Author Topic: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity  (Read 3698 times)

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Offline kjayers

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Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« on: September 09, 2010, 12:44:39 am »
Do you have questions for the candidates for 2011 Director of Publicity?  Ask here.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2010, 12:45:18 am by kjayers »
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2010, 10:21:07 am »
What do you feel should be the primary objectives for this department?
Are there any new directions in which you would like to see it develop?
Any in which you would like it to scale back?
What areas of the position will be your favorites to work in? Not necessarily where you have the most skills, but where you get the most enjoyment?
Thank you.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2010, 10:27:18 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 Bresslol

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2010, 01:51:36 pm »
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What do you feel should be the primary objectives for this department?

I feel the primary objectives for Publicity are as follows:
     -Promote the convention and Altonimbus Entertainment's mission by community, inter-convention, and internet means.
     -Ensure our publications (conbook, pocket guide, flyers, website, etc.) are of the highest quality.
     -Working with Programming and Relations to ensure our membership is informed of the events and guests Kumoricon will provide.

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Are there any new directions in which you would like to see it develop?

I definitely want to discuss with previous directors and staff about what direction the department will go, as I think every person in the department should have a say in the direction of the department they put much of their time into. I definitely would like to see us take more of an approach of informing our members of news within the convention every couple of months, whether it is spotlighting other departments, announcing guests, pointing out a panel, or other behind the scenes stuff that our members would be interested in.


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Any in which you would like it to scale back?

This is a discussion I would again have to have with my potential staffers and previous directors. I feel communication and information are paramount in decision making, and I would hate to make an uninformed decision that makes the department suffer.

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What areas of the position will be your favorites to work in? Not necessarily where you have the most skills, but where you get the most enjoyment?

Definitely community and membership outreach. I've been a convention staffer for nearly seven years, and there's something special about making some great firends and memories at a con, especially those you just cannot replicate outside of a convention. I really love seeing people come to a con for the first time and share great memories. Promoting Kumoricon and showing people the great stuff we have coming, especially at a new convention center, is exciting and challenging for me.

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Thank you.

Thanks to you as well, we can't have good people running for the convention if we don't have a good group of people ensuring the right people are chosen through Q&A's like this.


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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2010, 02:25:40 pm »
Thanks for the replies.
Your signature reveals that you hold multiple positions at various cons (or that you have in the past).
What have you learned from working in so many positions at so many cons that would directly inform how you worked as a Director?
Are there any obligations that you have for any other cons that could lead to there being time you need to take off from KC?
What, if anything, would you see as a role for resurrecting the Kumori-Content? Would you imagine allocating time and staffing to such a newsletter, and if so, online, or offline? Circulating just amongst staff? Attendees? Or publicizing KC to the greater community?
What are some ways that Publicity could provide additional support to other departments?
Thank you.
Rem.
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 TomtheFanboy

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2010, 08:23:01 pm »
Candidates, what is your favorite flavor of Pocky.
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Offline MichaelEvans

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2010, 04:43:54 pm »
As a long time low level staff member of the department I have a question about the direction portions of it should take.  From my perspective most of the department is a combination of 'general' Relations and Sales; constructing messages for the public, delivering them, 'selling' the convention as a place our kindred spirits should come to.

With the exception of the website staff; mostly website staff falls in to regulating, improving, and putting the messages in place.  I like doing this job, but didn't even consider running for any higher position in publicity this year precisely because I realized that I really wouldn't be a good fit for the majority of what the department does.

With that view point elaborated I feel I can ask my questions with the correct context.
As prospective directors of Publicity, how do you feel website related matters best fit in to the context of Altonimbus in general and Kumoricon in specific?
In what ways do you see the web site being useful for more than just publications?
How do you see interaction occurring with other departments?
Where do you feel the most logical spot in the organizations divisions would be for technical services?
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2010, 07:32:19 pm »
Is it currently possible for people to earn a badge for con as part of Street Team by helping Prog with things like tables at Gamestorm or setting up for the dance or KC Lite? If so, how many hours are required? If not, would you be open to making it so?
What are ways that additional folks could find a home in Publicity, even if web tech is not their area of expertise?
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 kjayers

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2010, 02:14:42 pm »
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.

