Author Topic: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations  (Read 4553 times)

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Offline kjayers

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Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« on: September 09, 2010, 12:44:11 am »
Do you have questions for the candidates for 2011 Director of Relations?  Ask here.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2010, 10:25:34 am »
What do you envision in terms of the move to the two hotels, in terms of prioritizing allocation of space?
Are there any niches of con work, before, during, or after the actual con, that are not presently staff positions under Relations (or perhaps not staff positions presently at all), that you feel it would help Relations to adopt as new staff positions?
People skills are absolutely essential in this department. What experiences do you have in this area? What have you noticed to be your own strengths and weaknesses in this area?
How important is it for a Director to get to know each of her or his staff, at least top staff? If not personally, at least by face or name? What are some ways you would endeavor to get to know your staff?
How would your work in this area differ from work you are used to doing, both inside and outside of KC?
Thank you.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2010, 02:38:57 pm by RemSaverem »
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Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2010, 03:44:13 pm »
Rem - What do you envision in terms of the move to the two hotels, in terms of prioritizing allocation of space?

I personally like the idea of keeping the Dealer's Hall in its previous location when we were in Vancouver in 2007.  I felt it was a great layout.  However, I'd also like to see what the Red Lion has to offer, especially since (as of now) I have yet to step foot in the Red Lion.
As for the Artist Alley, I'm hoping to have anyone serving in the Artist Alley department provide me with thier own insight, especially if they've ever been involved with it.
I'm hoping to get as sweet of a room as possible for the Auction, preferably one that's not next to a dance, or whatever that was behind it this year.  This is another thing that I'd like to see from the Red Lion, but will probably want to keep at the Hilton.
Both the Industry and Guest areas are things that, I believe, require a lot of time, discussions, and planning with other departments to arrive at the best solution.

Rem - Are there any niches of con work, before, during, or after the actual con, that are not presently staff positions under Relations (or perhaps not staff positions presently at all), that you feel it would help Relations to adopt as new staff positions?

As far as I know, Artist Alley was fine last year.  Dealer's Hall was okay, but it might not be a bad idea to get some people for this department responsible for setting it up and tearing it down.
Guest Relations is one that could always use more help; as far as I'm aware of, this has been an unfortunate constant, and I'd like to have each and every guest have their own liason.
The Charity Auction needs at least one official advertiser.  I also feel that there needs to be more people responsible for the booth in the Dealer's Hall.  Having two people, with the occational one, isn't that great of a set-up.
I think Industry will be fine, but any extra people would help.
There simply needs to be more interest in joining staff.  Whether I get the position or not, I have several friends from Clark College that might be interested.  If I'm the Director, they may be more open to joining my department.  (I'll still talk to them, either way).

Rem - People skills are absolutely essential in this department. What experiences do you have in this area? What have you noticed to be your own strengths and weaknesses in this area?

I spent over a year as a shift leader at Taco Bell, along with another year in training.  I know how to communicate to those under me.  I was also a 3-time Clark anime club President, and will be again this upcoming year.
My biggest strengths are communicating, a strong work ethic, and teamwork, which is essencial for ANY leadership position, as well as follower position.
My biggest weaknesses are coming off too strong sometimes and trying to take on the whole load myself.  I know that second one won't be an issue, especially if we're able to get more staffers in this department.

Rem - How important is it for a Director to get to know each of her or his staff, at least top staff? If not personally, at least by face or name? What are some ways you would endeavor to get to know your staff?

I think it's vital to get to know the entire team.  How else is a leader to know the abilities and desires of their staff?  How can they rely on those under them?  If I get this position, I want to do what I can to get to know everyone that hands me a staff sheet asking for my initials.
I also want us to be in constant communication.  As soon as someone has something relevant or important to tell me, I want them to call me.  They will all have my phone number and e-mail.  I'd like the same from them, just in case I need one of them for any reason.

Rem - How would your work in this area differ from work you are used to doing, both inside and outside of KC?

