jennyst: Jenny on a photo of space (Default)
[personal profile] jennyst
The candidate statementsfor election to the OTW Board are now public. I highly recommend you read them.

You may also want to question us about our plans for the year - either live in the public chat sessions, or by submitting questions to the elections officer as described on the site, or you can ask me things here on my journal.

My main aim for the next year is sustainability - the org started as a small group of friends working together, and has gradually grown as more people have volunteered. We're now at the stage where we need to put in long-term structure, to support all our volunteers. That means making sure that policies and procedures are documented, not just implicit - so you can't fall foul of unwritten rules just because you don't know the people you were meant to talk to. I've seen this situation from both sides - in some cases being the person treading on people's toes because no-one had told me how it was meant to work, and in some cases knowing how and why the org works the way it does and seeing someone else step in and mess things up because no-one was training or mentoring them. So I'm in a rare position to be able to improve things - I'm not one of the original group, so I can see it from the outside, but I've been around long enough to be able to document and pass on the assumptions that were previously unwritten.

Some things that work great for an org of 10 people don't work so well for an org of 200 or more, and we're working on changing to match that, but more always needs doing. I want to set us up for the future, so that any volunteer can take a break if they need to without anything falling over behind them, and so that anyone can volunteer without any unnecessary barriers stopping them.

Answers to questions posed in the chats will also be posted on the official site.

You can find more information about the OTW on the official OTW site. Election voting is November 16th-18th.

Date: 2011-10-18 10:30 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] aruna7
Thank you for your candidacy, again! :)

Date: 2011-10-18 11:16 am (UTC)
elz: (otw)
From: [personal profile] elz
Yay for statements! And you all did a great job at the chat. :)

I'd offer this perspective, though: I joined OTW in early 2008, just by answering a call for volunteers in [community profile] otw_news. I didn't know anybody on the original board - I'd never interacted with any of them before. But I was part of AD&T within a few months, just because I kept showing up and getting things done. And I can't speak for other committees but that's always been the case with AD&T, from Maia, Sidra and Lucy to our current staff, yourself included! Virtually none of us knew each other outside of OTW. And the organization has grown as our projects have grown, but there were still hundreds of people involved early on. I just don't want to dismiss the contributions that everyone has made, or to make anyone feel nervous about volunteering if they don't know the right people - anyone can join and make a difference and take on a leadership role, which I can swear to from experience!

Date: 2011-10-19 11:54 am (UTC)
elz: (otw)
From: [personal profile] elz
I would never claim that we were perfect, and you're right, we're not. The organization is full of people, and people have stresses and illnesses and personality conflicts and miscommunications. But two years ago, Maia was chair, last year, Lucy was chair, this year, Amelia and I are co-chairs - none of us are BNFs or got our jobs by knowing them. There have been nearly two dozen people on AD&T this year, none of whom I knew before getting involved with OTW. As an exclusive clique, we're a terrible failure!

Date: 2011-10-19 10:02 pm (UTC)
lian: Klavier Gavin, golden boy (Default)
From: [personal profile] lian
I think my story is pretty similar to yours, elz -- and I agree that it has never been the case that you need to know any "in people" to get a footing and do stuff inside the org. (Still waiting for my very own BNF badge! Why hasn't it arrived yet ?!)

But it's also the case that there is a real power differential, and that it's not the case that you can make anything happen if you're just plucky and resilient enough. (we're getting better there, I think, though, which is what counts, IMO.) There's a sort of friction that burns good people out, to an unhealthy degree, and because, like you, I care deeply for this organization and what it represents, I'm so committed to addressing it.

I mean, sure, misunderstandings, personality clashes, diverging opinions are normal, ultimately unavoidable, and often fertile, but it's more than that. It's .... well, oppressive. And I have experienced that personally (because god help me, I unwittingly got into very political committees without understanding, at first, that they were political, hah); and after talking to many people I realized it wasn't just me -- and that worries me so deeply that I decided to run for Board -- it was that or step down. I understand that this is not a universal experience inside the OTW, and I'm not trying to paint it as such. But it's not just a few oversensitive malcontents, you know? (Sometimes wonder whether I'm too desensitized, actually -- like, I'm honestly asking myself why I stayed when better and stronger people than me fell by the wayside.)

And I know that I and so many people have shut up about our experience because [okay, well, we didn't think anyone would care at all, plus: ] we don't actually wanted to create more friction and antagonize dear colleagues, and, worst case, damage the organization we love, when that is the very last thing we want. Catch-22. I'm sure you know something of this -- I'm not trying to imply that being on AD&T is a cakewalk, either, and that I personally haven't created problems and friction. (I know I have.)

But in the end, I have to go with sanders and say, self-care is essential, and if we can't have this kind of honest discussions, and if we can't change that atmosphere, then it's ultimately not an organization that is worth volunteering for.

Aaaand okay, this got away from me, I'm sorry. I wanted to show you where I'm coming from, seeing as our paths inside the org are so similar, but our experience of it so different.


jennyst: Jenny on a photo of space (Default)
Jenny S-T

December 2016


Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 17th, 2017 06:25 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios