Soledad Griffin – Elections Q&A (Part 3)

9) All candidates’ manifestos mention the rapid growth of the OTW, and therefore the need to grow a better internal infrastructure. What kind of infrastructure are you aiming for? In addition to that, what do you think should be the future role of the OTW Board? Advisory? Executive? Something else?

Rather than growing a new structure, I believe we should clarify the structure we already have and correct some issues with it. We need to delineate official, clear, concrete communication lines. Information loss is an issue, even when committees are good at documentation (and the OTW, as a whole, is not good at documentation). The OTW, in many respects, still works like an organization that has a quarter of the volunteers we actually have.

From experience, a part of that infraestructure we need – infrastructure in a wide sense – is better training and mentoring for chairs so that they can better support their committees. We have some rather amazing chairs and chairs that are great at training and mentoring, but this is not official and more importantly, it is not codified. It leaves training up to chance.

It might be a more controversial point, but in order to do this, we should clarify what the Board’s role actually is. Personally, I do not think Board should be doing much executive work on a detailed level, but characterizing the Board as ‘advisory’ is not something I am convinced of either. The Board should be a guiding voice in the org, deciding on the org’s priorities and goals, instead of an advisor.

10) If it were up to you alone, what steps and structural changes would you suggest to transition the Board out of doing day-to-day work?

I have mentioned some of them in the previous question. One of the most time consuming aspects of Board work is liasioning. Better communication and less information loss would mean that there would be absolutely no need to do that sort of close monitoring of committees – which many times does not get the desired results, after all. The clarification of the Board’s purview is another step that needs to be taken, as well as documenting the procedures (which has been a goal for several years already). Better support for chairs and committees in generals means that the organization would be working better, with no committees in critical condition.

11) If you could make one concrete change in the OTW tomorrow, what would you do?

I would pick a nice shade of purple for our colour scheme instead of the current one because I believe it’s a prettier colour.

My more serious answer is that the changes we need to see are not so concrete. There are changes and goals that I would like to see accomplished in a magical way that range from standard documentation across the org or having a pre-approved yearly budgets to a clearer procedure for important org-wide decisions. But more importantly, all these changes would be in the service of a bigger, less concrete and admittedly far more vague one – that is, a deep change in org culture. Or rather, the org admitting that many things have changed and making those changes explicit. We need to let go of certain ideas – that, for example, structurelessness is good or that this is primarily a fandom spaces doing things the fandom way – in order to move forward.

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