As for inside, I've been a liason and have been with the Charity staff since 2008, '08 being the year I was Charity Manager.  I understand what goes on in these departments with this con.  I would love to use these experiences to preserve the pros and correct the cons, so that 2011 will be the most successful year for KCon's Relations department!
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Offline AllyKat

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2010, 06:02:44 pm »
(This question assumes that the space chosen is the Parking Level)
1. In terms of history with the Vancouver Hilton & our Dealers, how prepared are you to combat some of the issues that were present in 2007 in regards to our Dealer Hall. Namely; how do you plan to market this space to Dealer's whose experience in that space was either negative or less than stellar?

OR: Do you have alternative options in mind to negate this issue?

2. Guest of Honor preparations require a LOT of communication with many different people in order to work out costs, travel, and accommodations before a contract can even be looked at, let alone signed. With complete honesty how reliable can you say your communication with Professionals and Handlers or similar working officials who deal with Celebrities and/or VIP's is? Do you have precedent to back up your skills at sticking with and staying on a line of communication?
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2010, 08:20:52 pm »
What's your favorite flavor of Pocky.

And Dawn, I'm still trying to find something we can give you as an alternative. ;)
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2010, 09:59:55 pm »
Aaron: Thanks for such a detailed reply and for being brave enough & genuine enough to honestly self-evaluate instead of just putting on a glossy sheen like a politician. I don't go to Exhibitors' Hall, but I did hear that in 2007, it was considered too hot / stuffy in there, even with portable fans blowing for air circulation. Just so you know what's being referred to there.

All candidates: (1) What do *you* consider to be the most important qualities in someone working either directly with Guests of Honor, as a Liason, or indirectly, with their management, in negotiating contracts?
(2) Have you attended any of the Guest of Honor events? How much do you consider them the sine qua non of Programming, or how much do you consider them just one of many draws?
(3) Do there happen to be any areas of Relations that might tend to go overlooked or understaffed if a focus is on Guests of Honor, akin to how, in years past, people pointed out a disproportionate amount of Ops's attention being focused just on Yojis? If not presently, how can you keep that balance? If there are, how can you facilitate an approach to the department that covers a wider variety of areas?

Thank you!

(P. S. To Tom, you might ask Creation Station staffer "Taco", as she is a professional vegan baker & may have some tips.)
« Last Edit: September 12, 2010, 10:03:45 pm by RemSaverem »
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Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2010, 06:39:38 pm »
All question 1 - 2007 was the only KCon that I attended in which I never went into the Dealer's Hall.  The only issue that I'm personally aware of is security.  Assuming that we even keep it in the same location, I'm hoping that the Hilton can provide its own security, sicne it's their garage.  However, from what I understand, they wouldn't do it last time because of some weird technicality, or something like that.  I'd like to look into other locations, such as at the Red Lion; this would have to be something to look into.  I'd also like to hear what these other issues were, from the dealers themselves, if possible.  I think it's better to hear a complaint from the complainer, rather than from word of mouth, no matter how short the "phone line" is.  This might even be a great way to market the con space to potential dealers, letting them know that I want to do what I can to make their experience in '11 better than in '07.

Ally question 2 - As I stated before, communication is the key to success.  How can I expect anyone in my department to follow through with communicating with me if I can't communicate with anyone that I need to?  Lead by example.  Also, since I'll be negotiating with professionals, I know that they'll be expecting this of me.  Being on time with any and all stages of the negotiation process will show them my respect for their time, which will get things going off right.

Tom question 1 - That's an excellent and challenging question.  I'd have to go with "Melon" as my top choice.

Rem question 1 - If I understand your question correctly, I believe that only the Director is to be making these negotiations.  I don't like the idea of liasons being involved with negotiations; it's not their job.  I'd have to look at the job descriptions on the management positions helping out, too, but I'm pretty sure that they aren't involved, either.  It might not be a bad idea, but if they can't, then I won't pursue a change.  Negotiations can be rather sensitive, from what I've heard, so I wouldn't want to disrupt the steps with something easily controllable.

