Lex de Leon: Lex currently works for the United States Government as a document and content management information technology specialist, with a specific focus on records import, migration and long term retention. He began by writing fanfiction for the Valdemar series and has since accumulated multiple fandoms which he is always willing to discuss. An unapologetically passionate femslash shipper, he enjoys writing fic that draws upon his life experiences and imagination, and reading any fic that catches his eye or features a pairing he enjoys. A fortuitous visit to the Archive just after recruitment for Support was announced led to him applying, with the belief that his decade of experience in technical support would be helpful within the OTW. He firmly believes in the mission of the OTW and wishes to continue its work into the future. Somehow, a lovely woman agreed to marry him and always be willing to listen to his fanwork ideas. Together they are raising two cats, a dog and one ornery, flightless bird.
Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
I firmly believe that the work that the Org does is crucial and important. Within the Org, there are innumerable tasks that must be done, some of which may not be immediately visible to others. It is these tasks which help keep the Org running smoothly, and these are the kinds of tasks I have made a career out of doing, often as part of a team.
I am more than happy to pitch in and do what needs to be done, no matter how thankless or invisible. Whether it’s serving as chauffeur and assistant or hauling boxes for friends, resolving Support or Tag Wrangling issues that others do not wish to touch, or fixing the twitchy areas that are causing my end users pain, I have happily stepped in to do what I can.
Ultimately, it is the work of volunteers and those who are passionate about the Org’s mission that make the Org what it is. If I can contribute to this in any small way, I want to do so.
What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
During my professional career, I have always been in a unique position that straddles both IT and Records Management, finding ways for people to find what they need when they need it. I have learned and received an industry standard certification in what records management means and why it is crucial—not just for business, governments and libraries, but for everyone.
Much of my professional work has involved working with teams from across the globe, frequently with possible miscommunication issues. Finding solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems is something I am regularly a part of, and I often do extra work to make the end result a more enjoyable or easier process for those who will eventually use what I am working on. Having this background, and deep familiarity with the associated bureaucracy inherent to these processes and with government work in general, I am well acquainted with what it takes to work collectively in a team in order to achieve goals that I personally may or may not fully support. If the OTW has determined that this is what is important, and I will do everything I can in order to make it happen.
I have had to wear many hats over the years, including project management, group leadership, teaching roles, and others too numerous to name. I have stayed in this career because I love it, and I believe that these are skills that can be utilized to help keep the OTW moving forward.
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?
Continuing focus on increasing accessibility and inclusivity of the OTW at large is something which I am completely in support of, and will strive to facilitate as much as possible. We have a rich and robust organization that can only benefit from continuing to grow and maintain the trend toward transparency and overall inclusivity.
The OTW itself is a living, growing thing, built by the people who volunteer, create and interact with it. Maintaining relationships between these groups and individuals, and problem solving when necessary, is something that I believe is crucial to continuing to encourage the OTW to thrive as it has done to this point.
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 have been volunteering for Support and Tag Wrangling, and have benefited from the projects within the OTW, such as Open Doors. Reading the documentation available created by the AO3 Docs team has been worth more than I can say.
The main skillset that is needed to work in a cross-functional, previously siloed environment such as the OTW is being able to actively listen and respond to the actual message being conveyed. This can help mitigate issues in miscommunication, and even help to stave off burnout of those who are edging toward it.
Being able to maintain open and honest communication is key to being successful, and it is something that I constantly strive for. Sometimes I may be too blunt or accidentally put my foot in my mouth, but I am no stranger to apologizing and explaining my points in a calm and even manner to allow for all to come to a better understanding.
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?
Maintaining a steady, constant workload is how I have been able to handle my commitments thus far. Being able to know my own limits and remain within them is a hard-won life skill which I do and will apply in order to make sure I am giving the proper level of attention to all of my duties.
My current workload, both professionally and within the OTW, is at a level such that I have been looking for additional work. In the event I am elected, I will re-evaluate my commitments regularly to ensure that I am able to provide the same level of care and attention which I currently do.
I have previously had an experience which taught me all too viscerally what my thresholds are—with my current job, I am now for the first time ever, not on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For the first time in the last decade, I have room to work on projects I want to work on and I have chosen to devote this time to the OTW.