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 Bresslol

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2010, 07:28:08 pm »
Thanks for the replies.
Your signature reveals that you hold multiple positions at various cons (or that you have in the past).
What have you learned from working in so many positions at so many cons that would directly inform how you worked as a Director?
Are there any obligations that you have for any other cons that could lead to there being time you need to take off from KC?
What, if anything, would you see as a role for resurrecting the Kumori-Content? Would you imagine allocating time and staffing to such a newsletter, and if so, online, or offline? Circulating just amongst staff? Attendees? Or publicizing KC to the greater community?
What are some ways that Publicity could provide additional support to other departments?
Thank you.
Rem.

I've learned a lot from working in a lot of places - The most important thing I have learned is that I always need to keep a cool head, no matter how difficult the person or situation is, as one lashing out could be disastrous. My other obligations to conventions right now involve working registration at Sakura-Con, and Master of Ceremonies at MEW - both of which I do not feel would take away from any Director duties. In regards to a newsletter, if I can find someone interested in it, most definitely. I'd like to get it out to our membership via e-mail, and maybe one recapping 2010 with any badge mailouts.

Publicity can benefit other departments by announcing guests, programming, and staff openings to the membership and past staffers to get them interested in staffing the convention. I'd love to work with the Operations directorate and find ways to promote being Reg and Yoji staff and making it look amazing.


In regards to web and technical services, I feel they are paramount in the age of technology we live in. I can get exactly the information I need in less than five minutes. This means I feel our website and other information services (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) are essentially the heart of getting information to our staffers and members - meaning announcements of guests via Twitter (which can go to people's phones, making information instant). I also have the idea of having open discussions on the forums and even via an email bag, where attendees can answer questions. I also want to explore the idea of making some funny bits for YouTube - explaining some of our staff positions in a humorous light - which could give us more staffers and attendees at the convention.

As regarding technical services - I feel that needs to remain in Publicity; since this site is open to the public, we need to be able to reign it in if things take a bad turn.

If people join a Street Team to help promote the convention, I would not at all be opposed to having them as staff, but I'd like to see them help other departments at-con as well. I also wouldn't be opposed to other perks, like reduced or free admission to any mini-events we run throughout the course of the year.

People who are in the business of promoting the convention would be welcome in Publicity. I'd definitely like someone who can help organize events within the Portland community, as well as people who wouldn't mind going to a differing convention and promoting our con, and selling memberships. People who have a knack for graphic and video design are also welcome in Publicity.

In regards to meetings, I already have made time as a staffer to come to Oregon for meetings, and that will not change. I do work as a game tester for a living, and OT is variable, but prevalent. I have already sacrificed OT weekends to come down for meetings, so there's no question there. If an event arises where Sakura-Con and Kumori are having a meeting, I will definitely be at the Kumoricon meeting, as that's a higher priority for me. Staffing conventions is my other job, essentially, and I will make the time to show up to as many events and meetings as I can.

I thank you all for the questions.


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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2010, 08:22:34 pm »
Thanks for replying.

What would you say to someone who wanted to join staff, and promote the con, not in tech but as a people person, who wasn't sure whether to sign up through Relations or Publicity? How would you help someone figure out which was a better fit for her or him?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2010, 08:30:21 pm 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 @random

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2010, 08:32:26 pm »
To Bresslol specifically:

Sorry for asking you to address "the elephant in the room", but would it be prematurely optimistic to hope that having more multi-con staffers in positions of trust, such as yourself, would be a good omen for softening Kumori's sometimes-tempestuous relationship with our onee-san (Sakura)? I know that the question probably falls more in the realm of Relations, but I was hoping to hear your take on it.
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Offline Bresslol

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2010, 08:57:52 pm »
Thanks for replying.

What would you say to someone who wanted to join staff, and promote the con, not in tech but as a people person, who wasn't sure whether to sign up through Relations or Publicity? How would you help someone figure out which was a better fit for her or him?

That is one of the first conversations I'd like to have with the Director of Relations! Hopefully we can look at a persona's talents and find the best fit for them!


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Offline Bresslol

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2010, 09:00:28 pm »
To Bresslol specifically:

Sorry for asking you to address "the elephant in the room", but would it be prematurely optimistic to hope that having more multi-con staffers in positions of trust, such as yourself, would be a good omen for softening Kumori's sometimes-tempestuous relationship with our onee-san (Sakura)? I know that the question probably falls more in the realm of Relations, but I was hoping to hear your take on it.