Rem question 2 - I have, actually.  This year, not as much as with other years, but I did go to some.  I also worked at the Charity Auction table by myself because my fellow Auction staffers wanted to go to the same panel, and I was the only one who was fine with not going (especially since I went to the same panel back when it was in 2006).  They are essencial.  I know some people who were thinking about not even going to KCon '10, until word got out that Todd Haberkorn was going to be there.  Personally speaking, whenever I plan on going to any other con, the first thing I do is look at who the guests are, and grab any anime/video games/whatever that I have that they were involved with.  It's one of the many essencial staples for any convention, including Kumoricon.

Rem question 3 - Honestly, I think that both liasons and charity staff tends to get short-staffed.  I'd like to keep up to speed with staff positions, and do whatever recruiting I can to get the staff I need, for all departments.  I won't say "You want to do Artist Alley?  Tough.  I need more liasons; you're going there."  I want people to go where they want to, if possible, however, I want to try to get every department all of the positions it needs.  "Who wants to help make an awesome auction happen?"  "Do you enjoy the Artist Alley?"  Asking questions like that are a great way to raise an interest in the posoitions, at least.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2010, 06:46:29 pm »
Thank you for your time & your thoughtful replies. You are probably really spot-on with what you are saying about allocation of staff within departments; every department probably has areas that tend to be full or even overstaffed because they are perceived as as fun, and other areas, that are at least as important if not even more essential, remain understaffed, either because people do not know that they exist as potential staff positions, or they do not know what those positions entail, or because there is some reason that they feel too intimidated, shy, or under-trained to put themselves forward for those positions.
What could you, as Relations Director, do to help make the historically under-staffed areas of your department feel more accessible and comfortable? I believe you are on the right track with how to make them seem more desirable. Are there types of trainings that could be offered for people interested in working in Relations, who have not done so before?
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Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2010, 07:47:17 pm »
Accessable - SPAM them in the off-topic area, mention them at every meeting possible, encourage those on staff to hunt down and pursue possible members, reach out to local anime-based clubs and organizations.

Comfortable - Well, I'd have to compile the benefits to working these positions, and point out what makes them essential.  Depending on the position, I'll probably want to use work loads as an extra part of the equation.  It should be pointed out that it is work, and the more people we have, the less they'll have to squeeze out and take away from the fun of their experiences.

Training should be mandatory for all positions, irregardless of the department.  We kind of have a good start during the meeting times, but that's only for some departments.  I feel that this was the one center weakness with Relations last year; I don't recall a single meeting where Relations had its own training time (but then again, I didn't attend the meetings from May to July).  I want to go over all of my expectations, all of the requirements, and all of their questions prior to the con; the sooner, the better.  Also, since I've only had staff experience with two of the main five areas under Relationships, I'd love and appreciate any assistance with training from those that have been in these other areas, even if they're not going to be there for 2011.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2010, 09:26:51 pm »
Cool. Maybe prior directors could provide lists of types of trainings they feel would benefit people working in their former departments?
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Offline superjaz

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2010, 08:23:22 am »
My question for the candidates, (I believe correct me if I am wrong ) the board, at times meets weekly, are you able to make it to those meetings and the monthly meetings out of town?
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Offline kjayers

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2010, 02:12:16 pm »
My question for the candidates, (I believe correct me if I am wrong ) the board, at times meets weekly, are you able to make it to those meetings and the monthly meetings out of town?

Most of the year the Board meets monthly, but Board Members are also expected to make as many of the mini events as possible, all General Meetings, certain work parties and retreats in addition to the meetings, and (of course) meeting frequency increases closer to convention.

I agree entirely with the point of Jaz's question: Are you able to meet these commitments? 

