OASIS Board Member Spotlight Series: Q&A with Gershon Janssen

Get to know Gershon and find out how he’s been making an impact at OASIS since 2007.

Each month, we’ll interview one OASIS Board Member to give you a better sense of who they are and why they serve the OASIS community. 

This month, we caught up with Gershon Janssen, OASIS Board Chair and Director of Solutions Architecture at Reideate, to talk about his path to the OASIS board, his extensive background in standards development, his goals for the organization, and more.

We’re happy to have you on the OASIS board. Can you tell us a little about your role at Reideate?
I’m the Director of Solutions Architecture at Reideate, responsible for the architecture and research and development activities.

We are a boutique consulting firm focused on solving complex business problems and driving digital transformation through simplification and innovation. Redoing the thinking or ideation behind those business problems is essential in our success. We’re specialized in information technology challenges, predominantly offering consulting services, but we also do research and development to keep ourselves on top of our game and lead by knowledge and expertise.

How long have you been involved with the board?
I’ve been involved with the board since 2012, serving as the chairperson since 2016.

What inspired you to join the OASIS Board of Directors?
A rare synergy evolved between my OASIS standards development activities and my day-to-day work, which make both natural extensions of each other. The Executive Director of OASIS noticed my close and active involvement in OASIS Technical Committees as well as my liaison role with various European developments. He approached me with the ask if I would be interested in taking on a broader role by considering being a director. After carefully considering the effort, responsibilities, how I can make a difference and contribute, as well as talking to a few peers, I decided to go for it.

How did you first get involved with OASIS?
I got involved with OASIS in 2007. I was involved in a project where business processes using web services were orchestrated making heavy use of the OASIS Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) standard. There was a strong need for human interactions within those processes. After exploring our options for this, we found the WS-BPEL Extension for People (BPEL4People) Technical Committee (TC) that exactly addressed our need for human interactions in BPEL. I joined OASIS, got more involved in the development of that standard, and started to broaden my activities in other TCs out of professional interest. I’ve been closely involved in OASIS since then.

What excites you about OASIS and why are you passionate about its mission?
OASIS, a leading and respected open standards development organization, develops needed first class standards that are well received and adopted by the industry, while fostering and preserving its key strengths as being member-driven, open and transparent.

OASIS also continues to stay relevant for its membership and new constituencies by having broadened its focus from strictly standards to open source and open standards which are the new confluence of what drives innovation and serves ever more agile communities.

Being part of and able to develop open standards and open source on a global stage with an active and respected community of experts is something that is really exciting to me.

What types of skills/expertise do you bring to the OASIS Board?
Through many years of active participation in different capacities within open standards development efforts, I carry a lot of knowledge, experience, and insights on what it takes to develop, promote, adopt, and use open products.

I bring relevant insights which help shape OASIS’ future strategy, voice the EU perspective on important themes, and strive for close collaboration with other organizations; knowing who’s doing what and effectively collaborating with each other results in better visible and well-adopted products by the industry.

Do you have a specific role(s) within the Board?
I’m the chair of the Board. I’m also on the executive, finance & audit, governance and process board sub committees.

How do you hope to make an impact as a board member during your term?
I like to help drive OASIS’ strategic agenda, making it a better, more effective, and valuable organization, pursuing modernization for the benefit of its members, with the good of the OASIS community at heart!

How do you see your background and experience complementing the current board?
As a result of my long involvement, I believe I gained a deep understanding of the OASIS organization and its transition over time. In addition, I’m able to voice the EU perspective on important themes.

Being experienced in working in large distributed organizations and providing leadership to multi-disciplinary teams, I have a strong sense for the various interests of different stakeholders and have the ability to achieve progress and results based on consensus of all involved.

What would you like to accomplish as a board member this year?
This year, I hope to further develop and speed up the implementation of OASIS’ strategic agenda to address the challenges ahead of us and warrant continued organizational relevance and improvement through better responsiveness, openness, and inclusiveness.

What are your thoughts about the OASIS community? What are some of the key aspects of OASIS that sets it apart from other organizations?
OASIS has a very broad community of experts with standards development activities in many areas. Cross collaboration is easy and the community is very welcoming.

Can you tell us about a role model or mentor that you have currently or have had in the past and what were the qualities that inspired you most about that person?
I had three people in particular that I had to honor to work with and served as role models helping me navigate and better understand the landscape of standards development: Jim Hughes (before Microsoft) from whom I learned the tricks of the trade on how to deal with complex governance issues, Martin Chapman (before Oracle) who always kept me sharp to not lose sight of important details, and John Sabo (before CA Technologies) who was an example to me on how to reach agreement no matter how much opinions differed.

What are few words that come to mind when you think about the work being done at OASIS?
Relevant, widely applicable and trustworthy.

What’s a fun fact about you?
Outside of work I am a passionate ballroom dancer.