Friday, July 13, 2007

RootsWeb's Unlucky Day

I'm not the superstitious type. But today, Friday the 13th, something has happened that has changed my mind.

Today marked the final day for Jamie Morningstar as senior product manager at Jamie's contributions at RootsWeb will be felt for years to come. She has led improvements to the WorldConnect administration interface, the My Account area, the Newsroom, storage infrastructure improvements, and more. She has increased site page views 20% to 120 million per month. She has increased family tree contributions by over 10%.

I spoke with Jamie earlier this week. She leaves her post with great sadness. "Working with the RootsWeb staff and community has truly been a privilege and I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting an extraordinary group of people who care passionately about their research and about furthering and supporting others' research. RootsWeb is a really special community."

Those of you who aren't active in the RootsWeb community may not understand the RootsWeb Spirit. "RootsWeb is a great site," comments Sean, a member of the RootsWeb staff. "RootsWeb has always had dedicated, loyal people who volunteer their time and love RootsWeb." Freely giving and freely receiving. That's the RootsWeb Spirit.

Where else can you find volunteers running 30,000 free mailing lists? Where else can you find volunteers managing 161,000 free message boards? Where else can you find volunteer webmasters publishing 41,000 freely accessible websites of rich, genealogical information? Where else can you find contributors of 408,000 freely accessible family trees containing 495 million names and 1.2 million helpful comments shared by other researchers? Where else can you find contributors of 8.6 million freely accessible database records?

Sean remembers that Jamie recognized the RootsWeb Spirit from "day one" and quickly became one of its most dedicated and loyal leaders. "Jamie's infectious energy fueled the RootsWeb team to become the most focused and motivated it has been."

"Jamie is a rare individual," commented D., a RootsWeb staff member. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in computer science and received an MBA with top honors and a 3.9 GPA. "Not only is she a talented programmer but also an inspirational leader. She could laugh or cry along side us and yet keep us moving forward." Many others echoed these sentiments. Coworker Brad Z. said, "Jamie has been a strong voice for RootsWeb and has helped improve it continually."

Jamie, we'll all miss you. Sean captured my feelings when he said, "Jamie will be missed. She was truly someone who 'got' RootsWeb."

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