What kind of things are likely to arise that may interfere?  (Deaths in the family are, of course, impossible to anticipate.)
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Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2010, 08:57:31 pm »
Well for me, the only thing that could be an issue would be my lack of a driver's license.  If the meeting location is somewhere within the Tri-Met range, that won't be too much of a problem.  However, since some meeting locations are out of the range, such as Eugene, I would hope to be able to meet up with someone who would give me a lift. The person who nominated me is a friend of mine; she could possibly drive me, as could the person she worked under.  Either way, as the locations are better spread out this year, I don't see it as being too significant to matter.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2010, 04:32:43 am »
Just curious: With your experience as President of Clark's Anime Club for multiple years, and your natural amiability and gregariousness, you would also be such a natural fit for heading up Street Teams. Have you also considered the possibility, either now or for any other year, of running for Publicity? Also, what would you describe as your familiarity with various types of computer hardware and software that might be involved in working for various departments? I honestly don't know what is used.
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Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2010, 07:52:36 am »
It's funny that you asked that, because I've considered doing publicity (not as Director) since the con is in Clark County.  My anime club has been making plans to make commercials to make our showings more..., well, more.  We're also talking about showing one or two during particular school events, such as Club Fair.  Maybe we could make some KCOn commercials...?

As for software & hardware, well, I don't think there's really anything special used.  With the auction, I think the only technology used this last year was a graphing calculator.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2010, 08:18:53 am »
It's funny that you asked that, because I've considered doing publicity (not as Director) since the con is in Clark County.  My anime club has been making plans to make commercials to make our showings more..., well, more.  We're also talking about showing one or two during particular school events, such as Club Fair.  Maybe we could make some KCOn commercials...?

As for software & hardware, well, I don't think there's really anything special used.  With the auction, I think the only technology used this last year was a graphing calculator.

Commercials would be awesome.

I guess I was wondering if you had any experience with any publishing software, just because as much as I can see you in Relations, I could also see you in Publicity, because promoting the con is just something you automatically think of to do with your spare time, as your answer just reinforced for me :)
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Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2010, 02:48:54 pm »
Oh, thanks.  The only thing I can think of that'd count would be Microsoft Publisher and a program (which I've forgotten its name) used for preparing Clark's newspaper.
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Offline AllyKat

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2010, 05:19:16 pm »
While I understand these are pertinent questions to the potential directors...

Lets keep each conversation on topic. If the thread is for Relations questions and issues
regarding that Directorship, lets ask questions that pertain to that. If you would like to
ask a candidate about other possible directorships or qualifications for such, I reccomend
a Private Message.

People need to be able to read these Q & A's at a glance and be able to understand
who and what are being discussed here easily and concisely. If we mix different directorships
into other Q & A's we start to confuse people.

I am one of these people who is getting confused so I appreciate that any future, non-relations
questions be not in the relations Q & A. Just so my brain doesn't fry itself.

Thanks!
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2010, 02:25:50 am »
@ Ally, you mean we don't get to fry your brains with fava beans and serve them with a nice chianti?
I totally hear you. Honestly there are some areas/tasks that I'm just not personally aware whether they are Relations of Publicity. I imagine certain skill requirements overlap the two.

Relations candidates: Regarding Artists' Alley: To what extent are fan craft products presently part of Artists' Alley? Given the increasing popularity of fan craft programming, could there potentially be a Crafters' Corner in Artists' Alley? Do you have any thoughts as to where to situate Artists' Alley? Such as whether it would be more near the Art Show, Programming areas, or wherever Exhibitors' Hall is situated?

Does Kumoricon still barter for space sometimes?
« Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 02:26:35 am by RemSaverem »
Ellen. 2003: Fanfic panelist & contest judge.
2004: Beta Station Coord. 2005: Fan Creation Station Coord.;pre-event assistant to the con chair.2006: Fanfic Mgr/C.S. Coord.
2007, 8, 9, 10: Fan Creation Manager. 2011: Writing & Editing Coord (Publicity).

Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2010, 05:03:44 pm »
"To what extent are fan craft products presently part of Artists' Alley?" - No idea.