I'd like to think so! As a former director of Sakura-Con, I'm in good standing with the directors and officers of their convention, so yes, I'd like to think optimistically in regards to relations with Sakura-Con.


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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2010, 01:41:33 pm »
Thanks for replying.

What would you say to someone who wanted to join staff, and promote the con, not in tech but as a people person, who wasn't sure whether to sign up through Relations or Publicity? How would you help someone figure out which was a better fit for her or him?

That is one of the first conversations I'd like to have with the Director of Relations! Hopefully we can look at a persona's talents and find the best fit for them!
I think it would be very cool if directors worked together to find a place to put everyone who is interested in working on staff.
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 AllyKat

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2010, 02:36:04 pm »
For Convenience, My answers are in brown.

What do you feel should be the primary objectives for this department?

Thats, to me, self explanatory. Publicity should be in charge of promoting the convention and keeping its reputation. It should be the department that encourages and regulates the increase in growth of the convention in the community and in attendance. Which is a round-about way of saying Publicity is about making the con look good to everyone, attendees and normals alike.

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Are there any new directions in which you would like to see it develop?

We need a public presence that has been lacking due to our stifled situation. Even with our inability to grow attendee wise in the past few years, a positive appearance to the rest of the city/state/metro area is incredibly important to the vitality of the convention. As Facilities Liaison I found out about a lot of things the locations and travel boards can do for us that we have not yet considered. My tenure as Publicities Director would be focused on the publicizing of our larger venue, our content and our dedication to the fan community... not just the publications we put out for convention days.

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Any in which you would like it to scale back?

Nothing should ever be scaled back as we get larger, re-appropriated is the term I'd use. There are a lot of man hours going into one section of Publicity, or two sections, and others are being left to the wayside because we don't have a schedule that gives us time to get it all done before the convention. Using organization of the team and their skills, I'd like to see re-appropriation of man powers to multi-media influences the convention may have, from the construction of publications and the up-keep of the website.

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What areas of the position will be your favorites to work in? Not necessarily where you have the most skills, but where you get the most enjoyment?
Thank you.

Working with the press and the community is something I think I will have a lot of fun doing... obviously you guys know I enjoy making a silly goose out of myself in promotional avenues, but I think working with the media is a very enjoyable part of the Publicities Department. And making lists and schedules.

Candidates, what is your favorite flavor of Pocky.

As you know, I like Milk Pocky... but until that comes back, its the Pocky Orange Desert or regular Desert Pocky.

As prospective directors of Publicity, how do you feel website related matters best fit in to the context of Altonimbus in general and Kumoricon in specific?

Website matters are a primary concern for publicity when it comes to internal and retained peoples. Those groups use the website more often than anyone else, in depth. While most people just see the main page and informational pages. These should be clear and concise and the rest of the site should be geared towards attendees and staff. When we talk about problems with the Website, or when we talk about improvements to the site, we should discern first the type of traffic the area in question receives and then make our changes through that scope.

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In what ways do you see the web site being useful for more than just publications?

It needs to be a tool for advertising, more than it has been, the website needs to change, feel new and attract people to it more often than it does. I should be able to look at the front page and be drawn to upcoming events and information immediately. In the past, this has not intrinsically been the case, but should be in the future.

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How do you see interaction occurring with other departments?

I love the other departments, and truthfully, Publicity cannot function in most situations without cooperation from some other department. Lots of hands need to be in this cookie jar if it is to function correctly... and I have no problem coordinating with others.

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Where do you feel the most logical spot in the organizations divisions would be for technical services?

Technical services, as far as the website/publications are concerned? They should be editorial in nature, and the backbone of the program, not necessarily the meat. I know most technically inclined people prefer there work be the finishing touches and the creme to the top of the project. I like this idea because it puts them in a position to oversee, then correct and then finalize... in coordination with those they work with on a given project, technical staff should be what keeps the project going, on schedule and done correctly.

Is it currently possible for people to earn a badge for con as part of Street Team by helping Prog with things like tables at Gamestorm or setting up for the dance or KC Lite?

