Gimena Calixto is an Audiovisual Media student in college with experience producing and participating in diverse projects in the field (doing camera work, video and sound edition, etc.), but even more experience in being fannish over them. She stumbled upon fandom in 2002 and has never left since, her interests ranging anywhere from anime to bandom to books to comics to TV series over the time. Fandom has given her not only a creative outlet and a way to connect to like-minded individuals, but also a way to better a lot of her skills and grow as a person through the exchange of opinions and knowledge. Volunteering for the OTW has been her way to give back to fandom. She first joined the OTW as a tag wrangler in 2016, and later on joined the Abuse committee.
1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
I made the decision to run because I think that I have skills and experience that will prove useful to the Board, and that I can make valuable contributions and help towards accomplishing the immediate and long-term goals the different OTW projects have set for themselves.
I’m also at a point in my life where I can make this kind of commitment and dedicate it the attention, time and effort it deserves.
2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
I’m a patient and enthusiastic individual, willing to work hard, but more importantly: I’m more than willing and prepared to listen actively.
I have a lot of experience regarding teamwork from my past working environments, my participation in social and political activism, my involvement with organizations where my tasks— which I oftentimes conducted in committees or groups— ranged from design to media management to drafting documents, and my role in the organization as a volunteer and staff. This has made me gain perspective over time about what proves to be effective and what doesn’t in these situations where team effort is vital, which I think is one of the most important things to bring to the Board.
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?
- Working on writing up and/or updating our internal documentation by designating a member (or a team of them) in every committee to be in charge of the task. Resources of this nature are incredibly important in an organization of this size, and whenever we get new recruits it’s made evident that we rely too much on key current members to pass down information and knowledge that isn’t written down anywhere else to consult.
- Working towards wider inclusivity through internationalisation— especially in the AO3, which is our biggest project in scope. I know the AO3 being fully translated and available to use in multiple languages is a lofty goal that means a lot of hours spent coding and translating, but it’s something I’d like for us to keep working towards. I’m also interested in fostering more and better relationships with non-English fandom spaces, perhaps achievable by establishing liaisons.
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.
The projects I’m most familiar with are Fanlore, Open Doors and the Archive of Our Own.
Of these, I have most experience with AO3. It has been a part of my daily life for a rather long time as a user, and I’m excited to see it thrive and become a vital part of fandom history. Becoming a volunteer and later on staff has given me perspective about the amount of effort and love that goes into the project, and how the committees that oversee it work, how tightly woven they are.
Legal Advocacy and TWC are two projects that I have, admittedly, significantly less experience with; I am, however, aware of their goals and achievements and have benefitted from their efforts in different ways.
I think that as a Board member the most important thing would be to be approachable and available: be ready to have open communication with the committees in order to be aware of their needs and wants, and hand them the tools and lend them the support they need to carry their respective duties and approach their goals without stifling them.
Each committee has its specific needs and its inner workings, and understanding this and being able to conduct ourselves accordingly is of the essence to help empowering them.
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 have a clear enough schedule at the moment that I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to attend to all my responsibilities within the OTW— and think that as a Board member, I’d benefit from staying in touch with the daily workings of the committees I’m a part of now, and so would the Board. I could, however, lighten my wrangling workload if need be by helping my co-wranglers recruit new volunteers in the bigger fandoms I’m a part of in order to step down from them without causing them grief.