Erica Dulin has been a volunteer with the Organization as a Tag Wrangler since late 2014, and a staffer since early 2016. She’s had the opportunity to work with a diverse volunteer pool in several work groups and projects, and she loves to learn about people and the things they are passionate about. She majored in Film & Television Production and her forever fandoms are Achievement Hunter and Rick and Morty. Erica is a true believer in freedom of speech and will uphold the Organization’s dedication to protecting fan creators’ right to share all of their creations, no matter what backlash they may garner from their works.
1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
I wanted to assure that there were enough candidates to have a fair and balanced election so that members could have proper say in how the Organization moves forward. I was encouraged to run by friends within the organization and I was easily convinced. The current board and Strategic Planning have laid out a very achievable three year plan and I believe I could help keep it on track and help committees define it in more detail as we draw closer to each goal. I appreciate the effort made by the board to carve out new committees as needed and resurrect old ones, such as Finance, and to find the best staff for it. As the organization continues to grow, I’d like to work with the board to help ensure the OTW recognizes and clearly defines its responsibilities as a non-profit and workplace, to help volunteers understand their commitment, and to encourage greater transparency into the inner-workings of the OTW.
2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
Honed by my experiences within in my committee, my strengths are interacting with coworkers and keeping on top of project steps and timelines. Working in various types of groups towards different kinds of goals has taught me to carefully explain myself, and to listen, and to compromise if need be. One key thing I’ve learned is to tackle any confusion at its source before moving forward. The OTW works best when everyone is working from the same information or assumption, whether they agree on a solution at the outset or not. We also often use postmortems, discussing what worked and didn’t work with the methodology of the project, brainstorming and identifying areas of improvement, and documenting the decisions made so we don’t reinvent the wheel every time a similar issue comes up.
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?
Stronger Infrastructure & Increased Volunteer Engagement, Retention, and Development are the literal backbone of every project in the organization; without infrastructure and volunteers, we don’t exist. I’d like to continue the goals in Strategic Planning of making sure every project and its subcommittees can clearly define their roles and share this information both internally and with the public. As a board member, I would make sure relevant committees were communicating with each other within the predetermined timeline, and I would act as an extra set of eyes to beta their conclusions. I’d like to build more social activities to help with volunteer retention; many committees are working towards this on their own and I’d like to make sure everyone has access to these ideas, and what’s worked and hasn’t worked in the past.
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.
As a Tag Wrangler, I’ve worked with the committees of Archive of Our Own and Open Doors. As a fan, I’ve edited articles on Fanlore and I eagerly read all of the news posted by Legal. Clear project definitions are important, and listening and asking questions is a big part of that. I frequently use org tools in my work as a tag wrangling staffer, which involves both inter- and intra- committee communication. This can range from asking translation to help with tags, to working with cowranglers from all over the world to decide on tag placement in subfandoms and formatting canonicals. Being open to input and clear and patient with questions has made all the difference in my wrangling experience, and even though it can be frustrating untangling a problem, it’s very satisfying when you’ve come together to solve it. The organization itself has a communication infrastructure that I’ve become very familiar with, from mailing lists to chat platforms and I’ve used these tools to listen to what wranglers and other committees need as part of their goals and problem solving, which helps in making well-informed decisions that we hope work in the long run.
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 give myself a weekly block of time to work on tag wrangling, and I check in at least a few days a week. The work in my committee is self chosen and self regulated, so I would concentrate on smaller, quicker projects. I can always ask for help; our staffers are often around to lend a hand or second opinion as needed.
Edited June 21 to remove a typo in the response to the third question, with candidate permission.