Tish S.’s Bio and Platform


Tish S. (she/her) started reading fanfiction in the late 90s when many authors had their own webpages or posted on newsgroups for specific fandoms, making it much more difficult to discover new fandoms. Discovering AO3 in late 2010 changed her reading habits and expanded the number of fandoms she followed beyond the original two. She has worked in IT and for software companies in various capacities, ranging from technical support, account and project management, to training, knowledge base administration, and other system administration roles. In 2013, she decided to volunteer as a tester to give back to the community and gain additional experience for a potential career change. Although that experience was ultimately not needed, she has continued to enjoy volunteering for OTW, joining Open Doors as an Import Assistant and later becoming a Mentor.


1. Why did you decide to run for election to the Board?

Until 2022, when Board eligibility requirements were expanded to include all volunteers, I was not eligible to run. However, now feels like the right time to step forward, especially after having been eligible for the past two years. I deeply believe in what the OTW stands for and want to give back to the community that has given me so much. I’ve seen the progress the current board has made in terms of transparency and efforts to reduce burnout, and I want to contribute to continuing that important work.

2. What skills and/or experience would you bring to the Board?

Over my professional career, I have developed the ability to work with multiple teams that often have conflicting goals and priorities. I bring strong skills in organization and prioritization, which help in managing complex projects and ensuring that critical tasks are completed efficiently. I excel at looking at problems from an outside perspective, finding common solutions that satisfy the needs of various teams. My experience working closely with remote international co-workers has taught me the importance of clear communication and collaboration across different time zones and cultures. Providing thorough and context-rich initial communication and responses helps avoid delays and ensures that everyone has the information they need from the start.. Additionally, I understand that teams, processes, tools, and needs evolve over time, and I am adept at helping both individuals and organizations adapt to these changes effectively.

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?

I would like to continue the ongoing work to improve our documentation. Proper documentation is essential for preserving organizational knowledge and preventing the loss of valuable information when someone leaves the organization or a committee. It ensures continuity and maintains a record of procedures, decisions, and historical context. By working together, we can create comprehensive documentation that captures critical information and standard operating procedures. Regular reviews and updates will be necessary, involving input from all teams to ensure accuracy and relevance. This will make onboarding new volunteers easier and less resource-intensive, as they will have clear guidelines and resources to refer to.

Another goal I believe is important is to improve our initial training, potentially having this done by a separate team outside of the specific committees. I believe that committee agnostic training could be crucial for providing new volunteers with a comprehensive understanding of the organization, its policies, and its structure before they start specific committee tasks. By conducting some of the initial training outside of individual committees, we can offer new volunteers a general overview of the organization, ensuring they all have the same foundational knowledge. This approach not only helps volunteers feel more integrated and informed but also takes some workload off the committees, allowing them to focus more on specialized training. By standardizing this initial training, we could ensure consistency and coherence across the organization, making it easier for volunteers to navigate and contribute effectively. I would like to work with each team individually to understand their training processes, see where these overlap and work to set up a team, either completely separate or made up of existing chairs/supervisors (or a combination) who would assist with the initial training.

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.

Throughout my time with the organization, I have engaged with various projects by reading about them and hearing firsthand experiences from other volunteers. I would prioritize listening to what people need and want, and aim to provide help where it is most needed. Balancing the priorities of different committees is crucial, and I will strive to ensure each receives the support it needs at the right time. My most extensive experience is with AO3 where I have developed a deep appreciation for the platform in my time as a reader and a volunteer. Additionally, I love exploring Fanlore to dive into the history of different fandoms and understand their evolution.

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?

Balancing my current workload with additional board responsibilities is manageable due to the flexibility of my work, which is not specifically assigned to me. If the workload becomes overwhelming, I am prepared to work with committee chairs to redistribute tasks and can consider taking a hiatus from my mentor role, at least during the training period. Additionally, my day job is fully remote which allows for greater flexibility in managing my time and commitments effectively. This adaptability ensures that I can devote the necessary attention and effort to both my current duties and my responsibilities as a board member.