Six months ago, the DEF board appointed me as the new Executive Director and I joined a dedicated group of volunteers on the National Leadership Team, which support projects like the annual conference, local Agora marketing and partnerships with organizations that support DEF. This team, which is spread across cities from New York to Los Angeles, brings individual skills and a range of DEF experience spanning from its inception in 2013 to having joined DEF just a few months ago.
Over the course of the last few months, we’ve been evaluating how best to capture the energy of DEF as a movement that inspires and connects individuals and channel it into a viable, national organization that actually empowers its members to enable a culture of innovation within the U.S. national security community. DEF 1.0 started as an idea among a few active duty personnel that there was a better way to empower Service Members and link together like-minded individuals; its original national conference planners met each other for the first time just a few days prior to the event! As DEF grew, it’s 2.0 version included sponsorship by the Atlantic Council, establishing organizational bylaws and appointing a Board of Directors. Over the next few months, we’ll interrogate our working theory of how to complete the evolution to DEF “3.0” by engaging in dialogue with our Agoras, individual members and outside stakeholders to get a better sense of how to serve our members, build national programs and services (like our Firestarters Fellowship!) that they would want to take advantage of and present DEF as a group of bleeding edge, thought leaders in the defense reform, talent management and innovation spaces. This means two things:
- DEF Needs Your Feedback: With the spirit of entrepreneurs, our members are our customers, and we want to make sure we establish deep, continual engagement with you. Have an idea on what we can do better? Send it! Got a notion of how improve something? Let us know! Have feedback on a current program or service? Tell us! I want to hear from you and so does everyone else (which is part of why we curate open online communities). Everything is fair game, from where we should host the annual conference to how we can focus the Cloud Advisory to ideas on who should serve on our Board of Directors. If you’ve got ideas, we want to hear them!
- DEF Needs Your Strengths: we need your time and talent! A volunteer network with discrete skills and a desire to serve is key to empowering the DEF community. Maybe you’re good at website management or coding, deal with marketing and PR in your day job, want to help out with social media or are just passionate about getting tasks done. Whatever you bring to the table, DEF needs you to raise a hand and throw in for DEF 3.0 to help make the pivot work.
This is going to be an exciting journey; I’m really glad we’re in this together and can’t wait to meet you during my travels. If you have questions or want to get more involved, we will be having a video call on April 11th that you can sign-up for – I would love for you to be there. Keep disrupting; I’ll see you on the high ground!