We’re thrilled to welcome Christina Crawley as the inaugural Manager for the OpenGov Hub community, a shared, open workspace for like-minded organizations in downtown Washington, D.C. that’s set to open in early-October. As the primary point of contact for the OpenGov Hub, Christina will play a key role in making the Hub community a gathering point for open government learning and networking activities in the Washington area. In addition to organizing the fun stuff, Christina will also have the herculean task of herding cats (us!) and generating consensus from of a wide range of opinions and personalities. Amidst her mind spinning first week, I sat down with Christina to learn more about her background and hear what brought her to Global Integrity.
Carrie Golden (CG): What made you interested in Global Integrity and the OpenGov Hub?
Christina Crawley (CC): I guess it was sort of a double whammy. The first thing was that the subject matter appeared to be extremely interesting and impactful, and I really appreciated the way in which Global Integrity presented itself. The second thing was the plan to launch a totally new office space of like-minded organizations, the OpenGov Hub, which I thought was a great indicator of innovation and creativity.
CG: What were you doing prior to joining us?
CC: I’m originally from Canada, but I've spent the last nine years in Belgium working in international education development across Europe. My main focus has been on ICT in education (ICT4E) and the development of online collaborative learning spaces and content for both teachers and students. I am also the co-founder of a small non-profit, EasySundays, which operates in Brussels – and now in DC! – to promote lesser-known charitable causes over Sunday brunch.
CG: What “tools” or lessons learned are you excited to bring with you to your new role from previous professional experiences?
CC: While community relations require great communicators, I've learned over the years that the art of listening is a very important element that is sometimes forgotten. As the OpenGov Hub starts to take shape and organizations from different backgrounds come together, I hope that my listening and analytical skills take as much of a role in my position as I know my organizational, social and technical skills will take.
CG: What are you most looking forward to working on as the Community Manager?
CC: I'm most looking forward to meeting all kinds of people, learning about their work, and helping to make new connections between them. I'm also very much excited to learn about a new field of work. While I'm sure my education-focused background will be a great asset, I'm enthusiastic about taking on a new subject area, learning about transparency issues, and working directly with so many interesting organizations housed in and around the new OpenGov Hub.
CG: Can you give us a sneak preview of any crazy ideas you’re thinking about for the Hub?
CC: Well, the juices are flowing and ideas are most certainly bubbling – some of which involve dart board brainstorming, Jenga block decision-making, “in-one-word” conversation-starting … but I won't give too much away. Not only am I still thinking about it all, but half the fun is in the surprise!
CG: What do you miss from your native Canada and from Belgium, which you made home for the past eight years?
I'll start with Belgium, since it was my most recent former home and the feelings are still fresh. I miss the people the most, but right behind them is all the yummy cheese, great restaurants and the facility of being able to go two hours in any direction and end up in a different country. As for Canada, I miss the open country fields where I grew up, fresh air and the good ol' Canadian way – from friendly shyness to salmon steaks glazed with maple syrup. Thankfully, it's now just a plane or (long!) car ride away.
CG: Can we find you on Twitter?
CC: Yep! @tinacrawley
— Christina Crawley and Carrie Golden
— Image Credit: Christina Crawley