An Open Leadership Transition With Care

A mix of pride, thankfulness, sadness, and hope tinge this announcement of my decision to transition from Executive Director of Open Education Global, to a new role as an independent open education consultant.

There are many factors that led to this decision.

Open education is growing around the world. With that growth there is a lot of up and coming, emerging talent. I want to make way for, and work with, this new talent. I want to combine my experience with their new ideas and drive to take open education even farther.

OEGlobal has embraced diversity, equity and inclusion as essential elements of open education, including our own organizational culture. As an older, white male, from the global north I see the need for more diverse voices in leadership positions. I want to open opportunities and work with these new diverse leaders.

In the fall of 2021 I travelled from Vancouver Canada where I live back to Ontario, Canada the province where I was born. While there I visited family and high school friends. I was struck by how they had aged and how physical well-being was deteriorating. This forced me to look in my own mirror, reflect on my age (I’ll be 67 in 2022), and take stock of my longevity. I am still healthy, vibrant and alive and have a deep passion for open education. But I need to make adjustments to sustain and nurture my aliveness and passion for open. I need to take care of myself.

The growth of open education has created a need for experienced leaders who can step in and help others with strategic and implementation advice. There are very few global open education consultants in the field and there is a need and growing demand for that kind of help. I look forward to the opportunity to apply my years of leadership and experience to the field of open education in a new capacity.

I want to help governments, institutions, organizations and practitioners with their planning and implementation of open education. I want to help with practical matters and innovation. Over the course of my career I’ve been considered a thought leader. I want to spend more time in that capacity analyzing, writing, and speaking about open, what it means, how it is done, the culture of open, and the process of opening education.

I’m looking to do work helping people weave together the many forms of open, including Open Educational Resources, Open Access, Open Science, Open Data, and Open Source Software into an overarching strategy. If you are imagining an entirely new way of doing education based on education technology, online learning and open education, I can help. If you are seeking to understand the value open education creates including the financial, operational, and cost/benefit aspects, I can help. If you are a cultural or social enterprise looking to integrate open into your work, I can help. I have a special interest in global initiatives and aim to give focused attention and support to a select few clients.

2022 marks my twentieth year leading open education and my fifth year as Executive Director of OEGlobal. What a journey it has been. I am especially thankful to BCcampus, Creative Commons, and Open Education Global for the open work they are doing, for being my places of work over these twenty years, and for the opportunity to be part of them, helping and leading in so many different ways.

My latest work as Executive Director of Open Education Global has been especially meaningful. I am really proud of leading Open Education Global through a period of growth, maturation, and global community building, especially during a pandemic. Five years of creating and hosting global open education conferences, education weeks, open education awards for excellence, global leadership summits, communities and networks is a dream job. Thank you to all those who I have worked beside in these efforts.

I am so pleased with the way Open Education Global focuses on the human dimension of open education with particular attention to collaboration and fostering a culture of sharing. I like the way it operates as a steward connecting the global open education community together for knowledge exchange and value co-creation. I like the way it embodies open in its people, practices, and caring culture.

Amazingly Open Education Global achieves what it does with a small core team of ten people. I am so proud of them. Open Education Global staff are world class talent who understand how to lead open education globally with warmth, encouragement, and welcome. The high performance of Open Education Global is really a testament to them.

Our work together has been a highlight of my life. I care deeply for this team. As I began to think of my own transition I realised I wanted to ensure the Open Education Global team are taken care of and have the opportunity to continue their work and professional growth under a new leader. For that to happen I came to see I must take ownership of my own transition. Being a leader means planning my own leadership transition.

Much work has been done behind the scenes in advance of this announcement, to ensure this transition goes smoothly for all involved. It is February 2022 and the timeline has me transitioning in December 2022. I plan to remain fully engaged as Executive Director of Open Education Global for that entire time. Please join me in this work.

This is a transition, not a retirement. I plan to actively continue my leadership role in open education - just in a different way. Unlike many transitions of this type where the departing leader moves on to something completely different I want to sustain my connection and involvement with the open education field and with Open Education Global. I welcome an ongoing working relationship with the next Open Education Global Executive Director and with all of you, my friends and colleagues in the global open education community.

I look forward to where this journey goes next, over the next ten months in my capacity as Executive Director of Open Education Global, and then as

This personal announcement complements the official one from the OEGlobal Board. This post aims to make transparent the reasoning that went into this decision. If you have reactions, questions, concerns, or comments I welcome them. Simply reply to this post and I will respond.

Paul Stacey


Read the OEGlobal Board of Directors’ announcement here.

To Create Change one must Change. That is the greatest challenge. A number of years ago I decided to pursue goals to make an impact on the world, to align technology to our societal goals. I discovered that I had to change not just once, or twice, but continuously. So much so that even though I am not even close to achieving my goals yet, I can’t believe where I started. I learned about your work through @Shawn. I was impressed with your ability to create safe spaces for people to collaborate. More importantly, appreciate that all individuals and organizations have a unique piece of the puzzle ever so important to contribute to a vibrant and self-sustaining ecosystem. I look forward to seeing your future work in Open and our paths of endeavours to cross. Warm Welcome Back to Ontario!

Iwona, thanks so much for your remarks. I agree completely that creating change involves changing yourself. I’ve been very fortunate to be involved in a lot of change making over the years. A great deal of this change has been done collaboratively with others. Safe spaces to engage in this work are an essential part of the process so it’s very kind of you to thank me for doing that.

I’m a big fan of thinking about education as an ecosystem in which there is a place and role for everyone. Opening education makes that possible in a way no other form of education does.

I hope things are going well with OpenSail and big hugs to you and @Shawn.