Jennifer H.: (she/they) works as a research manager and consultant to many companies in the life sciences industry. She has been a volunteer with the Organization for Transformative Works since 2022 as a Tag Wrangler, and has been a member of fandom and the Archive of Our Own for over a decade.
In their day job, Jennifer manages projects across numerous internal and external stakeholders worldwide. She is detail-oriented and thoughtful. She also believes in consistent growth and learning—especially in public, no matter how embarrassing or difficult it may be sometimes.
In fandom, Jennifer is a writer with over a hundred stories published on the Archive. They have participated in and managed numerous events, including: fan weeks, fic remixes, fests, and exchanges across a wide variety of fandoms.
1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
Candidly, the organization needs a complete structural reform. There are too many problems to list, but here are a few of the most pressing: updates on the org’s commitment to antiracism have been few and far between; the overwhelming burnout and lack of support for current and former volunteers—especially those on the Policy and Abuse Committee; and lack of proper communication, internally and externally.
I am under no grand delusion that I will bring sweeping changes to the organization on my own—but I am persistent, devoted, and thoughtful, and I think that is an important start.
There must be ways to address the failings of the OTW and I am determined to learn the who’s, where’s and how’s of making it happen. It will take a lot of work and it will be uncomfortable and hard to have these conversations, but they have to occur. Change has to start somewhere.
2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
In the words of a former colleague (she/her): “Jennifer’s perceptive and meticulous nature allows her to properly identify the context and needs of whomever she is speaking with.”
My day job has a range of responsibilities, including: managing numerous, large-scale projects with internal and external global stakeholders; speaking with a variety of individuals to better understand their needs and pain points, and then acting as a thought partner to provide custom-fit solutions; and providing clear, concise documentation throughout each project lifecycle.
These skills are not all that I bring to the table, however. I am eager and open to learning and understanding the nuances of the OTW, including spaces and projects that I am not currently familiar with.
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?
External communication is noted as a priority in the OTW 2022-2025 Vision Statement. It is my belief that internal communication should be added as well.
Communication should be thoughtful, timely, and transparent. There will undoubtedly be situations where we will be limited in what we can share as members of the Board, but part of effective communication includes noting when those times happen and including a reasonable estimate of when more information can be given. Sometimes, this may include noting that we cannot answer a question—and why.
It is better to be honest than to be quiet.
Achieving this goal will take the work of numerous stakeholders, internally and externally. I will exemplify and model this behavior myself and I encourage everyone to do the same.
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 bulk of my experience is with AO3, as both a user and current volunteer (Tag Wrangling). While I am not as knowledgeable about some of the other projects, such as Fanlore and Open Doors, I believe their existence is vital and I look forward to learning them intimately.
Collaboration, in this context, starts with listening. It is important to understand what each committee is responsible for, their pain points, and where they excel. Only then can you take a step back, assess, and provide potential solutions. Collaboration then goes deeper—it involves soliciting feedback from Chairs, Supervisors, and volunteers. It involves following up to make sure that folks are doing alright and either stepping in, or finding someone who can step in to support day-to-day tasks as needed.
Collaborating, supporting, and strengthening the committees responsible for the OTW’s projects is a constant, never-ending process.
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?
As a Tag Wrangler, my responsibilities are quite flexible; I am solely responsible for the amount of work that I am assigned and can shift my workload up or down as needed. This means I will have plenty of time for Board work—which will definitely be needed.