Celebrating Jennifer Antilla as Our Director of Community

I wanted to write a brief note on behalf of the entire OpenMRS community to recognize the exceptionally important work that @jennifer has led and operationalized in our community. Jennifer has been in the Director of Community role since 2018, during a time of tremendous growth for OpenMRS. During those 5 years, Jennifer has worked endlessly as a leader in the commitment to our mission in OpenMRS by operationalizing a new governance and working model, a fierce defender of transparency and inclusivity, a changemaker in how we teach and learn from each other at all levels, and staunch supporter for clearing the roadblocks and barriers that empowered individuals and organizations in our community to get things done and make even larger impact. As we’ve seen in the past, people like Jennifer make lasting contributions that are felt long into the future of the community.

It is with some sadness that I tell you all now that Jennifer has decided to move to the next phase of her career and towards different adventures in global health informatics, and is ending her time with OpenMRS as that Director of Community. I want to personally thank Jennifer for blessing the OpenMRS Community with her talents & superpowers! I’ve personally learned so much from working with Jen, and will miss her thoughtfulness, innovation, perseverance, kindness, and friendship in this role with us. I know the OpenMRS community is better for having her leading the charge these past 5 years, and her ongoing contributions will be felt for many years into the future. She’s leaving big shoes to fill by the next person in this role. While transitions can be hard, OpenMRS can and will move on and continue to grow, making many lives better along the way. We have plans to recruit in the near future for this role, but for now, let’s come together and celebrate Jennifer for the lasting impact that she has made on OpenMRS and the global community we work with.

Jennifer’s last day as the Director of Community with OpenMRS will be next Monday on January 15th, 2024. I’m certain we will continue to see her around the global health work and OpenMRS at times. Over the next week, please share any congratulations, celebrations, and fond memories with Jennifer here and on our community calls. Thank you @jennifer!

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It’s been a pleasure working with @jennifer and we’re all cheering her on in her next steps!

I first met Jen in Maputo Mozambique in 2019 where she was kind enough to share a room with me, a stranger, even in the midst of co-facilitating the huge OMRS '19 conference! I remember a particular moment of standing back and feeling amazed by all she was coordinating that week, and hoping that we’d be able to work together one day.

The are so many things I have learned from Jen. Many folks probably don’t realize the hours she put into this role - all our 5am :sun_with_face: and 10pm :sleeping: calls; the hours of prep together every week. Three examples have been especially on my mind lately:

  • The clarity she brought to our community talent pipeline process, eg from GSOC → the Fellowship Program → people growing in their dev levels and becoming ideal candidates for community organizations who needed to hire rare OpenMRS talent! This talent funnel and pipeline is so important for the people and organizations that form our community, but takes a ton of admin and relationships to maintain.
  • The establishment of the first OpenMRS Partner Badges → These are of great new interest to the Global Good industry and it’s thanks to Jen for laying all the groundwork for these.
  • Moving forward the OpenMRS Academy momentum and getting us closer to the Academy vision folks have been looking for.

Just a few favorite memories from only ~ the last 1 year (Jen I don’t know how we ended up being on the same side in every photo in so many countries?! #mindmeld):

2023, Dar Es Salaam TZ, during the Global Goods Innovators Summit - a quick prep walk before our day of meetings and presentations

2023, a sunny step outside during the weekend GSOC Mentors Summit with @jayasanka and @ibacher

2023, a quick walk in Seattle USA after a week of meetings

2022, a quick walk in Cape Town SA after a week of meetings indoors

Thank you so much for everything you have taught me over these last ~4 years working together Jen! :heart: :bouquet:

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we shall miss you @jennifer and best wishes on your next endeavour.

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Thank you @jennifer for being a true champion of OpenMRS. Your impact will resonate within the community, and we wish you the very best in all your future adventures.

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@Jennifer, thank you for your thoughtfulness, innovation, perseverance, kindness, and friendship. Wishing you all the best in your next chapter, and I’m sure our paths will cross again in the world of global health. Congratulations on an outstanding tenure with OpenMRS!

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thank you so much @jennifer for your out standing contribution to the community, your work ethic, passion and care for this community has been an inspiration to us all. Congratulations to your new adventures and success in all you do. You will dearly be missed

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:star2: Got a glimpse so close working with @jennifer in the Academy & Professional Development Management, one of your last projects.

We have visions and :arrow_right: @jennifer, you have shown me visions can be accomplished if we put our heart :heart: into it. Seeing you accomplish the setup of the OpenMRS Academy was such a fantastic journey! :rocket:

What can I say? Great leaders always and always need to be remembered. :heart_eyes: :clap:

Thank you, and many discoveries await you! :star2: :love_letter:

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Our appreciation to @jennifer for so many amazing contributions to OpenMRS and the community. What springs to mind is working together on ANC DAK and OpenMRS Academy, fabulous OMRS conferences (Kenya, Maputo, Nigeria), and Jen’s amazing clarity during 5AM presentations. I have no idea how you do it all.

Wishing you all the best for your next adventure. We will miss you.

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I have worked closely with @jennifer for the past 2 years as an OpenMRS fellow and I learned a lot from her :clap:, there are no small words to tell how much I have learned from you @jennifer but thank you very much for everything, and all the best in your next phase.

@jennifer, I know I have told you this a couple of times but just to let everyone know I always looked up to you and your leadership skills, I hope you will stay around the community to offer more guidance.