The only way to "earn" a badge is to accumulate your hours of convention work. If only helping prog at a few tables is all you do, that may not be enough... However, if I am elected as Publicity Director, Street Team would have to undergo a SERIOUS makeover, in which the things that it does/would do would be changed significantly to appeal to those unable to help out at/attend the convention.

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If so, how many hours are required?

I believe it is the same as any other staff position, in fact, I know it is. However many hours you must put in as any other staff, if the same here. Which I believe is a minimum of 16 hours. However, if this number is incorrect, or changes at any point, requirements to sign up for staff and receive a badge at con will always reflect the membership requirements of any other Department.

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If not, would you be open to making it so?

I would not be open to making concessions for one staff section over others that dis-appropriates the amount of work required to receive a badge. If it is proven that working a table or two equals the amount of work necessary, that is fine, but no special accommodations should be made if it does not. However, all help should be given to staff who need more options in helping the convention out and getting their badge.

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What are ways that additional folks could find a home in Publicity, even if web tech is not their area of expertise?

This is such a long question, just go through the current Org Chart. If you notice there are a TON of positions unfilled! While some of them may not exist next year, I would be very interested in creating a charismatic group of people wanting to create homebrew media for us and who want to talk to and work with media outlets in our area. Good people skills or dedication are qualities I feel are more important to beef up in publicity. We have a plethora of highly trained or knowledgeable tech staff, we need to balance the other side of the boat now!

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.

Are you able to meet these commitments?  

I was very rarely not in attendance at a meeting (I never missed a general meeting) and those meetings that I was unable to attend I didn't my best to keep in contact at all times. My work has been VERY accommodating of my Directors Schedule with the convention in this previous con year, and has shown no reason to change that.

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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 gave my soul to K-con, interference would me dissension of my soul, which isn't an option ^_^ I really don't have anything else going on that could interfere.... so I believe there is nothing to worry about in this instance.

What would you say to someone who wanted to join staff, and promote the con, not in tech but as a people person, who wasn't sure whether to sign up through Relations or Publicity? How would you help someone figure out which was a better fit for her or him?

I would say that convention promotions is a Publicities matter and they should fill out a Staff Application and speak to both the Relations and Publicities directors and managers to find out the differences between the two, because there are quite a lot actually! Filling out a registration form blindly isn't something I approve of, we need to convene on staff who aren't sure of what to do/where to be and find there strengths, discuss with them there options and move on from there... without fighting over people. Thats something that needs to happen in every department.

What do you each believe are the main reasons people (a) do or do not choose to become staff,


I think intrinsically, staff is a family and a prestige idea. To become staff, most people assume you have to know a staffer or be known by a staffer. What happens in any volunteer situation is people believe that being a part of the organization gives them a higher status, and that that higher status must be earned, that they must be invited into the in club. The reason our staffing has been so anorexic is because our popularity has grown disproportionately to our staff outreach and saturation. We get more people who want to be apart of K-con, but don't know how to take the next step, and don't know that the next step can be taken by them.
One of the biggest misconceptions about Publicity is that it only advertises "the con". While the statement is true, it is construed to mean, in most circles, the event and attendance of the event by peoples pay an admission fee. Publicity should always pander first to it's base of membership, those people hold more clout when getting attendees than attendees themselves do. A person who works at and invest a great deal of time and energy into preparation for, a convention... has a great deal more insight into what makes it marketable and has an earnest and honest opinion of those things (ie; is a better marketing tool that so called "word of mouth" marketing) which translates to higher desire for convention attendance.
Before I begin to ramble on a topic I feel very strongly about, let me just say this; people who join staff by themselves are a very small percentage of people. We saturate and overwork that market at current. What we need are the teams of people who are semi-interested in working the convention, who want a clear stepping stone into the culture and the "family". We need the groups of friends who have a passion for the convention, but get bored of the panels and really just hang out, who want to do more for Kumoricon but aren't sure what they would be promising to do.
In then end, the choice to become staff is based on the individuals personality type, and there interest in convention industry, as well as there investment into Kumoricon itself. Many people just need a hand to help them up to the next step, which gets them motivated and driven, while others just go for gusto and do it themselves. If they do not become staff it's because they are complacent in there Kumoricon activity level or have not felt invited to do so.


