Tag: board

cela s

Cela Smith: Board Chairperson


Cela Smith is the board chairperson at Ace Makerspace. Given the current state of rebuilding that Ace is going through, I thought it would be useful to learn from an executive what’s going on, while also finding out more about another member of Ace. I’m Carter Jenkins, and I had the opportunity to talk with Cela about what she does and how she does it.

History with Ace

Most board members at Ace end up in their position by volunteering their way up the ranks. They start as being regular members, then over time eventually make the shift to becoming a leader in the place they love. Cela’s story, however, was a bit different.

Cela found Ace through Board Match, a networking service that allows non-profit organizations to meet highly skilled professionals in the hopes of recruiting them to a board position. In one building, more than 100 non-profit organizations had gathered to recruit new members. Cela eventually found herself at the booth for Ace, something she had never heard of. However, she quickly learned that Ace was a place that could offer a lot to her. As someone who was interested in education, science/technology, animals, and nature-conservation type stuff, Ace offered a great window into science and education. This prompted Cela to take a tour of the physical space and after that, she was hooked. 2 years later, and Cela is still here doing what she loves.

Upcoming Things at Ace

Despite the recent COVID surge, the officers and the board have some big plans in the works. First, public events are coming back, like those hosted at the Oakland Public Library and Oakland First Fridays. The events, while being a good way to get the word out about Ace, are also incredibly fun for both the participants and the members arranging them so Cela is very excited to have those back. The other is the project-based learning system (I touched on this in another article, you can read about that here). Ace already classes on how to use tools and things like that, but with this new system, you’ll be actually building complicated things that you could take home with you and actually use/look at.

Three people standing together under a gazebo
From left to right: Cela, Miriam Levenson, and Rachel/Crafty

A Few Words from Cela

I asked Cela about what advice she would give to future board members, and what she said was so well thought out that I decided to put it right here, word for word.

“It’s important to be open-minded and flexible. When you’re trying to help out a non-profit, you want to help to guide things in a certain way. Of course, it’s never going to be 100% what you expect, you need to be ready to adapt to the needs of the organization instead of pushing your own agenda onto the org. Having respect for other people is also very important. It’s essential to remember we’re all just people, so even if there are differences of opinion we still need to respect each other.”

To wrap up, Cela loves being in the maker space itself. Walking around, she can get a lot of cool ideas for projects. Even if she doesn’t end up doing them, it’s great to see creativity in action. With a love of the spaces’ values and its ability to be for a broader community for more than just makers, Cela is grateful for the opportunity to be at Ace. I’m Carter Jenkins and thank you for reading.

Interested in joining the Ace Makerspace Board? Contact “[email protected]

AMT Board Election Polls Now Open

Winter Board Election: Candidate Interviews

We have three seats on the board open this election cycle. Five awesome folks have stepped up as candidates. Get to know the candidates:

Mark Johnsen headshot photo

Mark Johnsen


Why you want to be on the board at AMT?

I love what AMT offers to the community and want to see grow and expand. Also, I think I can add to the vision and operations of AMT.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

I’d like to ensure AMT can continue to grow and function by driving pragmatic fire and safety policies as well as acquire grants and funding.  Also, I’d like to video tape some training sessions and more complicated ‘how-to’s” for equipment such as the Laser, 3d Printers, and CNC equipment to assist the community.


Jacob M

Jacob Mowbray


Why you want to be on the board at AMT?

I love AMT, and I’m dedicated to supporting our space’s continued success. Having served in two different leadership roles, I know the positive impact I can have as a Board Member. My aim is to serve AMT in the best way I can.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

As Board Director, my focus would be on improving the processes and procedures which govern AMT. Specifically, I would work to clarify officer roles & responsibilities, stabilizing a healthy leadership. Additionally, I would build a structured fundraising system, allowing our space to upgrade vital equipment, cover operating overhead, and raise the quality of our shared Maker Life.

Jacob LaBay


Why you want to be on the board at AMT?

What I lack in technical knowledge, I make up for in nonprofit knowledge. I would like to offer my fundraising skills to AMT. In my current job in development, I work with a board, and have always wanted to sit on the other side of the desk and see what it is like to serve on a board of a nonprofit.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

I would like to find additional sources of funding for AMT, such as grants and scholarships.

Pierre Grandin


Why you want to be on the board at AMT?

We still have some work to finish. Being part of the board has been a rewarding experience for me so far, and I would like to continue to contribute.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

Bylaws update, and trying to better support the officers.

Dylan C

Dylan Cheasty


Why you want to be on the board at AMT?

Ace Monster Toys is an amazing community and an excellent hacker resource. As the organization has grown, we need to change some parts of how we do things. I want to help see that those changes go well and make sure AMT continues to thrive.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

Officers and stewards do so much good for AMT. However, many positions get overburdened, and need easier ways to get support. We can help AMT accomplish more maintenance and improvements, and keep our stewards and officers happier, by revisiting how those roles are defined. Additionally, many people at AMT want to help out, but the current positions do not work for them. Adding a lower commitment way, but with some structure, such as “apprentice steward” groups, could be a neat option for people to help out and learn about the areas they are interested in, while enabling stewards to implement the special improvement projects they otherwise don’t have time for. Alternatively, stewards could be assigned special overhaul days throughout the year. Also, I’d like to increase AMT’s ability to get revenue from outside sources. The roles of President and Treasurer are already quite full, so creating a new officer position may be necessary.