best possible consensus amongst various parties, navigating the cultural differences inherent in working with a global team and dealing with contentious contributors. To put it another way, software and hardware are 'easy', people are difficult.
Drawing on years of experience working with hundreds of open source projects, Leslie Hawthorn will explore best practices for cultivating community cohesion, including:
* Creating consensus among different groups
* Mitigating conflicts that arise due to different cultural norms
* Smoothing the waters after hard conversations and arguments
With open source development as our lens, we will also examine how Negotiation Theory and Collaborative Communication can best be brought to bear in our communities. Attendees will be treated to an examination of real-world scenarios faced by various communities, an understanding of how these communities overcame their challenges and the ongoing work required to maintain community cohesion. Participants will leave with food for discussion on improving their own practices and armed with strategies for improving and strengthening their community relationships.