Nicole Abraham first found fandom back in 2013, when she discovered Harry Potter fanfiction and became an avid reader! Ever since she has been jumping from fandom to fandom, but the first one will always hold a special place in her heart. When she’s not reading fic, Nicole enjoys spending her free time recording podfic and making fannish needlework projects. She has degrees in Mathematics and Statistics, and currently works as a Business Analytics Developer in the medical industry.
Her first role in the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) was as a tag wrangler in 2016, and she later took up a supervising position inside the committee, helping train new wranglers, develop work guidelines, and manage and complete committee-wide projects. She also volunteers for the Development & Membership committee as a Membership Data Specialist, maintaining the donor database, ensuring membership queries are responded to efficiently, and getting very excited over new drive premiums. Additionally, Nicole volunteered with the AO3 Policy & Abuse committee from 2017 to 2019, which allowed her to develop her problem-solving skills and learn a lot about the work of the user-facing branches of the OTW. Nicole loves the community she has found in the OTW, and is delighted by the opportunity to do whatever she can to help continue to carry out the OTW’s mission.
Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?
Volunteering for the OTW has been a major part of my life for the past few years. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of committees, and believe being on the Board would allow me to do even more for the organization I care so much about. The current Board has worked hard to support our committees through everything that has been happening recently, and I want to be able to help anywhere I can.
I’ve considered running for a while now, but this is the first year I know that I’ll be able to dedicate the time and energy that the OTW deserves.
What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?
Over the past 4 years I have worked on 3 different committees, all of which deal with very different parts of the OTW. This has given me a very broad understanding of how the OTW works internally, and taught me a lot about inter-committee collaboration. As a Development & Membership staffer, I’ve worked with several other teams in order to plan successful fundraising drives and ensure the sustainability of the OTW and all of its projects. From my time in Policy & Abuse I learned a lot about how to resolve conflicts, especially in situations where there is no clear answer. Taking on a supervisor role in Tag Wrangling has required the ability to balance long term projects with the daily administrative work involved in managing a committee with over 400 active volunteers.
My work in statistics and as a business analyst has helped me develop the critical thinking skills needed for solving complex problems. It often requires looking at an issue from many different angles, as well as working with others to ensure that the most practical solution is implemented. I often need to break a question down into smaller queries that are easier to answer instead of trying to resolve everything all at once, something that I believe will be incredibly applicable to the work of the Board of Directors.
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?
There are a lot of amazing people volunteering for the OTW, but we are also doing an incredible amount of work. It’s often a struggle to find the time and energy to do all of the needed tasks while still having time left over to train any new volunteers, and unfortunately we don’t always have the time to do everything. One of the key issues I’m most worried about is volunteer burnout. I would like to try to combat this with things such as encouraging better task management, collaboration on larger tasks, and taking a short break or minimising work when needed, but I know there is not a simple solution to this issue. I’d also like to work with others to see what their thoughts are on the matter and to determine ideas for more long term solutions.
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.
Reading the documentation of committees other than my own has been incredibly helpful, both in recognizing where someone is coming from during collaborative projects, and in understanding how the OTW works as a whole. I believe it is important to continue to encourage and support committees as they update internal documentation. This ensures that knowledge of important processes and decisions is retained, but it can also help others understand the workflows of committees they are collaborating with.
Additionally, something close to my heart is the continued sustainability and growth of the OTW and its projects. We’ve been incredibly lucky to receive record-breaking donations for the past couple of drives. I would like to work with committee chairs to identify places where we could use these donations to improve current projects and workflows. This would also allow volunteers to spend their time completing other goals, as at the moment we often have more work to do than people to complete it.
If elected, my goal would be to support the current committee chairs and to ensure that they have all of the resources they need to secure and build upon the OTW’s success.
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’ve recently left leadership positions in non-OTW organizations, including the local Harry Potter club. Because I’m not trying to manage quite as many things at once, I’ve found myself with much more free time on my hands that I’d love to put to use helping the OTW. If Board commitments do end up being more time consuming than I expect, I can easily reduce the number of fandoms I currently wrangle to allow more time for Board responsibilities.