"Given the increasing popularity of fan craft programming, could there potentially be a Crafters' Corner in Artists' Alley?" - Um, I think that'd be something more for Creation Station...

"Do you have any thoughts as to where to situate Artists' Alley? Such as whether it would be more near the Art Show, Programming areas, or wherever Exhibitors' Hall is situated?" - I think it'd make sense to do that, honestly.  However, (if I'm not mistaken), Artist's Alley is typically near the Dealer's Hall.  In all honesty, I just want to find what would work best for them, which means asking them on their opinions and doing what I can to please them, as well as those who'd be interested in the Alley.

"Does Kumoricon still barter for space sometimes?" - From what I understand, yes, it does.
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Offline Koryu

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2010, 01:12:45 am »
Sorry for the wait, everyone.  I was emailing various directors to check some details before I responded :)

Quote
What do you envision in terms of the move to the two hotels, in terms of prioritizing allocation of space?
Usually, this is something handled by the Programming Director.  However, this year some input from Relations would be a good idea.  The main concern here is Dealer's Hall.  There is more than one possible location for it, and I am actually in favor of not putting it in the garage space.  Some vendors never returned to Kumoricon after that year.  Neko Pan had items literally melt.  Until we see first hand that the HVAC down there can actually handle dealer's hall, I think putting vendors there is a risky move.  Also, considering the way dealer's hall gets 'pipe and drape' (the curtains around each stall and the backdrops) large air movers would turn the area into a mess. 

For 2011, I think we should put something else in that area and see how well that does.  In 2007 we were the first group to ever use the garage and the hotel claims to have used the area since with no problems.  However, since we have been told that many vendors simply will not return if they are put in that garage again, we need to give more in the way of assurances than "The hotel says it's fine!"  However, if we get a chance to see it used as a dealer's hall by another group before booths go on sale, perhaps I could persuade dealers to return.  I insist on seeing the space 'in use' before I am comfortable with it, though. 

Quote
Are there any niches of con work, before, during, or after the actual con, that are not presently staff positions under Relations (or perhaps not staff positions presently at all), that you feel it would help Relations to adopt as new staff positions?
Right now I am mostly concerned with filling existing positions and management positions -- particularly, a dedicated person to answer vendor emails and ideally 2-3 people to take sections of industry.  Relations staff roughly doubled in 2010, which was great!  Still, the department is painfully understaffed.  The convention can get much more swag, industry support, better vendors, and more product from vendors if we can find a way to get people to help out in these areas. 

Quote
People skills are absolutely essential in this department. What experiences do you have in this area? What have you noticed to be your own strengths and weaknesses in this area?
I have been the Assistant Director of Programming for the past two years and specifically, my job at con has been running the Programming office.  To do this well requires interacting and communicating with many different people and departments who come to me (often upset and frustrated) to solve problems quickly and efficiently.  Excellent people skills are absolutely essential to run this office well.  That experience, coupled with the before-con coordination I assist Jaki with, outlines my abilities effectively.

As for my strengths and weaknesses: I’m efficient (though sometime ruthlessly so), I get things done on time, I am well organized and I have lots of experience in many different parts of the convention. Sometimes, I do have a hard time remembering names.


Quote
How important is it for a Director to get to know each of her or his staff, at least top staff? If not personally, at least by face or name? What are some ways you would endeavor to get to know your staff?
Staff meetings and specialized training would be great and help a lot.  I think that many people find Relations a bewildering and bizarre world and don’t quite know how they can help.  I helped Dawn a great deal before con this year, basically job shadowed her for a while.  I know that many new staff are going to need a good deal of training. 


Quote
How would your work in this area differ from work you are used to doing, both inside and outside of KC?
When I worked as the Manga Library Coordinator and, more recently, when I helped Dawn this year, I communicated with industry in order to get donations for the manga library, charity auction, and our attendee swag bags.  So I have some experience in that area.  Also, Programming works very closely with Relations for scheduling GoH content.  That said, there are many responsibilities under Relations that will be new to me, but I am confident that I can rely on the experience of previous Relations staff (and Directors!) to help better familiarize myself with the needs of the position. 