What do you each believe are the main reasons people ..... (b) do or do not choose to remain staff?


This question is a lot about retention (another thing I have a great deal of opinion on for someone who has only 1 year under her belt!) and less about choice. While obviously everyone has a "choice" to be staff or not, I have noticed many people staying on staff because they feel no one else could do the job, or no one else is willing to work the hours. They feel the convention and themselves have a co-dependent (almost toxic) relationship. It burns them out and stresses their system, but like a drug, the feeling of completion and achievement keep them coming back with smiles and drive.
That may sound like a very negative way to look at staff who have been working the convention for years and years but it gives you an idea of why some people stay, and others leave. You see that kind of dedication and you do one of two things; embrace it or run from it in fear. People who boast a sort of virus like contamination that keeps you staffing, can be a positive of camaraderie or a negative of cult-like commitment. I feel that there is no way to combat both of these things from happening in abundance, but it is important to be aware and to make the distinctions. Also to teach staff how to befriend other staff without seeming like a slave to an addiction (I know I'm guilty of it... I wore a "K-con 2010 owns my soul" Button all of con.)
The just of it is this; retention is all about the experience. If they enjoy themselves, don't feel over worked and under appreciated, people who are on the fence will continue to staff, if not... then they wont. If any of you have taken a marketing or business class you know the 10-80-10 rule. 10% will be for it no matter what, 10% will be against no matter what and 80% just aren't sure and will make there decisions based on experience and marketing. If 10% of our staff leave every year guaranteed, 10% stay guaranteed, than we need to figure out who those 80% on the fence are, and consistently remind them of the fun and amazing atmosphere staffing Kumoricon brings to their lives. That will be our saving grace for staff retention.


What do you see as the best way to get this information?

I really like the incredibly unrealistic idea of exit-questionnaires. If every staffer was asked to take a survey that was anonymous but outlined what they likes, what they didn't and what can be improved and if they would recommend staffing/attending/volunteering as well as if they would be returning, I feel we could get a good estimate of the climate of our staff. Right now we play a game of telephone. I personally feel like I only ever here from the 2% extremely extroverted staffers. Those in the limelight and those who put themselves out there to be known. But those are not all the staff, certainly not all of the amazing people who work hard and make this convention work, but there are the ones we see, the ones we praise, and the ones we get critiques from. If we got critiques from the silent majority, we might learn a lot more about our staff body and what it wants and needs.

As an anecdote, may I submit my experience with this AMAZING panel staffer. I have no clue what her name was, but she worked all of my panels, and she was extremely professional, attentive and present! Best of all to me, she smiled and seemed like she was having a great time! I never saw here at the rest of con, nor did I find her at Dead Dog, but I told her supervisor over and over that whoever was scheduled to work my panels deserved great kudos (I've said this elsewhere on the forums). She was an excellent staffer that I cannot recall ever speaking up at a meeting, or if she did, it wasn't for anything dire or critical. But I can guarantee you that this young lady sees a lot of what programming needs, and what its staff should be aware of. It is these kind of people, who are efficient to the max, who execute there positions with skill and smiles, and who make a difference to the non-staff that they encounter (I am sure I wasn't the only panelist she worked with, and not all panelists are staffers) who would know, boots on the ground, what can be improved.

We need to hear from these people, and if just 10% of the staff filled out an exit questionnaire, we would have at least a documented snapshot of what people at the convention see and what we can do as Directors to improve that experience. Not to mention, making it anonymous could help with honesty of staff, who are afraid to critique there superiors in the organization (the vocal majority may not be, but there are always a few who don't want to cause contention, that actually might have something decent to add to the conversation!) Its a matter of design and implementation, but something I have seriously considered since the beginning of my involvement in staff training.


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Thats all the questions I have been asked so far!

Post Edited to add new questions/answers. -Ally
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 12:44:47 pm by AllyKat »
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Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2010, 10:50:15 am »
What do you each believe are the main reasons people (a) do or do not choose to become staff, (b) do or do not choose to remain staff?
What do you see as the best way to get this information?
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 AllyKat

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2010, 12:50:53 pm »
What do you each believe are the main reasons people (a) do or do not choose to become staff, (b) do or do not choose to remain staff?
What do you see as the best way to get this information?

