Kari Dayton (she/her) first found fandom at a very young age via Sailor Moon, but it would be several more years until she found fanfic in the Harry Potter fandom. (She strongly believes in Trans Rights and loves the work that has been done to distance the amazing HP fandom from the hateful vitriol the creator espouses.) Although many plot bunnies live in her head, she hasn’t written much fanfic and prefers to work behind the scenes as a Tag Wrangler, a committee she joined in 2018. She is an active Tag Wrangler Supervisor (since 2019), and enjoys helping with admin work and brainstorming ways to make Wranglers’ lives easier.
During the day, she works in tech for a VoIP company, and is the main internal trainer and technical lead for her department. Her day job includes writing and updating documentation, being a resource for coworkers in her department and related departments, answering questions (via chat and email), and training new hires. She is known at her company for helping departments cooperate, facilitating communication between departments, being the person who knows things, and in general thinks information silos are a disservice to all. She’d be happy to train you on any task you’d like to know more about – just ask!
1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
I decided to run for a few reasons. One of the key motivators is to help support the OTW further beyond what I currently do, in terms of donating and volunteering. I truly believe in what the OTW does and stands for, and I believe in putting my time, money, and effort in causes that are important to me.
On a lighter note, I’m a very curious person who works best when I know what everyone is working on and how parts of a whole work together, so running for Board seemed like a logical next step! I like to understand the “big picture” so that I can better understand my part in the whole.
Finally, I wanted to ensure that we had enough candidates to prevent our emergency candidates from being required to run. I had considered running last year but it was a very tumultuous time in my personal life, so I ultimately decided against it. Yet another motivator for running this year was because several of my OTW friends thought I would be a good fit for the Board!
2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
From the OTW side, I bring a lot of Tag Wrangling experience (in the form of three years wrangling, and two years supervising) and about six months of Support experience. OTW volunteering has also helped me to learn how to communicate more clearly and effectively with people who may not speak English as a first language, how to work remotely, and collaborate with people around the world.
From my paid job side, I bring even more experience working with different cultures, leadership experience (both officially and unofficially), organizational experience (librarianship, curriculum development, documentation) and a lot of experience working closely with different groups that might have varying goals.
I am also unafraid to speak up when I am not sure I understand something or want additional clarification; I am known for being very good at either having an answer to a question, being able to quickly find the answer to a question, or finding someone who can answer the question.
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?
My first main goal is amplifying marginalized voices within the OTW team. I think it is important to make sure that we are listening and making changes to help marginalized people, both for their comfort and to help the OTW improve. The OTW, in my experience, is good at listening – but I think it could do better (like many organizations). One of the hardest parts of this goal, however, is finding people within the OTW who are willing to speak about their experience (self-identifying as marginalized). I am motivated to work towards finding a solution for this – this is important to me as a marginalized person, who also has many people I love who are marginalized. This is also important as part of my work in unlearning privilege (as much as I can). Amplifying the voices of those who may not feel heard or who may not feel they have a seat at the table is an incredibly important (but difficult) goal – but I think it’s a worthwhile one for us (the OTW) to take on.
My other main goal is to encourage more open communication within the Organization. We have a frequent newsletter, and the Board has an anonymous feedback form, but I would like to explore more options to encourage more visibility both between committees as well as inside them.
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.
I am mainly familiar with the Archive (via my work as a Tag Wrangler), but I also have experience with Fanlore (personal use) and Open Doors (tag mapping, and enthusiastic support).
I would love to have conversations with less-known projects, such as Fanhackers and TWC, to see if they are interested in finding ways to increase visibility, either internally (within the OTW) or externally, to non-volunteers. I know, for example, that Fanlore runs several fun activities throughout the year; perhaps a similar project would be of interest to other projects? The key here, of course, is reaching out to the committees to see how they feel about taking on something like this, and supporting them if they are interested.
I would also like to learn more about other projects to be more personally knowledgeable for when questions or issues arise. I feel that knowing more about the other projects that I don’t have immediate contact with could only help my understanding and support of the OTW as a whole.
Despite my excitement about learning about other less-known projects, I am also committed to supporting the more visible internal committees, like Tag Wrangling, PAC, Support, and Translation, in whatever manner they need or want the support. I’ve found that you can get a lot done by inviting comment and genuinely listening to responses – I’d love to talk with these committees, and others, and learn where their pain points are, and offer support.
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 no plans to hand over my current role, as the TW supervisor team is large enough to support me if I need to reduce the frequency of some of my current tasks. I also have no plans to reduce my tag wrangling, as it is something that can be done in bite-sized chunks. However, I can reduce the number of fandoms I wrangle if I need to focus more on Board-related work.