This year, the Code for America Brigade program turns four, and to celebrate we’re introducing a new national advisory council to advise on a sustainable model to support this work. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been discussing, ideating and collaborating on how we collectively architect the network for the greatest inclusion and impact. Read, An Open Letter to the Code for America Brigades , for more context.
The national advisory council marks the end of a 10 month research and co-creation process , but represents the beginning of a new governance structure that will increase our ability to function more effectively together while preserving the strength of local communities.
The decision to form the national advisory council is the culmination of numerous conference calls, shared Google Documents, Slack messages, hours of thoughtful conversations and honest feedback from the Brigade leaders and members, Code for America’s staff and board, and friends.
We are excited to take this next step with you. This not only represents a truly co-created decision, but a tribute to how far this network has grown and evolved.
About the national advisory council
The national advisory council will be made up of nine members who will meet monthly. Their role will be to help to guide the direction of the Brigade network. The responsibilities of the council will include things like:
- Serving as a bridge between local groups and the national network— sharing stories and reporting successes and challenges
- Ensuring Brigade initiatives respect the position and needs of the local chapters
- Establishing policies and plans for growth, communications, event guidelines, local governance, etc.
- Helping to facilitate knowledge sharing across Brigades
- Upholding the network’s code of conduct, reviewing violations, and advising on actions
- Advising on network-wide funding decisions and needs
- Establishing partnerships with complementary organizations
- Nominations for the national advisory council were open to current and previous core team members from August 25th to September 9th. We received 17 nominations.
- Voting for the national advisory council is open to the broader civic tech community and will be open from September 19th to September 30th. You can vote here.
- The national advisory council’s first remote meeting will be held in October.
- The national advisory council’s first in-person meeting will be held in November at Code for America’s Summit in Oakland.
Meet our nominees
Chris Alfano, Code for Philly
Chris, a self-trained coder, was first exposed to civic hacking providing direct support to urban teachers and students at the Science Leadership Academy —a public high school where learning is reimagined for the 21st century. This led to founding the Slate project , an open-source family that now powers innovative schools in the Philadelphia, Detroit, and Newark. Chris went on to help found and currently serves as CTO for Jarvus , an impact-driven software consultancy that now funds and manages the Slate project alongside many other community efforts in Philadelphia. As a founder of one of the original brigades, Chris has worked to define and evolve the purpose of brigades from the beginning.
Jill Bjers, Code for Charlotte
Jill started out as a writer and community organizer, working on various projects such as the Olympics and multiple DNCs. She sharpened her cat-herding skills as she began advocating within Charlotte’s technology and startup communities. Currently, she serves as organizer to TEDxCharlotte, Charlotte Startup Weekend and is the Co-Founder/Executive Director for Code for Charlotte. Jill is also Co-owner of Xorcode and Founder of Foodles with her husband, Torgny. She has been honored to speak on behalf of the State Department on technology, community organizing, entrepreneurism and civic engagement around the world and loves mentoring and sharing her experience.
Terry Creamer, Code for DC
Terry is a web developer helping oversee Code For DC’s project portfolio. Recognized as the friendly face leading the new person orientation each meetup, he understands how essential providing a reliable platform is for communities to grow and projects to flourish. When not working or volunteering with Code For DC he gets his kicks from silly difficult workouts, rewatching The West Wing, and googling new slow-cooker recipes.
Vyki Englert, Hack for LA
Vyki is a data nerd, cartographer, and cyclist who fell in love with Los Angeles after landing in downtown in 2012. Raised in a college town in Florida, she was introduced to advocacy early and has found herself pushing for change in a world that often shies away from progress. In 2014, Vyki cofounded Compiler LA, a civic tech consultancy dedicated to building a better Los Angeles. Previously Vyki worked at NationBuilder building a national voter file to empower smarter campaigns.
Jason Hibbets, Code for Raleigh
Jason Hibbets is a senior community evangelist in Corporate Marketing at Red Hat where he is a community manager for Opensource.com. He has been with Red Hat since 2003 and is the author of The foundation for an open source city. Follow him on Twitter: @jhibbets . Jason graduated from North Carolina State University and resides in Raleigh, NC. He has been applying open source principles in neighborhood organizations in Raleigh for several years, highlighting the importance of transparency, collaboration, and community building. In his spare time, he enjoys surfing, running, gardening, traveling, watching football, participating in local government, co-chairing CityCamp NC, blogging for South West Raleigh, and spending time with his Border Collies. He heads to the beaches of North Carolina during hurricane season to ride the waves.