I Edited my original posting to include the new answers, located here

I will also copy the added dialogue into this new post:
What do you each believe are the main reasons people (a) do or do not choose to become staff,


I think intrinsically, staff is a family and a prestige idea. To become staff, most people assume you have to know a staffer or be known by a staffer. What happens in any volunteer situation is people believe that being a part of the organization gives them a higher status, and that that higher status must be earned, that they must be invited into the in club. The reason our staffing has been so anorexic is because our popularity has grown disproportionately to our staff outreach and saturation. We get more people who want to be apart of K-con, but don't know how to take the next step, and don't know that the next step can be taken by them.
One of the biggest misconceptions about Publicity is that it only advertises "the con". While the statement is true, it is construed to mean, in most circles, the event and attendance of the event by peoples pay an admission fee. Publicity should always pander first to it's base of membership, those people hold more clout when getting attendees than attendees themselves do. A person who works at and invest a great deal of time and energy into preparation for, a convention... has a great deal more insight into what makes it marketable and has an earnest and honest opinion of those things (ie; is a better marketing tool that so called "word of mouth" marketing) which translates to higher desire for convention attendance.
Before I begin to ramble on a topic I feel very strongly about, let me just say this; people who join staff by themselves are a very small percentage of people. We saturate and overwork that market at current. What we need are the teams of people who are semi-interested in working the convention, who want a clear stepping stone into the culture and the "family". We need the groups of friends who have a passion for the convention, but get bored of the panels and really just hang out, who want to do more for Kumoricon but aren't sure what they would be promising to do.
In then end, the choice to become staff is based on the individuals personality type, and there interest in convention industry, as well as there investment into Kumoricon itself. Many people just need a hand to help them up to the next step, which gets them motivated and driven, while others just go for gusto and do it themselves. If they do not become staff it's because they are complacent in there Kumoricon activity level or have not felt invited to do so.


What do you each believe are the main reasons people ..... (b) do or do not choose to remain staff?


This question is a lot about retention (another thing I have a great deal of opinion on for someone who has only 1 year under her belt!) and less about choice. While obviously everyone has a "choice" to be staff or not, I have noticed many people staying on staff because they feel no one else could do the job, or no one else is willing to work the hours. They feel the convention and themselves have a co-dependent (almost toxic) relationship. It burns them out and stresses their system, but like a drug, the feeling of completion and achievement keep them coming back with smiles and drive.
That may sound like a very negative way to look at staff who have been working the convention for years and years but it gives you an idea of why some people stay, and others leave. You see that kind of dedication and you do one of two things; embrace it or run from it in fear. People who boast a sort of virus like contamination that keeps you staffing, can be a positive of camaraderie or a negative of cult-like commitment. I feel that there is no way to combat both of these things from happening in abundance, but it is important to be aware and to make the distinctions. Also to teach staff how to befriend other staff without seeming like a slave to an addiction (I know I'm guilty of it... I wore a "K-con 2010 owns my soul" Button all of con.)
The just of it is this; retention is all about the experience. If they enjoy themselves, don't feel over worked and under appreciated, people who are on the fence will continue to staff, if not... then they wont. If any of you have taken a marketing or business class you know the 10-80-10 rule. 10% will be for it no matter what, 10% will be against no matter what and 80% just aren't sure and will make there decisions based on experience and marketing. If 10% of our staff leave every year guaranteed, 10% stay guaranteed, than we need to figure out who those 80% on the fence are, and consistently remind them of the fun and amazing atmosphere staffing Kumoricon brings to their lives. That will be our saving grace for staff retention.


What do you see as the best way to get this information?

I really like the incredibly unrealistic idea of exit-questionnaires. If every staffer was asked to take a survey that was anonymous but outlined what they likes, what they didn't and what can be improved and if they would recommend staffing/attending/volunteering as well as if they would be returning, I feel we could get a good estimate of the climate of our staff. Right now we play a game of telephone. I personally feel like I only ever here from the 2% extremely extroverted staffers. Those in the limelight and those who put themselves out there to be known. But those are not all the staff, certainly not all of the amazing people who work hard and make this convention work, but there are the ones we see, the ones we praise, and the ones we get critiques from. If we got critiques from the silent majority, we might learn a lot more about our staff body and what it wants and needs.