Quote
(This question assumes that the space chosen is the Parking Level)
1. In terms of history with the Vancouver Hilton & our Dealers, how prepared are you to combat some of the issues that were present in 2007 in regards to our Dealer Hall. Namely; how do you plan to market this space to Dealer's whose experience in that space was either negative or less than stellar?

OR: Do you have alternative options in mind to negate this issue?
I think I answered that above.  The short version is: if I need to assure vendors that the parking garage can work, I need to see it working first hand.  But I still think that an alternate location would be best. 


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2. Guest of Honor preparations require a LOT of communication with many different people in order to work out costs, travel, and accommodations before a contract can even be looked at, let alone signed. With complete honesty how reliable can you say your communication with Professionals and Handlers or similar working officials who deal with Celebrities and/or VIP's is? Do you have precedent to back up your skills at sticking with and staying on a line of communication?
Ideally, I would have this handled by Debra Stansbury who has done this sort of work for Orycon and Kumoricon before.  If she cruelly abandons me, then, yes, I will make sure that Guests and all their various details are well handled before, during and after con.  Programming has to deal with logistics too, and while I acknowledge Guest coordination is different, the basic skills of organization and timeliness are still that same.   


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What's your favorite flavor of Pocky.
Coconut! But I really like the Almond Pocky too :D
Just not dark chocolate, bleh!


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(1) What do *you* consider to be the most important qualities in someone working either directly with Guests of Honor, as a Liason, or indirectly, with their management, in negotiating contracts?
A sense of friendly professionalism and timely replies.  Negotiating with guests can be a delicate matter, but I think being very upfront about what Kumoricon can and cannot offer a guest can help a good deal.

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(2) Have you attended any of the Guest of Honor events? How much do you consider them the sine qua non of Programming, or how much do you consider them just one of many draws?
I attended the Guest Dinner the past two years as Jaki's +1.  Outside of that, I am typically too busy to attend most events. 

Sine qua non of Programming?  Not at all.  Kumoricon has much, much more to offer than just Guest Events.  Kumoricon has also tried to keep a focus on having guests who can do demo panels and talk about the industry in more of a 'how to' way. 

To be very frank, Kumoricon has yet to get a Japanese guest and many of our attendees are simply not interested in American VAs and artists.  Guests should be one of our many draws, an awesome and well balanced addition to Kumoricon Programming.

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(3) Do there happen to be any areas of Relations that might tend to go overlooked or understaffed if a focus is on Guests of Honor, akin to how, in years past, people pointed out a disproportionate amount of Ops's attention being focused just on Yojis? If not presently, how can you keep that balance? If there are, how can you facilitate an approach to the department that covers a wider variety of areas?
Every section of Relations is understaffed, guest relations included.  Last year the main focus in Relations was trying to get more people to work on Dealers and Industry.  Kumoricon has a problem across the board in finding people who want to do certain types of coordination work: research, answering emails, sending cold emails, keeping track of details, etc.  Much of this falls upward to the director and it can quickly become overwhelming, so that some areas end up getting more attention then others.  Keeping responsible staff in positions that they are good at (i.e. staff retention) is most likely the key for solving this issue. 

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What could you, as Relations Director, do to help make the historically under-staffed areas of your department feel more accessible and comfortable?
The key may lay in not overworking the current staff.  The con as a whole has a staff retention problem.  Even if it means even more work for me, I need to make sure that new staff and established staff both don't wind up working ridiculous hours or being tossed into situations for which they are not prepared for.  It is easier to recruit when I have, for example, dealer's staff saying "I do this, and it is rewarding" than if it's just me going "No one will do this!  Please help!"  Nothing is a better recruitment tool than staff who want to come back.  Maybe this is a bit of a multi-year approach to growing staff, but keeping experienced staff is every bit as critical as finding more staff. 


