For so long we’ve needed a “champion of the user-side” in Ushahidi. We’re deeply focused on the tech here, and we realized last year that the community of deployers needed someone who could work with them – someone that was dedicated to their needs and acting as a go-between for them to the Ushahidi core team. After months of searching and talking to candidates, we found someone that we love and know is going to rock: Heather Leson!

Heather Leson is our “Director of Community Engagement”. This means she’s responsible for coming up with the strategy for how we interact better with our non-tech users, and then implementing it. She’s the one who you’ll be in touch with on the side, and who will help muster the right mix of case studies, tools and use-cases that make running your own deployment easier.

Heather comes with a boatload of community work. Hailing from Canada, she has over 10 years of experience in technical incident management, software life cycle development, customer care and communications in Internet technologies. In fact, I first met Heather (virtually) as we each led the Random Hacks of Kindness discussions between the Australia and Kenya teams last year. She was an important part of the growth of CrisisCommons, and has helped run multiple unconferences and hackathons.

Heather comes with the right mix of community engagement background, mixed with our ethos of open source, open ideas and open community. We’re SO excited to have her join us, and we hope that you’ll reach out and start engaging with her right away. After all, she is your ambassador within Ushahidi.