As an anecdote, may I submit my experience with this AMAZING panel staffer. I have no clue what her name was, but she worked all of my panels, and she was extremely professional, attentive and present! Best of all to me, she smiled and seemed like she was having a great time! I never saw here at the rest of con, nor did I find her at Dead Dog, but I told her supervisor over and over that whoever was scheduled to work my panels deserved great kudos (I've said this elsewhere on the forums). She was an excellent staffer that I cannot recall ever speaking up at a meeting, or if she did, it wasn't for anything dire or critical. But I can guarantee you that this young lady sees a lot of what programming needs, and what its staff should be aware of. It is these kind of people, who are efficient to the max, who execute there positions with skill and smiles, and who make a difference to the non-staff that they encounter (I am sure I wasn't the only panelist she worked with, and not all panelists are staffers) who would know, boots on the ground, what can be improved.

We need to hear from these people, and if just 10% of the staff filled out an exit questionnaire, we would have at least a documented snapshot of what people at the convention see and what we can do as Directors to improve that experience. Not to mention, making it anonymous could help with honesty of staff, who are afraid to critique there superiors in the organization (the vocal majority may not be, but there are always a few who don't want to cause contention, that actually might have something decent to add to the conversation!) Its a matter of design and implementation, but something I have seriously considered since the beginning of my involvement in staff training.

2009 - Attendee
2010 - Facilities Liaison
2011 - Director of Publicity
2012 - Director of Publicity
2013 - Facilities Liaison
2014 - Vice Chair

Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2010, 01:44:35 pm »
Wow, thank you for the time you put into answering all that! Honestly I am glad to know I'm not alone in having considered these topics and some of the options. I hadn't heard the 10-10-80 concept, but it would be interesting to know how accurate that is for us.
If the Board were to say yes to the concept of an exit interview, but need folks to volunteer to drum up a form and a process, I would be glad to help with that.
I agree that there probably are many who don't know they can initiate being a staffer. But honestly I think there's more to it than that. I think people can feel intimidated to join if they don't already have a con family/ are not part of a noticeable clique. I think people can feel initimidated to approach Directors for sign off if they haven't met them yet, if any Director somehow came across as unapproachable (attitudinally or logistically) during a meeting, if the potential staffer doesn't know what positions exist or under which department they fall, if the potential staffer doesn't know whether or not they would qualify for what might interest them, etc.
What if there were one point person, under the Chair, or, one point person, in each department, under each Director, whose job it was to meet & greet new potential staffers & help them figure out where they'd best fit as staff, and maybe even touch base with them a couple times before, during, after con to see how things went? Would you imagine such to be plausible? Desirable? Effective?
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 AllyKat

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2010, 04:23:48 pm »
Your interest here is well noted Rem, and sounds like something that would appeal to the
Publicity Team on principal, but would be a full board executed matter. The image I have in
my head is a "meet the Department" sort of speed dating scenario, where the directors, or
a staffer on their team is interviewed by potential staffers about the positions available
and the Department in general.

This would be a time consuming proccess, and maybe only available at specific meetings, but
it's certainly something we could advertise, if the Board of Directors considers it a viable
option for the convention.
2009 - Attendee
2010 - Facilities Liaison
2011 - Director of Publicity
2012 - Director of Publicity
2013 - Facilities Liaison
2014 - Vice Chair

Offline RemSaverem

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2010, 04:49:01 pm »
*giggles*
Meet-the-Department Speed Dating! Woot! Really I think that's a great idea, thanks.
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 MichaelEvans

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2010, 03:04:23 am »
Since I couldn't quite force my self to sleep I thought I'd try to post this:

I am sorry, but for the good of the convention I'm asking this today, in-spite of it putting you on the spot, to make sure most who are voting have a chance to hear it.

I think after hearing both prospective directors that they are each saying similar things about controlling the official message and hopefully mean to shape the experience our guests so it can most properly provide official answers and allow on topic discussions.  I agree that these aspects of the web site belong in Publicity, but disagree that that is the only thing a web-site should do.  I feel that neither director has satisfactorily answered my initial questions.

To be brief; If elected to what I believe is really a Communications department; how do you intend to enable the collaboration and coordination of staff and the liberation of information?


