Board Meeting Notes for January 2014

The Data Community DC Board

Data Community DC (DC2) is a member driven organization that provides a truly open and welcoming community of people who produce, consume, analyze, and work with data. The organization is a coalition of several meetups, governed by an elected board that meets once monthly in an official decision making capacity. In an effort to ensure that we’re open and transparent to our community, we have decided to publish the notes from board meetings in summary form on the DC2 Blog.

January 27, 2014

The board met at the Uber Offices in D.C at Dupont Circle organized by the Secretary, Sean Gonzalez. Forming a quorum were:

  • Harlan Harris, President and Founder, DSDC
  • Sean Gonzalez, Secretary and Founder, DVDC
  • Tony Ojeda, Treasurer and Founder
  • Abhijit Dasgupta, SPDC
  • Matt Matoyka, DSMD
  • Robert Dempsey, DWDC
  • Benjamin Bengfort, W3DC
  • Marck Vaismann, Founder, SPDC (Google Hangouts)
  • Robert Vesco, DIDC (Google Hangouts)

The first board meeting of the year is about direction and strategy for the Data Community. Not only is the annual report delivered by the President of the board, but we also hold our elections in January, which sets the tone in terms of leadership. The central issue for this board meeting involved our outward facing brand as well as our internal organization; characterized along the spectrum from loosely tied, independent meetups to a strong central brand. This discussion culminated in a friendly, contested vote for President between Harlan Harris, the incumbent and Abhijit Dasgupta.

The primary driver for this discussion stems from our approach to handling sponsorship money. Last year, Data Community DC did very well in terms of raising money both at the individual organization level and the community level. As such, more sponsors are looking to join, particularly at the community level. The board does not have a specific member in charge of handling sponsorships; and it was proposed that we amend the bylaws to create a fourth officer position- the VP of Sponsorship. The proposed amendment also included some clarification to the roles of the other officers; the President would be in charge of the external relationships mainly and the Secretary in charge of the internal organization.

Amendments to the bylaws require a supermajority and the amendment failed to get the necessary support, although board members indicated they’d like to revisit the issue. If the amendment had passed, four board members would have been running uncontested for four positions; instead this caused the contested election for the office of the President. After a friendly discussion between the board and the candidates mostly over the continuing identity of DC2 and its Meetups, the board re-elected the incumbent, Harlan Harris, with a super-majority. The secretary and treasurer, Sean Gonzalez and Tony Ojeda were also elected, uncontested, unanimously.

The last order of business was to characterize the education opportunities DC2 would like to provide its members. Tony Ojeda has started District Data Labs, a DC2 sponsored data science educational organization which will hold co-branded workshops and three week courses. This co-branding does not preclude individual meetups from holding their own Workshops, however- we would like to ensure that all workshops that are branded with DC2 meet minimum guidelines (accreditation) as determined by Data District Labs. The community can look forward to more educational events in 2014.

Reports

Each organization individually reports for the month. Some highlights from these reports are as follows.

  • DSMD: We’ve hit 1000 members! T-Shirts are in and they look awesome!
  • DWDC: Starting strong with 384 Meetup members and 103 LinkedIn members!
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Benjamin Bengfort

Chief Data Scientist at Cobrain
Benjamin is a data scientist with a passion for massive machine learning involving gigantic natural language corpora, and has been leveraging that passion to develop a keen understanding of recommendation algorithms at Cobrain in Bethesda, MD where he serves as the Chief Data Scientist. With a professional background in military and intelligence, and an academic background in economics and computer science, he brings a unique set of skills and insights to his work. Ben believes that data is a currency that can pave the way to discovering insights and solve complex problems. He is also currently pursuing a PhD in Computer Science at the University of Maryland.

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