Our all-volunteer collective runs on people power. We’re a nonprofit but unlike most nonprofits, our leadership is elected by OpenOakland’s general membership each year. We’ve gone through a lot of reflection and refocusing over the last couple of years and are so excited to welcome in a new team of Oaklanders to guide our vision as we bridge community and technology for a thriving and equitable Oakland.

Submit the interest form (You can nominate yourself or someone else.)

Green-tinged illustration of three raised fists next to a diagram showing a large circle labeled 'Steering Committee' with four circles inside it representing the elected co-leads, and several circles overlapping the main one representing project reps.

Join a team of doers and leaders

The Steering Committee sets the direction for the brigade’s work over the course of the year. Made up of elected co-leads and project representatives, this team keeps our projects aligned with the brigade mission, manages group events like our weekly meetup, and makes operational decisions as they come up.

While the leadership work is generally divided across four roles, these are highly collaborative:

  • Hack night lead: prepares and facilitates the weekly meetup (great for hospitality-minded folks)
  • Community organizer: supports member success and external partnerships (great for people organizers and friendly types)
  • Communications lead: supports outreach and storytelling through openoakland.org, social channels and local media (great for folks who like to try lots of different things and shape the narrative).
  • Treasurer/Recorder: tracks finances and manages brigade documentation (great for detail-oriented folks).

Don’t see anything that quite fits here? These roles are pretty flexible and can be added to or redefined by the Steering Committee. Our interest form allows you to indicate what kind of commitment you’d like to make. That’s the beauty of collective governance: we get to shape what works for all of us!

What’s involved?

Brigade co-leads generally spend a few hours a week in addition to managing our weekly hack night. Some of the things you might do outside of the meeting itself, depending on your interests:

  • Meet occasionally with city staff, community leaders and residents to understand their needs and build relationships.
  • Create content that tells the story of OpenOakland’s work.
  • Plan and coordinate special events and speakers, and facilitate meetups.
  • Recruit volunteers and orient new members.
  • Report out on brigade impacts and activities.
  • Develop processes and resources to make our work run smoother.
  • Coordinate support from Code for America.

Why lead?

Co-leading a consensus-based group of volunteers is a wild ride! During the pandemic, our team survived a lot of challenges—and came out so much stronger. 2022’s team now has an operational framework, an actual instruction manual, and a cross-brigade support system of peers and alumni.

  • Be the change you want to see. It may sound like a platitude but the truth is that if we want to see tech in Oakland change to serve our community, we have to make it happen.
  • Learn more about your city and get to know its people. OpenOakland encourages you to look outward and connect with people you might not cross paths with otherwise.
  • Practice consensus-based decision-making with a group of curious and creative Oaklanders. Practicing the day-to-day work of meeting each other’s needs at the person-to-person level is incredibly powerful. It’s a chance to explore power-sharing and decision-making, and it will give you a whole new perspective on what you can accomplish in the world.
  • Build marketable skills that make your work better. We’re not gonna lie: leadership looks great on a resume. You’ll stretch new muscles while putting your own experiences and expertise to work. OpenOakland co-leads often discover surprising things about what they’re able to accomplish.

Help us find great community leaders

Even if you’re not ready to lead yourself, you can help us build the community! Do you know someone who is action-oriented and community-minded? Nominate someone today (nominators remain anonymous; we’ll reach out to them and see if they’re interested in participating).

Suggest someone today!

A note about representative leadership

We deeply value diversity in all its forms and have been working hard over the past two years to build a community that is supportive and welcoming of different experiences, identities, and perspectives. We encourage Black, Indigenous and other nominees of color, LGTBQ+ and nonbinary folx, those with disabilities, and other underrepesented folx to step into leadership. We also recognize that the labor of community leadership often disproportionately falls to these groups. Our Steering Committee continues our ongoing practice of understanding and embracing anti-racist and inclusive approaches to our work and ourselves, in the form of training, dedicated discussion, impact measurement, and transparent communication.

Key dates

  • Nomination period: Feb. 8 - Feb. 22
  • Get to know the candidates: Feb. 22 - Mar. 1
  • Voting period: Mar. 1 - Mar. 8
  • New leadership announced: Mar. 15


We encourage questions about any of OpenOakland’s roles and processes and current Steering Committee members are happy to answer questions about their individual experiences:

  • Email questions to steering@openoakland.org.
  • You can also email current co-leads jess@ (Communications Lead), sean@ (Treasurer/Recorder), or niels@ (Community Organizer), at openoakland.org with questions about their specific roles.

Submit a name by Mar. 15