So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Fish? What?

When one struggles with the words to say “goodbye,” one steals from someone else. Per Wikipedia:

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish is the fourth book of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy” written by Douglas Adams. Its title is the message left by the dolphins when they departed Planet Earth just before it was demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass, as described in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The phrase has since been adopted by some science fiction fans as a humorous way to say “goodbye.”

A bit hyperbolic, sure, but you get the idea.

I’ve been President of dsmHack since the very beginning in 2013. During that time, the organization has changed so many lives for the better and has had a huge impact on our community. As a co-founder of the organization, it’s like I’ve watched my baby grow up, develop a personality and learn to walk without holding my hand. My heart is full of equal parts pride, sadness and excitement as I step down President of dsmHack after five years.

In those five years, dsmHack has built a community of people that not only believe in and support our mission but that are willing to step up and make sure that our vision is a reality. It is only through the generosity and boundless energy of our volunteers and nonprofit partners that we are able to make the impacts that we have on the community, and for that, we are brimming over with gratitude. dsmHack is in excellent hands and I am confident that it will continue to help Des Moines shine brighter. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Without further ado, I am honored to share the changes and additions to our Board! All changes below are effective today, August 1, 2018.

New Roles

  • President – Kevin Shannon, co-founder of dsmHack, will be taking the reigns as President. Kevin has been with the organization from day one and is an integral part of the team. He is leaving his previous position as Treasurer where he has worked diligently to establish systems and processes that help ensure dsmHack stays on track financially. His passion and attention to detail will surely be felt in his new role leading the dsmHack.
  • Vice President – Alex Karei is moving into the role of Vice President from an at-large board position. She will retain her position as Communications Chair in addition to the Vice President role. Alex is a communications wizard and her skills and energy have helped propel the organization forward exponentially faster. We are honored to have her as our Veep and all-around communications whiz.
  • Treasurer – Chuck Rolek is stepping into Kevin’s shoes as Treasuer while maintaining his Tech Chair position. Chuck has been an avid supporter and participant since our very first hackathon in 2013. After participating as a hacker for a few years, Chuck wanted to do more for the organization on a regular basis and joined the board as our Tech Chair. His passion for the organization and his drive help streamline processes and make the experience as hiccup-free as possible for our participants has resulted in better outcomes and happier hackers year after year.

Same Awesomeness, New Year

  • Nonprofit Chair – Kerri Sorrell will be retaining her role of Nonprofit Chair. With Kerri’s guidance, dsmHack has refined and improved not only the intake process for nonprofits seeking assistance from the organization but she’s helped ensure better quality outcomes for the nonprofits. As a result of her expertise, dsmHack is becoming a known and trusted name in the nonprofit world, thereby extending our reach to organizations that need our help.

New Additions

As dsmHack grows as an organization, we need to ensure that we have enough people with the right backgrounds leading the charge. This year, five new board at-large board members were voted in unanimously at our July 31st board meeting. The folks below have supported dsmHack over the years as hack participants, workshop leaders, volunteer organizers, etc. and each one will be an amazingly impactful addition to the team. We can’t wait to harness their energies and expertise to broaden the positive impacts dsmHack can make in the community.

  • Luke Elzinga – Luke has been a volunteer organizer of dsmHack for the last couple of years helping ensure that our nonprofit selection process runs smoothly and also helping at the event itself. His nonprofit insights have been invaluable and will continue to be in the future.
  • Molly Hanson – The newest addition to the dsmHack family, Molly volunteered her time providing important nonprofit insights for our selection process and will be an important addition to our nonprofit committee as we look for additional outreach opportunities.
  • Kyle Lieber – Kyle has been a dsmHack participant for several years and is one of our biggest supporters. He has offered up suggestions for improving the participant experience in the past and has a good lens on how to keep our volunteers motivated. Kyle is one of three board member additions this year that are participants looking to take on a bigger role in the organization and for that, we are eternally grateful!
  • Darin Webb – Darin, another of our repeat hackathon participants looking to take on a bigger role, has already contributed a great deal to the organization outside of the hackathon. He was part of our mini-hack team which developed our dsmhack.org website in an effort to “dog-food” our own hackathon processes. His contributions year over year have not gone unnoticed and we’re happy to have him join the board!
  • Lynn Woody – Lynn is not only one of our repeat hackathon participants, she also participated in our mini-hack and has led an Agile for Nonprofits workshop for dsmHack. In every case, Lynn has always gone above and beyond and has made a very large and positive mark on the organization already. We are honored to have her take on a larger role within the organization and can’t wait to see the result of her new contributions.

Moving On

dsmHack has benefited from the input and energies of many people over the years. We are better and stronger as a result of all of the people that have given of their time and talents to help this organization become what it is today. Over time, life obligations change and sometimes it’s just time to move on to the next challenge. This year, we see three such transitions including my own.

  • Jodi Jones – A co-founder and immediate past Vice President of dsmHack, Jodi is moving on from the organization to take on new challenges. We wish Jodi the best and are grateful for her contributions over the years.
  • Matt Hauge – A past Nonprofit Chair, Matt is also moving on from the organization to focus on other challenges. We cannot thank Matt enough for all he has done for dsmHack.
  • Kim Wall – Co-founder and immediate past President, Kim is shifting to an at-large board member. She will continue as part of the organization but with reduced responsibilities.

If you see any of the people mentioned above, give them a high five and thank them for generously giving of themselves to dsmHack. We are truly stronger for the contributions of these and so many others.

New blood is fuel for an organization. It keeps ideas fresh and ensures that complacency doesn’t reign. With the changes, additions, and exits this year, dsmHack begins a new chapter. I, for one, am sure it’ll be a page-turner.

Warm Regards,

Kim Wall
Immediate Past President, dsmHack