Hey civic hackers!

The new year is still fresh and Code for Philly already has plenty planned for this year. You’ll see more improvements in our weekly programming, thoughtful additions to new events, and in just a couple months we’ll bring back our month-long hackathon, Civic Engagement Launchpad. The biggest change, though, will be with our leadership team. Namely, this will be my final message as the Executive Director of Code for Philly. Don’t worry, this is good news :] Want the TL;DR? Scroll to the bottom.

Code for Philly is powered by the passionate dedication of many volunteers who work on projects, help support our events, and support brigade operations. Of these volunteers, some of the most integral are the people who step up to leadership roles. We’re excited to announce the newest changes for 2018, and as always welcome your feedback throughout the process.

Big changes

The entirety of our 2017 leadership team is ending their service as of April 1st. It’s been an exciting journey to lead Code for Philly during such a stage of growth. With our leadership team, we piloted the month-long hackathon format in late 2016 and we’ve seen the model picking up in popularity with redeploys by the state, Open Savannah, and most recently Open Delaware. We’ve also expanded our operations team to include working groups like our website refresh team - an important step to being community-driven as well as sustainability of the work. While there’s still more to go, I’m incredibly proud of the team’s accomplishments.

Code for Philly 2017 Leadership Team (photo credit: Chris Kendig)
Code for Philly 2017 Leadership Team (photo credit: Chris Kendig)

Senior leadership

Executive Director

This is the big one for me! After three years of service, I am stepping down as Executive Director to promote new leadership. After being in this role for three years, I’ve been fortunate to learn and grow at an incredible rate. It’s important to step up and do the work — it’s equally important to know when to step back and let others take the lead. Fortunately for me, I get to leave Code for Philly in the very capable hands of Rich McMillen.

I first came to Code for Philly in 2014 as a participant and quickly fell in love with the community. Throughout my time, I worked to provide Code for Philly financial stability, grow our community and its diversity, and develop strategic partnerships. I’m proud and grateful for all the accomplishments my time in leadership empowered me to achieve. I’m confident the new leadership team will take Code for Philly to a new level. I’m certainly not leaving the civic tech scene! This year my role will shift to be part of the National Advisory Council where I’ll focus on growing and sustaining brigades nationally.

My departure is effective April 1st, and I will continue to support Code for Philly as a senior advisor. Despite the short timeline, these changes are anything but rushed. I’ve worked closely with our entire team to plan succession for the last several months to ensure that we approach the transition strategically.

Rich will assume directorship on April 1st and the larger 2018 leadership team will assume their positions effective May 1st, 2018. In the interim, 2017 leads will transition and transfer knowledge with support from senior advisors.

Code for Philly Civic Engagement Launchpad 2017 (photo credit: Chris Kendig)
Code for Philly Civic Engagement Launchpad 2017 (photo credit: Chris Kendig)

The advisory board

We had ambitious notions for our advisory board, and their insights have been monumentally important for steering the direction of our long-term vision. Though we ultimately decided not to formalize Code for Philly organizationally, the advisory board played an important role in thinking about sustainability, programming, funding, partnerships, and leadership. We thank them for their service. Chris Alfano will continue to support Code for Philly as a senior advisor.

The leads

Our leadership team has been fundamental in building the community over the last year. They have been on the front lines shaping programming, planning events, matching new members and projects, and continuously getting feedback from members.

Jacqui Siotto, Pat Woods and Meghan Kelly are completing their service to Code for Philly. Jacqui has played a critical part in Code for Philly since she first came to a weekly event in early 2016. Her constant attention to serving the community has been tremendous. Pat first got started with Code for Philly by attending a hackathon in early 2016. His enthusiasm and work ethic made him an obvious choice for leadership. Since he took over the Communications Lead role, he has helped increase our social media presence and engagement to promote the work of our members. Meghan joined Code for Philly more recently and yet immediately brought so much insight and focus to our thinking. Meghan helped us improve how we deliver programming, think about our “users”, and structure our volunteer commitments. We are so grateful for the service of all of our leads, and we wish them the best!

Rich McMillen will transition to be one of the Code for Philly’s Co-Directors, overseeing the creation and recruitment of a new leadership team — including the other open Co-Director position.

Big opportunities

With big changes come big opportunities. With much of the leadership team departing, it means there will be many new opportunities for new leadership to shape the Code for Philly community. I highly recommend taking on the challenge and hope that you consider joining the organizing team. For me, taking leadership at Code for Philly was transformational — it helped make me the person I am today. And, it was how I broke into the tech scene! The people I’ve built relationships are not just other volunteers, they’ve become true friends.

Keep an eye out for the open leadership team postings!

Code for Philly's first month-long hackathon in 2016, City as a Service (photo credit: Chris Kendig)
Code for Philly's first month-long hackathon in 2016, City as a Service (photo credit: Chris Kendig)


You’re a busy person, so here’s the scoop in a few bullet points:

  • Our 2017 leadership team is changing! Dawn McDougall (Executive Director) is stepping down from leadership and her position will be replaced by two Co-Director positions
  • Dawn will become a senior advisor to Code for Philly and representative for the Code for America National Advisory Council (NAC)
  • Rich McMillen (Projects) is stepping into a Co-Director role for 2018 — he’s actively building the new leadership team for 2018, including recruiting a second Co-Director
  • Jacqui Siotto (Community), Meghan Kelly (Events), and Pat Woods (Communications) are ending their service at Code for Philly — we thank them so, so much for all of their efforts during their time with us
  • The advisory board was dissolved at the end of 2017 and is not continuing in 2018
  • Chris Alfano will stay on as a senior advisor
  • Our Civic Engagement Launchpad is coming back! An announcement with details coming very soon…
  • Stay tuned for how you can join the 2018 team. We’ll be looking for community managers, event planners, and project advisors