Astrid Olin is a bookkeeper and senior administrator for a small business. She resides in the Twin Cities with her husband, who she met in 2015 when she first joined the Policy & Abuse committee (yeah, you read that right — the fic just writes itself), and their two cats. Her first baby steps into the world of online fandom happened sometime in the late ’90s, back in the age of Geocities, plaintext video game walkthroughs, and Final Fantasy character shrines. She joined the Archive as a user in 2011 on the pretense of participating in a Final Fantasy gift exchange. She reads a wide and eclectic variety of fandoms, and has a fondness for canon ships, rare pairs, and femslash. Her current fandoms include Dragon Age, Veep, and Stardew Valley.
1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
I decided to run for election to the Board this year because I believe in the importance of having enough candidates to hold contested elections. I strongly believe in the OTW’s work, mission, values, and goals, and would very much like to continue giving my support through whatever means make sense, whether that be through my continued volunteer work with the Policy & Abuse committee, or in some capacity as a potential member of Board. I am fortunate to find myself in a position in my adult professional life where I have acquired the skills, background, and outside perspective that would prove useful in a Board setting, and I would like to bring that to the table.
2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
In my day job, I am a bookkeeper and a senior administrator for a small business located in the US. I do not yet hold any professional bookkeeping or accountancy certifications, but I hope to change that in the near future. What this means is that if you hand me a budget or a financial statement, I can look at it and go, “Oh, that makes sense.” Because I work for a very small business, I do end up wearing many hats, whether I want to or not — I carry almost two years of administrative and managerial experience, working closely with vendors, contractors, and ensuring that the core of our operations continues to run smoothly.
On the OTW side of things, I first joined the Policy & Abuse committee in 2015, back when it was still called the Abuse committee. I am comfortable with mediating disputes and collaborating in a remote, online setting.
I am not afraid to get my hands dirty and learn how things are done so I can better know how to be more supportive from an administrative standpoint. This holds true both in my online life as well as my offline life. If there are gaps in my knowledge — and there always will be — I will always seek to rectify that, whether that be through asking questions, or through a more hands-on approach. The ability to ask questions is an important skill to have when you collaborate and communicate with others!
3. Choose one or two goals for the OTW that are important to you and that you would be interested in working on during your term. Why do you value these goals? How would you work with others to achieve them?
Bookkeeping being one of my responsibilities in my day job, I am interested in the Finance committee and their work. I think it’s awesome that, since they were brought back as a committee, our budget information has been made readily available and accessible to the public, in addition to our most recently audited financial statements and reporting documents. As a nonprofit organization, it is critical that we keep up this dedication to transparency, especially in regards to our financial activities—we would not be able to operate as an organization without the generous donations of our members.
We are a small nonprofit organization running off of a shoestring budget and some glue; our members, volunteers, and committees need to know that they are in good hands, that there will be enough resources to go around, and that their project needs will continue to be met so that we can further the OTW’s mission.
In this matter, there is always room for improvement! I would like to see us continue working on making this information as accessible and digestible as possible for those who may see the word “budget” and immediately run screaming in the opposite direction.
4. What is your experience with the OTW’s projects and how would you collaborate with the relevant committees to support and strengthen them? Try to include a range of projects, though feel free to emphasize particular ones you have experience with.
I am intimately familiar with the Archive through my work with Policy & Abuse. I only have passing familiarity with the OTW’s other projects, although I do have a personal, hobbyist’s interest in TWC. I would like to improve on my knowledge of the OTW’s projects so I know how to better support them! A good place to start as any is to ask questions and get a feel for what their responsibilities are and what problems they are currently facing.
I want to be as approachable as possible and help facilitate cross-communication between committees.
5. How would you balance your Board work with other roles in the OTW, or how do you plan to hand over your current roles to focus on Board work?
I currently hold only one role within the OTW as a Policy & Abuse staff member. We recently took on a new batch of recruits who are eagerly helping to annihilate our backlog of tickets. I have found myself scaling back my own caseload to take the odd complicated case here and there, and reshifted my focus to getting our queue of tickets up for review moving along. I do not think finding more time to work for the OTW will be a problem, but if that does not turn out to be the case, I will gladly refocus my priorities as needed.