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Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team is thrilled to announce that Rebecca Firth has been unanimously chosen by its board of directors to serve as its new Executive Director. Rebecca will begin her role starting on 1 June 2023.

“The candidate pool was extremely competitive,” stated Kate Chapman, President of the Board of Directors. “The 5 key criteria used in the selection came directly from staff and voting members’ input; the criteria were: leadership, fundraising, networking and partnership development, communication & representation, and sector knowledge. We are confident that Rebecca will excel in each of these critical areas of the role.”

Before stepping into the role of Interim Executive Director in 2023, Rebecca served as HOT’s Senior Director of Strategy & Program. In that role, Rebecca managed HOT’s Community, Partnerships, and Communications activities, and oversaw HOT’s global expansion into four Regional Open Mapping Hubs (Asia Pacific, Eastern & Southern Africa, West & Northern Africa, Latin America & Caribbean). She has worked to improve HOT’s capabilities to provide longer-term capacity building for OpenStreetMap communities through training and microgrants, grow OpenStreetMap use amongst NGOs and other partners, and share HOT’s message globally with new volunteers and partners. Rebecca also led HOT’s Audacious Project application in 2020, delivering HOT’s TED Talk.

Rebecca joined the HOT staff team in 2016, after volunteering with HOT and Missing Maps since 2014. Rebecca joined HOT from working in digital and innovation consulting at a global management consulting firm. Rebecca holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Geography from the University of Cambridge UK, where she focused on international development. Working with HOT brings her interests in geography, international development, and digital together.

“[I am] really looking forward to the next stage, and furthering our localization, decentralization, and community ownership ambitions,” Rebecca Firth expressed after receiving the news and congratulating messages from colleagues.

“It’s great news and an important step for HOT consolidating our vision and the direction we are sailing to,” said Ibrahima Cisse, Regional Director for the Open Mapping Hub in Western and Northern Africa.

About Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) sits at the nexus of participatory mapping, community-led development, humanitarian response, open data and tech. With a talented and diverse team spread around the globe, HOT is an NGO that supports a dynamic global community of thousands of dedicated volunteers using maps and open data for humanitarian response and the Sustainable Development Goals. Working with humanitarian and development partners like the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, UN agencies, governments and others, the HOT community maps in solidarity with those affected by or at risk of disaster, contributing the maps and data aid workers need to do their lifesaving work.

In 2020 the work of the HOT community was recognized by TED’s Audacious Project, a collaborative philanthropic initiative that serves as a springboard for social impact on a grand scale, leading to an exciting new phase of growth. HOT is expanding its activities: opening four regional hubs and scaling up its support to local mapping communities with the audacious goal of mapping an area home to one billion people in 94 countries at high risk of disasters or experiencing poverty - mapping with communities before they are in crisis.