Cultivating Diversity in the Open Source Community

Written by: Brian Dawson
4 min read

Jacqueline Salinas has a pretty cool job. As the director of ecosystem and community development for the Continuous Delivery Foundation, she’s a prominent advocate for the open source community in which millions of software developers around the world freely collaborate and exchange software code. 

At the CD Foundation, Jacqueline is in charge of expanding the community and ecosystem for many of the fastest-growing open source projects for continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), including Jenkins, Jenkins X, Spinnaker and Tekton. The foundation fosters collaboration between the industry’s top DevOps practitioners and creates training materials to help teams around the globe implement CI/CD best practices.

It’s a big job – and one that Jacqueline found intimidating at first. Undaunted, she decided to dive right in. “I just started putting the word out there,” she recalls in a recent episode of DevOps Radio. And the open source community welcomed her overtures. “Once I started to talk about our vision for growing the community and got to know more people, everybody started embracing the foundation and understanding the value we bring to these communities,” she says.

One of her first initiatives was the Ambassador Program, which invites members to join her outreach programs and become a go-to resource for the developer community. She also launched a podcast and a webinar program to entice developers to engage with the foundation. 

Jacqueline says her previous experience as a marketer at Intel and Amazon Web Services has come in handy in her multichannel awareness-building efforts. “Every time that I was faced with a challenge or an opportunity to help the community grow, I would dig through my skill set I gained at Intel and AWS. I think my marketing background has really helped the CD Foundation be able to grow.” 

Jacqueline’s work is showing impressive results: The foundation’s first flagship event, cdCon, scheduled for this October, sold out most of its sponsorships in just two weeks. 

The power of diversity in the open source community

For Jacqueline, making the CD Foundation an open and welcoming community is critical to its success. “Open source communities give people who don’t normally have opportunities a fair chance to start and not have so many obstacles that hold you back. They are a safe place where you can come and learn without judgment and societal pressures.”

But there's more work to be done to expand access, she says. “We need to diversify. We need to make STEM more accessible to a variety of communities.” In that spirit, Jacqueline helped start a LinkedIn group designed specifically for women and their allies. Called (She)DF, the group encourages women to “just have a conversation with each other,“ she says. “It's just as simple as that.” 

The push for more diversity is one of the most important initiatives Jacqueline is championing at the CD Foundation, and one of the organization’s top strategic goals. It’s a mission that’s near and dear to her heart: “As a female and LatinX with a non-technical background, I didn’t have anybody to identify with,” she says. “So for a long time, I didn't really allow myself to dream, to aspire to be something more than just a manager.” She says the lack of role models is a big reason why women are underrepresented in leadership positions and why there aren't more women going into technical fields.

Changing the status quo is as simple as allowing somebody to dream, she says. No wonder that one of her favorite books is Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. “It's a very simple read, but the reason I love it is because it encourages you to dream,” she says.

Jacqueline hopes that her own story inspires people to overcome self-doubt and just go for it. “I hope one day somebody comes up to me and says, ‘Hey, I listened to your podcast,’ or, ‘I saw your talk, and because of you, I went for it. I went for that job that I thought I didn't have the skillset for.’"

Listen to more of Jacqueline’s story on Episode 81 of DevOps Radio – and be sure to catch her keynote panel, The Power of Open Source Community, at DevOps World 2020 September 22-24. I look forward to seeing you there!

Stay up to date

We'll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise.