Lex de Leon 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 want to learn more about how the OTW works on the whole, specifically how each committee works with and bolsters the others. I look forward to being able to learn more about the other committees and seeing the work they do, in addition to increasing my knowledge of the ones I have already become familiar with at this point. I have already reaped the benefits of all of the committees—it is important that I take the time and give them my attention, whether as a volunteer or as a Board member.

2. [Platform follow-up] Where would you like to see the OTW in five to ten years? What are three steps that you’d like to take in your three-year term towards that future?

I would like to see the OTW be at the forefront of continuing to push for the rights of fan spaces and fan works to exist. With the recent legislation brought forth by the European Union to limit the ability of fan works to exist, it is clear that the challenges to arcane or outdated concepts is a never ending struggle. Additionally, being a coherent repository not just for fanworks, but for fannish history and trends is a crucial, oft ignored aspect of communities as a whole. We must continue to learn from what has come before to allow us to grow from the mistakes of the past.

Other than those two points, I also believe that we must remain informed and aware of current and future technological advancements to allow us to be flexible and responsive. The OTW exists in a heavily technology based space. To ignore this is a fallacy which cannot happen.

To achieve these, the needs and voices of various committees are necessary. We need a coherent plan to continue to challenge ambiguous legislation and efforts to undermine the rights of fans; to provide support and visibility to Open Doors and Fanlore; and to continue to work toward continuous improvement in our technology platform.

3. Can you share some ways that you’ve dealt with stressful communication situations (e.g. handling difficult emails, fraught phone calls, complex meetings)?

In my professional career managing an archival system, I am frequently the recipient of aggressive, abusive or downright rude phone calls or emails. I and my team have been called into meetings where we were deliberately set up to fail. Each of these situations is an opportunity to take a solution that does not work and find one which is able to meet the needs of the people who are using it. I have found that coming together and focusing our attention on the problem to be solved, rather than each other, has allowed for significant inroads in previously openly hostile departments and relationships. It is through working together that we as a full team can find the resolutions that work best for everyone, within the limitations of systems, budgets and other known factors.

4. What do you think is the most urgent structural change that the OTW needs to make in order to be a better and more sustainable organization? Why?

I believe it is important that whoever is on Board take conscious steps to stop any backsliding into bad habits that are frequently a problem in non-profits that have reached this stage of growth and maturity. The overall goal of Board should be to allow the OTW to continue to thrive and flourish. Listening to needs of individual committees and the OTW as a whole is as vital as listening to those who benefit from or utilize the OTW’s projects.

From a more practical or tangible perspective, we do need to implement plans for certain things – it is the responsibility of the Board to help provide the clear vision of the future of the OTW after receiving information from the various committees. Fresh perspectives and renewed energy is absolutely one way that we as an organization can continue this progress. By coming together and working on the tasks which have been requested, we can poise the OTW in a wonderful place for years to come.

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