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Thank you @jennifer for everything … for the hard work , help, support and above all your kindness with everyone … we will miss you for sure …

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I’m so excited that I also got an opportunity working alongside @jennifer, so I wanted to take a moment and give you a virtual high-five for your fantastic leadership during the OpenMRS Academy preparations.

Your contributions have been invaluable, and your commitment to excellence has been truly remarkable. It’s been an absolute pleasure working alongside you and witnessing your inspiring leadership in action and I can’t thank you enough for your awesome spirit and guidance.

As you set-out on new adventures, please know that your presence will be greatly missed more than a hot coffee on a cold day :coffee:! Wishing you the best for your next journey :small_airplane: :airplane:!

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:tada: :tada: :tada: :face_holding_back_tears: :crying_cat_face:

It has been a pleasure working with you @jennifer I have been working with Jennifer in the Global Events Team and also the Academy Squad. In organizing for the Community Meetings for last year and the OpenMRS Academies. Your vision and mentorship have left an indelible mark on me personally and the Squads. Your mentorship has been a guiding light for us all. Your leadership has been a driving force for the Community.

It’s been an honor working with someone as inspiring as you, Best of luck on your new journey!

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Wow, I was late catching up on this announcement! I am very sorry to learn that @jennifer will be moving on to bigger and better things, but I definitely wish her well! OpenMRS would not be what it is today without Jennifer’s steady hand and calm management of a very energetic community! She has been like a glue holding all of the different pieces of the community together, and we’ll need to work extra hard to coordinate with each other while we appoint a new community lead. I know that we have a great team overall and Grace, Christine, Daniel… everyone will do great. I wish @jennifer the best of luck and hope that she will free to reach out to any of us if she needs anything or just to collaborate in the future!!

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@jennifer Thank you so much for all that you’ve done for the OpenMRS Community. The Community is in a much better place than it was when you joined and we all thank you for that! Much of that evolution has been thanks to your genius working behind the scenes. I’ve always appreciated the way you look at community as an architect. You leave big shoes to fill! Wishing you the best and hoping our paths will cross again!

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From the time I started as a GSoC student to evolving into an org admin, Jen has been an unwavering source of support and guidance. Her mentorship played a pivotal role in my growth and success within OpenMRS. The dedication and passion she brought to planning GSoC and fellowship programs have been nothing short of inspiring.

I must express my deepest appreciation for Jen’s significant contributions to the success of our GSoC programs. Her tireless efforts and commitment have left an indelible mark on OpenMRS, and I am certain that this year’s GSoC program will feel the void of her presence.

Beyond the professional realm, I have also cherished many enjoyable moments during office hours calls, where Jen shared her captivating hiking adventures. These conversations added a unique and personal touch to our collaboration, creating memories that I will carry with me.

2023, Adis Ababa, Ethiopia during the OpenMRS Hackathon in Ethiopia

2023, CA, USA, during GSoC Mentor Summit

Your departure leaves a noticeable gap, but I am genuinely grateful for the time we’ve spent working together. Your influence and camaraderie will be missed, but I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. May your path ahead be filled with even greater successes and exciting adventures.

Thank you for everything, Jen! :heart:

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Am new in the community but also belt my heart out for her, I have missed her, thanks May God grant her abundantly "am a God believer "

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Best wishes @jennifer in your new assignment. Your will be dearly missed.

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@janflowers Saying thank you for these words doesn’t come close to capturing how much they mean to me. I’m incredibly grateful for these past five years and all that I have learned from you and our community along the way.

I clearly remember my first two weeks in this role, which coincided with OMRS18 in Nairobi. I was both surprised and thrilled to discover so many familiar faces, so many amazing and talented people with whom I’d worked over the previous 8 years, welcoming me to the OpenMRS community. OpenMRS is truly like family and a growing one at that. I share this because, even though I am transitioning out of my role as Director of Community today, our global good world is small and I’m optimistic that our paths will cross again, within or outside of OpenMRS.

@grace I can’t keep track of how many times I channeled you during various discussions, crafting presentations, not to mention all of the new “tools” I’ve added to my toolbox as a result of our time working together. And I can’t wait for the next opportunity to catch up in person - and for another selfie to add to our collection!

@burke When I joined OpenMRS, I was truly a newcomer to open source. You’ve made me a convert. Thank you for helping me learn how to walk the talk.

And it’s been such a joy to watch so many of you @jayasanka @hadijah315 @sharif @suubi7 @wodpachua, our former GSoC contributors & fellows, and others, find your way to our community and take your career with OpenMRS to the next level. Thank you for the opportunity to join you on your journey.

In case I haven’t said it clearly enough, this community will always be incredibly special to me. I am so, so fortunate to have been “in the arena” with all of you these past five years, as OpenMRS moved into it’s next amazing phase, as we rolled around with important changes to our community, even as you showed how open collaboration among organizations could modernize our tech & take us into the future with OpenMRS 3. I can’t wait to see what all of you do together next!

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@jennifer : You’ve made so many important, and lasting contributions to OpenMRS over the years. We all feel fortunate that we’ve all had the opportunity to learn from you, grow with you, and benefit from all of your superpowers over the years. :slight_smile:

You are special to us, @jennifer … we’re lucky to have you as a friend, and we look forward to working with you (whatever that looks like!) in the future. :slight_smile:

THANK YOU for everything you’ve contributed to our community!

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