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My question for the candidates, (I believe correct me if I am wrong ) the board, at times meets weekly, are you able to make it to those meetings and the monthly meetings out of town?
There is the monthly exec meeting and the monthly general meeting.  Closer to con we meet more frequently, both officially and in unofficial work parties to get stuff done.  As an assistant, I already attend many of these and am confident that I can attend virtually all of them. 

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What kind of things are likely to arise that may interfere?  (Deaths in the family are, of course, impossible to anticipate.)

I am a full time student and do sometimes have conflicts for Sunday meetings. That said, I have a good record for being able to make most Kumoricon events. 

Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2010, 10:09:30 am »
Since so much of what does or does not happen, and how well or how comfortably it happens, can be attributed to whether or not experienced staff choose to remain staff and whether or not new people, experienced outside KC, choose to become staff at KC:
(1) What do you see as the main reasons people who have been staff at KC choose to leave staff?
(2) What do you see as the main reasons people who have been staff at other anime cons, sci-fi cons, or other types of profession-related or activism-related organizing, do not feel as drawn to being or as comfortable being KC staff?
(3) Would you consider holding exit interviews with people who have been staff who choose to cease being staff, to find out why, in hopes of increasing retention? If not, why not?
(4) Would you consider running an anonymous survey of staff who do intend to return, regarding what the biggest impediments to returning might be and what the biggest incentives to return might be? If not, why not?

Thank you!
Ellen. 2003: Fanfic panelist & contest judge.
2004: Beta Station Coord. 2005: Fan Creation Station Coord.;pre-event assistant to the con chair.2006: Fanfic Mgr/C.S. Coord.
2007, 8, 9, 10: Fan Creation Manager. 2011: Writing & Editing Coord (Publicity).

Offline Washougal_Otaku

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2010, 07:42:15 am »
(1) What do you see as the main reasons people who have been staff at KC choose to leave staff? - Conflicts in schedule, they live too far away, having gone through enough hard times with the con that they gave up on it.  I'm kinda guessing, with a little bit from what I understand has caused some people to leave.

(2) What do you see as the main reasons people who have been staff at other anime cons, sci-fi cons, or other types of profession-related or activism-related organizing, do not feel as drawn to being or as comfortable being KC staff? - That's kind of a tough one for me.  This is the only con that I've ever worked at, and I have no interest at staffing any other con, because this is the one that's by where I live that focuses on what I enjoy.  I would guess that for some, location plays a huge role in it, or a personal change has occurred.  Without having talked to anyone that this question refers to, all that I can do is speculate, and I'd prefer not to do that.

(3) Would you consider holding exit interviews with people who have been staff who choose to cease being staff, to find out why, in hopes of increasing retention? If not, why not? - Absolutely.  There's nobody better to ask than those that have been burned by their experiences.  If I can get a list of people like this, I'd love to get ahold of as many of these such staffers as possible.

(4) Would you consider running an anonymous survey of staff who do intend to return, regarding what the biggest impediments to returning might be and what the biggest incentives to return might be? If not, why not? - I suppose so; if I were to do something like this, I'd want to do this as soon as I could.  The quicker we can get these responses, the sooner we could get an idea on how to improve for 2011.
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2010, 08:28:20 am »
Thanks!
What I was getting at in (2) is that different events (including but not limited to fandom conventions) have different site cultures, paces, structures, expectations, ways of operating. For example, what one event's planners may see as a laid-back, friendly, newbie-welcoming approach may be what another event's planners may see as lacking experience and lacking professionalism. It's not that there is has to be a "right" or "wrong" when paradigms differ, but such would likely reduce the percentage of experienced staff from other environs that have different paradigms who choose to sign up for KC. So, I'm curious how other events view KC, and just figured it might be Relations who would know.
Ellen. 2003: Fanfic panelist & contest judge.
2004: Beta Station Coord. 2005: Fan Creation Station Coord.;pre-event assistant to the con chair.2006: Fanfic Mgr/C.S. Coord.
2007, 8, 9, 10: Fan Creation Manager. 2011: Writing & Editing Coord (Publicity).

