"the times they are a-changin'"

Karen Pauley Steps Down as TPF President

Come gather around people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
(The Times They Are A-Changin' lyrics © Bob Dylan Music Co.)

As of the 7th November 2016 Karen Pauley has officially stepped down as President of the Perl Foundation. Replacing Karen at this present time will be long standing Perl Foundation member Jim Brandt

So that is how it is officially announced and let’s quickly move away from such formal tones for the rest of this article.

It is with a great sense of melancholy, and probably an even profounder sense of respect and gratitude that I am writing this piece so please bear with me if the style seems somewhat stilted or unusual. I know that some people will feel regret at the loss of Karen, I want to stop you all now, don’t think about what we may be losing, think of the changes that have been made.

Karen has been a face at Perl conferences and events for many years, even before she started at The Perl Foundation as a Steering Committee member and Chair in March 2008. Karen made an instant improvement to the Foundation and was appointed Vice-President in July 0f 2009 before her eventual appointment as President in March 2010.
For the better part of nine years Karen has been an influential component in the Perl Foundation. There are many people who like to make a stance, place their mark on what they do. Karen didn’t have that mindset.

“I wasn't a dreamer with big plans and a vision”

What she wanted to do instead was bring stability to a rather turbulent period. To give us a strong central core and to settle the community around a focussed point. Placing order in the natural chaos of community and moving steadily forwards. This task is the harder, it is not as noticeable but it is precisely what a ‘foundation’ is supposed to supply. Karen’s goal was to give us a strong base on which to build and it is an inspiration that she did this without fanfare or tumult.

Karen also brought to the table a strong set of organisational skills and the understanding of the legal issues to address the legal challenges we faced at the time. There are legal matters that will never be fully discussed or revealed that were resolved only because of Karen’s involvement. Matters pertaining to copyright and challenges to the community that were circumnavigated only because we had her leadership and understanding.

Alongside the strong community base Karen recognised the need to stabilise and promote the language that our community shares. She is the principal instrument in the Perl5 Core Maintenance Fund and the Perl6 Development Fund. Since 2010 Karen has been working with a number of Perl companies and communities to fund work by David Mitchell and other key Perl5 developers to strengthen our core language.

The Perl5 CMF was a pivotal step in the way TPF changed the management and funding of larger language projects.

It is important to note that David has been funded through a variety of grants, supported by company, community and individual donations since 2010 with little visible issues. This takes significant investment in time and effort that is not apparent outside of those involved in the administration of the organisations affairs.

She has also been the strongest cheerleader for every Perl5 Pumpking providing as much support and strong community backing for their tenures. This is especially important to the whole community and to how we stayed strong.

When Karen first became President there was a feeling that the TPF was all about Perl6. The focus of grants was from the Hague Perl6 Fund and this gave a feeling that the organisation itself was all about Perl6. Karen worked quietly, yet forcefully, to change that perception. She wanted the organisation to be about the language and all its projects, about the people and all their activities and about meditating and encouraging dialogue between those many diverse relationships.

“I was neither a Perl 5 or a Perl 6 person and worked to try to make us be about Perl and its many communities.”

It was Karen who involved us with a number of outside programmes and Outreachy (https://www.gnome.org/outreachy/) has been an important personal one for her. It would be a great time for someone to speak with Karen about the Outreachy programme and learn how to take the reigns for it in 2017 and beyond. If anyone has a desire to do so then they should contact us at their earliest convenience. I know it is a concern for Karen that we keep our involvement in such initiatives.

I know Karen, so I know that she will have some personal regrets as she leaves. Things she could have done more with, things she wanted to get done but the time wasn’t there. I hope that she is able to reconcile herself as she did far more than was ever asked and enriched us in ways we will never fully understand. We owe her a great debt of gratitude for her time, her efforts, her direction and for being a truly unflappable human centre to our community.

Karen’s final words as we thought about this article struck a chord with me. As always we have her modesty and her delight in other people. It is a sadness that wraps around my heart at the thought of losing her as our President. However, I also have a great joy that we had such a strong, creative and friendly leader for so long.

“Perl, for me, will always be about the people. I have worked with some of the most amazing, talented, and creative people. They have enriched my life and I was always be grateful for that.”

Thank you Karen Pauley.

‘The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slowest now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fading
And the first one now will later be last
Cause the times they are a-changing’
(The Times They Are A-Changin' lyrics © Bob Dylan Music Co.)


Thank you for all the hard work Karen!

Yes. Well done Karen!

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