[Note: In total, there will be 6 Q&A posts to cover all of the topics brought up during the user-submitted Q&A period. The candidates were limited to 300 words to answer each question, but they were allowed to rearrange and combine questions within a single post to more clearly express their thoughts. Candidate answers represent only the views of the individual candidate and are not endorsed by the OTW.
Due to a high volume of similar questions this year, many questions were merged and duplicate questions were left out. Other than this, questions appear in the form they were submitted. Questions represent only the views of the individual questioner and are not endorsed by the OTW.]
In terms of person to person communication, what would you say is your best quality?
I believe my best quality in person to person communication is my ability to be open-minded, to accept that others have different viewpoints and to take those into consideration, even if I do not always agree with them. This is also helpful in the regular discussions we have in the Policy & Abuse Committee.
Can you talk about a time that something about your work style or communication style caused problems in your professional life? What did you do to handle those problems or prevent them from recurring in the future?
I’m not very good at a political spin or the more engaging writing style that may be necessary for, for example, press releases and other PR work—my skills lie more in writing concise project documentation and memorandums. That has led to quite a few headaches and multiple rounds of editing on the side of the press office in my paid work in the past. In the end, we came to the agreement that I would provide key points for the information to be published and that the press department could rephrase them as it deemed necessary.
How do you approach conflicts involving you in the OTW or other professional settings? Can you talk about a time that you resolved a conflict that you had with a fellow OTW volunteer or a colleague? What happened, and what you learned from them? [merged question]
My general approach to solving conflict is to assume good faith as well as do my best to ensure that the parties in question are not talking at cross-purposes—this is especially important in-text based discussions that include non-native English speakers, which is the case for almost all discussions within the OTW. I try not to just look at one isolated problem that might have started the conflict but to understand the bigger context to see where the other parties are coming from. It is important to not just criticize but to be constructive and offer alternate solutions and of course be open to other solutions as well. Often the way to end a conflict is not to convince the other party with your arguments but to negotiate a compromise that everyone can live with. Depending on the severity of the conflict involving a mediator may be helpful.
During one of the projects I was part of in my paid work a co-worker continuously missed deadlines. This resulted in other members of the project having to fix or finish their tasks—often very last minute and resulting in a lot of overtime, which sparked several heated discussions and a distrustful working atmosphere within the team. Our project lead at that time was very conflict-averse. To avoid further damage to our project timeline, and possibly to the public image of our project as a whole, I had a constructive talk with my co-worker. I learned they had trouble estimating the time needed to finish their work packages and plan accordingly as well as a tendency to procrastinate to avoid more difficult tasks. We broke those packages down into smaller pieces with shorter deadlines and incorporated those into our project schedule. That, in turn, meant the whole project team had the security of knowing the progress of each (bigger) work package and could cease constantly worrying about fixing someone else’s work which in turn improved the team spirit.
I have made professional and personal decisions I later regretted, but describing them on a level I feel comfortable sharing on the internet as opposed to a closed job interview makes them sound very superficial. However, the aforementioned incident can also work as an example as I regret not speaking with my colleague earlier so we could have avoided letting the situation deteriorate to a point where our project team was barely functioning as a team anymore.
How would you describe your current relationship with your committee chairs, and OTW leadership at large? Have you encountered any issues in the past, and how have you handled these? Do you imagine your interactions would change should you be elected to the Board?
My Chairs, as well as the OTW leadership in general, have all been very approachable and helpful in the past and I would not hesitate to contact them in case I encounter any issues. I have talked with a lot of current and former Chairs as well as Board members to prepare for this election and everyone went above and beyond answering questions and explaining procedures. I’ve volunteered alongside Board members, past and present, in both of my committees and there were no changes in their relationship to me during their term, nor was I able to see any changes in their relationship regarding their Chairs. Therefore, I would be surprised if that were different in my case.
With the outside world increasingly bananas, how will you balance your Board duties with your other commitments/jobs?
As already mentioned on my platform, my professional job requires a high level of time management and organisational skills, which allows me to juggle my private, professional, and volunteer roles. I have recently finished getting an additional degree while working in my professional job as well as volunteering in two OTW committees. The time that was formerly reserved for studying and writing a thesis is now available for a possible Board commitment. In addition, my current volunteer roles both allow for a certain degree of flexibility. For example, scaling down Policy & Abuse work to the minimum ticket requirement or even taking a hiatus, in case the workload on Board rises unexpectedly, is always an option.
Can the candidates share the LEAST popular fandom that they like? Feel free to rate or explain the popularity in one’s own way.
I find it very difficult to define a “least popular” fandom. Some of my fandoms, for example the German TV show “Raumpatrouille Orion”, that are not English language media fandoms may not be popular on an international scale but can have a substantial following in their home countries.
Now that you’re running together, what would you say are the nicest things you learned about each of your fellow candidates?
Apart from running together I have had the chance to work with most of my fellow candidates at one point either in the Policy & Abuse or Translation Committees. I admire all of them for running and making sure we have a contested election even in this crazy year! Alex has a wealth of knowledge about the Organization, thanks to being on the Board that rebuilt things after the 2015 elections, and is always willing to share that knowledge. She has a sharp sense of humour and I love bickering with her! Nicole is very detail-oriented and has the ability to multitask, without getting overly bogged down on minutiae to the point where nothing gets done. Jess has had my back for the last five years of working together on the Policy & Abuse Committee. I can see how great she is as a teacher in her paid job because she is very supportive and kind, willing to listen and is always up for brainstorming. I have not worked with Zoë yet, but in our public channels she is very friendly, thoughtful and always makes sure everyone else is comfortable and having fun!