|Renay (renay) wrote,|
@ 2011-10-17 11:00 pm UTC
I have been Tag Wrangling Lead/Chair since January 2010 (I am co-chairing in 2011, sort of, ha, as my co-chair reads this post and starts writing fic where the wrangulator eats me and spits out my bones), and a Volunteers and Recruiting staffer since January 2010. My perspective is unique in that I was never just a staffer. I went immediately from a tag wrangling volunteer to tag wrangling lead (which was effectively a chairship in duties if not name). I never had a chance to be just a staffer and sure enough I have spent quite a bit of time burnt out and feeling worn down and hopeless and overextended and wondering what was the use of the work I was doing? What was the point and who really cared? I never want any volunteer or staffer or chair to feel like that. So when I thought about the upcoming election, I already knew what I wanted in the Board members I would choose to give my vote to because of this background: I wanted them to care about the cause but also the people behind the cause, because it's people doing the work that is envisioned. I wanted them to care because I didn't get that year of being a volunteer with only staff level duties; because I graduated from the bottom to the top immediately, partly out of necessity and partly because I'm just a glutton for punishment and I don't want that to have to be true in the future. That's no one's fault but mine (I could have said no, stop), but the organization has volunteer issues and we can't keep consuming good people with chair skills. Change is going to start at the top with a Board that's really invested in the people they're directing.
Today was the first day of the Board Candidate chats. I had to watch from transcript instead of attending because my university wireless despises Campfire, but it was still very interesting. I encourage everyone to read it. Personal statements are out as well (they comprise the beginning of the chat) and those are what I want to focus on, because those do a great job of summing up the candidates I'm supporting. All the personal statements can be found on the OTW Elections website.
Julia Beck: I have worked with Julia as a chair. She has been endlessly supportive and helpful to me as an American fan with a very American perspective, helped the Tag Wrangling Committee become more inclusive of different types of fans, and has advocated for wrangling issues across the organization. Specific parts of her statement:
Julia’s priority is to help increase the OTW's diversity and accessibility to fandom, broadly conceived. She knows from her own experience how it feels to be "geoblocked," and she wants the OTW to increasingly reflect the realities of fandom as an interconnected, international community.
She also plans to focus on keeping the OTW sustainable in the long term, not only by recruiting and training volunteers, but also by keeping them invested in the organization. She believes the OTW’s potential is constrained only by the limited time and energy of its volunteers and that sustainable staffing is closely tied to diversity.
Lucy Pearson: In 2010, the tag wranglers were not a committee and were, looking back, not very visible: not great for wrangling retention. Lucy was the AD&T chair at the time, and she helped me bring the wranglers out from AD&T as a Sister Committee, so we could do our own, highly intensive, nit-picky work. I think of Tag Wrangling as the lit theory of the organization. It's culture, it's politics, it's philosophy — and Lucy saw it, and helped me build it up so we could be more present as contributors. The Tag Wrangling Committee owes her a great debt, as she gave us the platform and the power to become stronger and provide more visibility for the work the wranglers were doing. She has always included us and boosted us up, and her mentoring and help over the 2010 term was indispensable to me as I transitioned from lead to chair and tried not to freak out (and there were a lot of freakouts, no joke). She probably deserves an award: Handling Renay's Anxiety Attacks, 2010! Plated in gold. Specific parts of her statement:
She helped establish the Support Committee, which she still serves on, and supported the Tag Wrangling Committee through its transition from subcommittee to full committee.
She loves giving fans an insight into what goes on behind the scenes and is excited about the idea of bringing those skills to the Board.
Lucy works hard to improve transparency; I really appreciate this about her.
She works closely with archives and special collections, and is passionate about preserving fanworks and ensuring they remain accessible for the future.
Nikisha Sanders: I have not worked with Nikisha Sanders; my activities in the org keep me far away from numbers of any kind by design, because otherwise it would be like an explosion of fail. The truth is, I only decided to support her today, because of my background I mentioned above. It's complicated and difficult to explain, but honestly, I don't have to, because she did it for me in a post she wrote, Self-care & the art of working in a nonprofit organization:
In short, I don't want anyone in the organization feeling as broken, heartsick, soul-shredded, fucked over and rundown as I've been in my past experiences. And the truth is, I know some people have left feeling that way already. People leave fandoms feeling that way every single hour, I'd wager. In both cases, I hate seeing it happen.
I want to help foster a culture within OTW that supports our staff in clear ways, from ensuring we all have the people-power to carry out projects to offering mentoring and one-to-one support that lets us pick up skills as well as vital relationships. I wrote about Fincom and how amazing I think my colleagues there are, and that's a feeling and experience I want everyone who comes to OTW to be able to have, if they want it.
I think that (and her whole post) speaks for itself. It resonated with me and I appreciate very much that she said it. I am also in favor of numbers, as long as it's not me dealing with them. Also, shark jokes. Specific parts of her statement:
She has also helped produce the organization's annual report, ensured compliance with state and federal filings, developed meeting agendas, and taken charge of drafting policies and procedures for organizational budgeting.
She has a strong personal interest in examining the demographics of the organization and working to ensure that OTW represents the interests of fans across lines of race, class, ability and access.
Jenny Scott-Thompson: I have worked with Jenny both in wrangling and on Volunteers and Recruiting as a fellow staffer, where she helped train me (i.e. didn't let me drown in the deep end of the pool). She was always available for questions and helpful; I learned a lot about good documentation from her. The thing I admire most about Jenny is the ability she has to take on new projects and learn new things as needed. At one point, every time I turned around she was juggling a new project and knocking it out of the park. Specific parts of her statement:
Jenny will use her time on the Board to advocate for the sustainability of the OTW, transparency, accessibility, and diversity of all types, but particularly international and fannish sub-culture diversity.
Jenny has served the OTW in many capacities, first on the Volunteers & Recruiting committee (VolCom) and then on the Accessibility, Design & Technology committee (AD&T), and has performed a mix of coding, testing, support, tag wrangling, design and training tasks.
She values the OTW's whole mission and range of projects, including legal advocacy, Transformative Works and Cultures, Vidding and Fanlore, but believes the Archive of Our Own (AO3) is key to our mission. It offers a protected server owned by fans and supports Open Doors, thus providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan cultures.
She'd like to make it easier for people to volunteer, and to increase our support our existing volunteers, as this work will result in a more sustainable organisation (as well as making people happier!)
In the next year, she'd like to see the AO3 translated into multiple languages, fanart hosting, a public update on the Torrent of Our Own (TO3), and more improvements to searching and browsing for AO3 readers.
There is one last Board Candidate chat on 26 October 2011 from 8pm to 9pm UTC (click for time in your area). If you have specific questions for the candidates and can't attend, you can send them in and they'll be passed along.
It's probably obvious, since I've emerged from my midterm-induced stupor to write this post, that I care about the issue of Board representation a lot. If you're an OTW member, this election is important to the future direction of the organization. I encourage everyone to attend the chats/read the transcripts, visit the candidates and learn about them, and to make an informed decision about your leaders; they'll be shaping the organization for the next three years. So, on election day, come armed with knowledge and vote!