Michelle Schroeder 2018 Q&A: Group 2

[Note: Candidates were limited to 300 words for each answer.]

5. What are a couple of major issues that you know the OTW board struggles or has struggled with, and how would you personally act to avoid them if elected?

One issue that I know the Board has struggled with in the past is disconnect from the Org itself, but since that’s the next question, I’ll save the full answer for that. Another issue is that people aren’t entirely sure what being on Board entails. This can make it difficult for people to know if they would make good candidates, and can also affect Board handoff when things are less than ideal, like it did a few years ago.

This year, there was a very informative session internally, where the Board was available to talk about their duties and answer questions, so I’d like to see something like that continue to happen in future years. In addition, I’d like to continue increasing internal documentation about Board training and duties to help with both easier handoffs and with providing information for volunteers to understand how being on Board works.

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Natalia Gruber 2018 Q&A: Group 2

[Note: Candidates were limited to 300 words for each answer.]

5. What are a couple of major issues that you know the OTW board struggles or has struggled with, and how would you personally act to avoid them if elected?

The board has faced some issues in the past when directors became extremely out of touch with the OTW committees, which I will address in the next question. Another problem was that not only volunteers but also members of the organisation used to have no means to reach out to the Board to address concerns and dissatisfactions about how the OTW was run. I believe current members of the Board have made a lot of progress to improve this situation by communicating with committee chairs and the membership as a whole more openly and transparently. I intend to continue these efforts, and one measure I would like to take if possible is establishing a way in which Board members who are not fulfilling their duties appropriately can be removed from the Board by committee chairs.

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C. Ryan Smith 2018 Q&A: Group 2

[Note: Candidates were limited to 300 words for each answer.]

5. What are a couple of major issues that you know the OTW board struggles or has struggled with, and how would you personally act to avoid them if elected?

Personally, I have always felt the biggest issue the Board has struggled with is the disconnect that could arise between them and the organization as a whole. Take a look at the next question (#6) for more about that! Another thing that I feel the Board has struggled within the past is managing their workload. While each position within the OTW generally has a commitment of only a few hours per week, it can quickly add up once you begin to work within multiple committees. The previous structure of the Board did not help matters either, as each individual Board member would serve as a dedicated liaison to a handful of committees (thereby increasing the workload more). In order to compensate for this high workload, some directors would retire from their various positions within the OTW in order to devote themselves to their Board work, which increased in the disconnect between them and the rest of the OTW.

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Lex de Leon 2018 Q&A: Group 2

[Note: Candidates were limited to 300 words for each answer.]

5. What are a couple of major issues that you know the OTW board struggles or has struggled with, and how would you personally act to avoid them if elected?

It is vital for any organization to have a coherent roadmap with tangible goalposts. Whether it is as simple as changing priorities or actively working to achieve currently intangible goals, this is direction that can and should come from the Board. Also, being able to translate between those who may or may not be using the same words to mean vastly different things. Facilitating communication is a huge part of what is meant to be done with oversight. I cannot describe the number of meetings or calls which were disasters until everyone realized that the technical side was speaking a different language than the non-technical side. I still have an eye twitch from the “batch vs. document vs. pages” battle held over a conference room table.

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Natalia Gruber 2018 Q&A: Group 1

[Note: Candidates were limited to 300 words for each answer.]

1. What do you hope to learn in your time on Board?

I would like to learn more about the administrative and legal aspects of running a non-profit, what day-to-day activities Board members do to keep us in shape, and what possibilities and limitations we have for the future, especially regarding our advocacy projects.

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C. Ryan Smith 2018 Q&A: Group 1

[Note: Candidates were limited to 300 words for each answer.]

1. What do you hope to learn in your time on Board?

I would like to learn more about the individual projects that we are responsible for as an organization. While our internal wiki has a lot of information about the technical details behind these projects, as a Board member I would hope to really immerse myself in dialogue with the relevant committees. I feel the best way to learn about each project and each committee’s mission is to talk to them and hear it directly from them (only second to actually volunteering with them directly). The relationship between the Board and the rest of the organization is, by necessity, symbiotic—we must be able to learn and support each other in order for the organization as a whole to thrive.

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