Noel Hidalgo, BetaNYC
Since 2009, Noel Hidalgo has participated as part of a collaborative leadership team leading NYC’s civic technology and open data community. This team has established BetaNYC as the city’s premier civic hacking community. In the aftermath of super storm Sandy, Noel helped lead a team of civic hackers to reconnect NYC’s coworking and start up community. This effort led him to join the Code for America Brigade team and outline its core values. Now, he seeks to leverage these experiences and ensure our future Brigade community is built with and for our diverse municipal needs.
Nick Kaufmann, Code for Maine
Social Science and Urbanism enthusiast passionate about building civic hacking community in small cities, rural regions, and ordinary places. Enjoys connecting people and telling stories through writing and radio. Find him on Twitter: @nickkauf
Andrew Kozlik, Code for Orlando
Andrew grew up in Orlando and is happy to be able to give back to the City he loves. In addition to co-captaining Code for Orlando he runs an iOS meetup and leads an engineering team for UniKey Technologies.
James Lockridge, Code for BTV (Burlington, Vermont)
James helped establish Code for BTV in 2013 and has directed Vermont’s Burlington-based independent, volunteer-staffed music office, Big Heavy World, for 20 years. He’s a cultural heritage advisory board member of the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (Vermont’s National Heritage Area) and serves on the King Street Neighborhood Revitalization Corp. He directs the Youth Safety Council of Vermont and coordinates the Distracted Driving Task Force of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance and its Education/Outreach & Marketing Focus Group. James has championed inclusion and respect for diversity and been visionary in combining widely different community stakeholder interests into successful collaborations.
Neil Planchon, OpenOakland
Neil is a dedicated OpenOakland volunteer who has been part of its leadership team since its beginning. As the Volunteer Director, he oversees the on-boarding process and helps everyone understand who OpenOakland is and how they can contribute. He is passionate about enabling civic engagement to enhance citizen communications, improve government infrastructure, and generally improve the public good.
As 2.Oakland‘s Director, he is committed to their mission to create a healthy tech and innovation ecosystem in Oakland and the East Bay. Through programs and events he supports existing businesses as well as help companies that wish to locate here.
Neil is a seasoned Life Coach who helps individuals redefine what is possible in their lives, their relationships, their work and their communities. He is passionate about helping his clients improve their personal leadership, productivity, and happiness, and to find their own answers and create a balanced life with more productivity, fun and ease.
He is a founding resident of a San Francisco Bay Area Cohousing community, has served on The Cohousing Association of the US’ board where he has held several staff positions.
Neil uses his knowledge, skills, connections and experience to build and strengthen community, grows organizations, improve lives, augments and creates professional opportunities.
Luigi Ray-Montanez, Code for Atlanta
Luigi serves as co-captain of Code for Atlanta, helping launch the group in 2014. He’s currently a software engineer at Vox Media, and previously worked at the Sunlight Foundation. He has been a proud civic hacker since 2008.
Matt Richardson, HackMKE (Milwaukee)
Milwaukee-based entrepreneur, digital advocate and business consultant who works with organizations to help them bring innovation & efficiency to their people, process or products. Focuses on building social enterprise capacity, product discovery, facilitation, human centered design and data-driven decision making to end inequity in the world.
Harlan Weber, Code for Boston
Harlan Weber is a user experience designer, ethnographic researcher, community organizer, and NASA fanboy. Harlan serves the people of Massachusetts as the Director of Design & Service Innovation on the Digital Services team at MassIT, the state IT department in Massachusetts. He joined the Commonwealth government as part of the inaugural class of Commonwealth Innovation Fellows in 2014 after eight years in the private sector working on design projects ranging from web and mobile apps to industrial equipment to brand strategies. Harlan is also the founder at Code for Boston, and has served as Brigade Captain since 2012.
If you are interested in voting for the national advisory council, please submit your votes here .
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Brigade team at firstname.lastname@example.org.