LinuxChix announces new international coordinator

Mary Gardiner becomes the second consecutive Aussie to take the reins

International open source group, LinuxChix, has this week announced the election of a new international coordinator to head the women-oriented community.

Effective this week, 26-year-old Mary Gardiner will replace outgoing coordinator Jenn Vesperman in the leading role. Gardiner's new duties include: making decisions about the overall direction and purpose of LinuxChix; mentoring future leaders in the community; liaising with the public; and facilitating the group's operations.

A full-time PhD student at Macquarie University in Sydney, Gardiner has previously held several organisational roles in the community, such as coordinating the LinuxChix miniconference at this year's, and setting up the new Australian chapter, AussieChix, which was announced last month.

While she hopes to continue to be an active member of AussieChix, Gardiner is likely to reduce her local involvement in view of her new responsibilities, she said. Gardiner also announced her intention to reassess, and possibly redistribute, duties currently assigned to the international coordinator position.

"During my tenure I may look at how they [international coordinator duties] can be distributed to more than one person," she said.

"I'll be continuing my involvement in the Australian chapter, particularly Sydney events, but I'm going to hand over all routine volunteer tasks in the international community to other volunteers," Gardiner said. "If accepts another LinuxChix miniconference I will ask someone else to lead that effort too."

Gardiner was selected from a group of three women, including Irishwoman Noirin Plunkett and Canadian Terri Oda. She is the second Australian woman to have led the community following the five-year tenure of Melbourne-based Vesperman.

The election concludes a process begun almost a month ago, when Vesperman stepped down from the position due to personal health issues.

"I was splitting my time and energy in too many directions, and while no one else can take my place in my family, there were three people competent and willing to take my place in Linuxchix," Vesperman said.

"Mary had clearly defined goals for Linuxchix which I liked," Vesperman said. "However, it was a very close decision and I'm sure Terri and Noirin will lead Linuxchix or some other group some time, and will do so well."

Gardiner said she intends to serve a two-year term until 31 March 2009, during which she aims to increase LinuxChix's and its regional chapters' visibility and involvement in the Free Software community, and to look into a more formal governance structure for the community.

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