Offline Koryu

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2010, 11:36:12 am »
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To what extent are fan craft products presently part of Artists' Alley?
Fan made objects are the point of artist alley.  Are you trying to draw a line between 'craft' and 'art', or asking about how much fan made stuff is there in general?


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Given the increasing popularity of fan craft programming, could there potentially be a Crafters' Corner in Artists' Alley?
There would potential booth space away from artists.  I agree with Washougal, that type of content is for programming space.  Also, power in prog space is free and we'd have to buy a power drop if a craft table needed to plug anything in.  There are other logistical concerns, depending on what crafts would happen there. 

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Do you have any thoughts as to where to situate Artists' Alley? Such as whether it would be more near the Art Show, Programming areas, or wherever Exhibitors' Hall is situated?
There are many things that will go into its location this year, space and nearby traffic being the major concerns. 

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Does Kumoricon still barter for space sometimes?
Not in Artist Alley.  In the Dealers Hall, only very rarely.  Since this is in with candidate questions, are you asking if this would continue?  If so, then, I intend to continue but to be very picky about it.

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(1) What do you see as the main reasons people who have been staff at KC choose to leave staff?
Overwork and being in positions that are not well suited to them. 

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(2) What do you see as the main reasons people who have been staff at other anime cons, sci-fi cons, or other types of profession-related or activism-related organizing, do not feel as drawn to being or as comfortable being KC staff?
For Orycon and Gamestorm, once they get a chance to meet our convention runners they are usually open to being staff.  Though, many of the already have a laundry list of commitments.  Even those who can't help us by staffing have offered advice and even allowed us to job shadow their counterparts at other conventions.  I have heard from one or two that they would rather stick to a con with a higher average age, but sometimes if you offer them a behind-the-scenes job they go for it.

As for professional and activism organizing, these are entirely different beasts from fan conventions.  They have a different vibe and a different objective.  I don't see why someone who does these sorts of things would inherently want to also do organizing with us.  They would be welcome if interested, but that is kind of asking why biology majors don't feel drawn to studying modern languages.  It's a whole different kettle of wax. 

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(3) Would you consider holding exit interviews with people who have been staff who choose to cease being staff, to find out why, in hopes of increasing retention? If not, why not?
Most staff who leave tend to be burnt out on the con and don't want to talk about it to people who are still with the con.  If I had the chance to talk to some who leave, that would be great.  However, I think that something as formal as a 'exit interview' is the wrong tone to set.  We are not a corporate franchise.  I think that an informal talk that collects information and conveys that we at least understand the problems is the best way to go.   


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(4) Would you consider running an anonymous survey of staff who do intend to return, regarding what the biggest impediments to returning might be and what the biggest incentives to return might be? If not, why not?
That would be worth looking into.  It would likely have to be online.  If we make people do it at sign up it gets a bit logistically difficult and people would not feel very anonymous if they were the only ones doing it at a given meeting.  This is really more the purview of Secretary and Publicity, since they would be doing the work on this.  Also, staff data is a Secretary thing. 

Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Relations
« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2010, 12:11:16 pm »
Thanks for the answers.
To answer your question, what I was trying to get at with Artist Alley was simply whether most of the content is 2-D visual art or how much of it might include things such as knitting, dollies, things that are fan-made but are typically labelled "crafts". Since people like coming to learn to make them, I figured there'd be a market for coming to AA to buy them. That was all I meant there.
Ellen. 2003: Fanfic panelist & contest judge.
2004: Beta Station Coord. 2005: Fan Creation Station Coord.;pre-event assistant to the con chair.2006: Fanfic Mgr/C.S. Coord.
2007, 8, 9, 10: Fan Creation Manager. 2011: Writing & Editing Coord (Publicity).