As a long time low level staff member of the department I have a question about the direction portions of it should take.  From my perspective most of the department is a combination of 'general' Relations and Sales; constructing messages for the public, delivering them, 'selling' the convention as a place our kindred spirits should come to.

With the exception of the website staff; mostly website staff falls in to regulating, improving, and putting the messages in place.  I like doing this job, but didn't even consider running for any higher position in publicity this year precisely because I realized that I really wouldn't be a good fit for the majority of what the department does.

With that view point elaborated I feel I can ask my questions with the correct context.
As prospective directors of Publicity, how do you feel website related matters best fit in to the context of Altonimbus in general and Kumoricon in specific?
In what ways do you see the web site being useful for more than just publications?
How do you see interaction occurring with other departments?
Where do you feel the most logical spot in the organizations divisions would be for technical services?

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Staff 2007-2010
2010-2008: Website Development (So very very much in the last month before the convention at last; Good thing I'm looking for work x.x and have the spare time ~.~)
2007: Website Administration (Mascot Voting Input, Live Schedule)

Offline Bresslol

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2010, 07:58:08 am »
Since I couldn't quite force my self to sleep I thought I'd try to post this:

I am sorry, but for the good of the convention I'm asking this today, in-spite of it putting you on the spot, to make sure most who are voting have a chance to hear it.

I think after hearing both prospective directors that they are each saying similar things about controlling the official message and hopefully mean to shape the experience our guests so it can most properly provide official answers and allow on topic discussions.  I agree that these aspects of the web site belong in Publicity, but disagree that that is the only thing a web-site should do.  I feel that neither director has satisfactorily answered my initial questions.

To be brief; If elected to what I believe is really a Communications department; how do you intend to enable the collaboration and coordination of staff and the liberation of information?


I would like to make staff collaboration open; meaning staffers are free to communicate with other staff members about ideas to improve how we can make the department even better. I will be looking at the org chart and definitely be asserting what other positions in and out of the department they'd be likely to be working closely with.

Staff coordinations is a different beast, however. If elected, I will be exploring the staff tree and finding ways to streamline and optimize it, as well as look into some new staffing avenues for Publicity, including more ways to get the convention out there.

Information will be distributed as openly as possible, meaning I can and will share from meetings with other departments what they'd like to see us promote. At the same time, we have the opportunity to provide feedback on that information and craft great ideas inside our department.


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Offline MichaelEvans

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2011 Director of Publicity
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2010, 08:12:04 am »
Since I couldn't quite force my self to sleep I thought I'd try to post this:

I am sorry, but for the good of the convention I'm asking this today, in-spite of it putting you on the spot, to make sure most who are voting have a chance to hear it.

I think after hearing both prospective directors that they are each saying similar things about controlling the official message and hopefully mean to shape the experience our guests so it can most properly provide official answers and allow on topic discussions.  I agree that these aspects of the web site belong in Publicity, but disagree that that is the only thing a web-site should do.  I feel that neither director has satisfactorily answered my initial questions.

To be brief; If elected to what I believe is really a Communications department; how do you intend to enable the collaboration and coordination of staff and the liberation of information?

I would like to make staff collaboration open; meaning staffers are free to communicate with other staff members about ideas to improve how we can make the department even better. I will be looking at the org chart and definitely be asserting what other positions in and out of the department they'd be likely to be working closely with.

Staff coordinations is a different beast, however. If elected, I will be exploring the staff tree and finding ways to streamline and optimize it, as well as look into some new staffing avenues for Publicity, including more ways to get the convention out there.

Information will be distributed as openly as possible, meaning I can and will share from meetings with other departments what they'd like to see us promote. At the same time, we have the opportunity to provide feedback on that information and craft great ideas inside our department.

While I am glad a potential board member is willing to keep that in mind, since really it's all management's job; it's actually going beyond the context I had intended the question to cover with my questions.  I'm more looking for ways in which the actual coordination, record keeping, and synchronization between projects can be enabled, enhanced, and be easier; the very things that I feel a software developer (of any kind) should be doing within an organization (which isn't building software for other reasons).
---
Staff 2007-2010
2010-2008: Website Development (So very very much in the last month before the convention at last; Good thing I'm looking for work x.x and have the spare time ~.~)
2007: Website Administration (Mascot Voting Input, Live Schedule)