Author Topic: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President  (Read 2467 times)

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Offline JeffT

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Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« on: September 06, 2012, 12:41:52 am »
This thread is for questions and answers for the candidates for the 2013 Chair (President).
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 12:42:22 am by JeffT »
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Offline @random

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2012, 08:18:24 am »
  • What do you see the role(s) of the Chair as being, and what do you believe you bring to the table in this regard?
  • As Chair, what changes (if any) would you like to institute?
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Offline Dealrith

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 07:39:00 pm »
Open ended I know but try for me.
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Offline TanisNikana

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 07:49:36 pm »
And why, exactly, would you want to be chair? Be specific, give examples

Offline Bresslol

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 08:44:37 pm »
Tell us about a time about a great success you have had staffing the convention.

Tell us about a time where you did not do as well as you had hoped with something as staff. How do you think you could have handled it better?

If you had no resistance or restrictions, what is something you would like to do as Chair?

What is your definition of a successful administration?

A Chair must not only be the face of con, but also must work hard as a mediator behind the scenes. Give us examples of you doing this.

TJ, this question is specifically for you. You have a following in operations, that's not news. If you are elected Chair, are you going to give Operations favor, or do you intend on being a true neutral party when it comes to departmental disputes?

Thank you for your time, and best of luck to you all!


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Offline Griffion

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 11:13:56 pm »
  • What do you see the role(s) of the Chair as being, and what do you believe you bring to the table in this regard?

I see the office of Chairman as the seat on the board that provides a locus of executive guidance and synthesized report to the membership as well as the greater fandom in addition to filling several flexible roles throughout the year. In short, he is the face of Kumoricon, someone with whom each and every individual attached to the organization should be able to resonate with to promote our general philosophy and goals. As the presiding officer for both Board Meetings and General Meetings, the Chairman sets the agenda and keeps the collective consciousness of our community on track towards long term success.

I have attended many different conventions over the past seventeen years. Some were Sci-Fi/Fantasy while others like Kumoricon were Anime oriented. From 2008 to 2010 I worked for Kumoricon as a volunteer, a coordinator, and a Manager under Programming and for the last two years I have served as Director of Operations. In addition I have been the owner of Epic Gaming, a LGS in South Portland, since September 2010 and have in that capacity sold wares through a vendor booth at a convention. During my time as an attendee, a staffer, and a vendor I've seen and experienced many of the myriad difficulties that organizations like our own face when trying to provide the best experience.  I believe that my background gives me an advantage in tackling problems that Kumoricon will face in the coming year because I always try to look at each issue from as many different angles as possible. It is my ultimate goal to bring together the intent and aspirations of the many different voices our body contains to conduct the planning and execution of Kumoricon 2013 so that the result can reflect fully the hard work that we all put in.

Open ended I know but try for me.
Who are you?

A large part of this question has been answered above but I will add some facts to meet your interest. I am, to put it frankly, someone who likes to improve his surroundings. When I was in Gaming (later Console Gaming) I oversaw the abolishment of Bag Check and the reinvention of our checkout and tournament systems. In Operations I completely overhauled the organizational structure of the directorate and created a 24 hour uninterrupted schedule of services. Through the devolving of responsibilities and authority to lower levels we found ourselves able to absorb the entire Registration lineup on Saturday morning within an hour, respond, broadcast, and resolve seventeen Code Adam reports with only two ten minute warnings, and maintain communication integrity from Day -1 to Day +1. In my mind though there is always room to make things better and I walked away from Kumoricon 2012 with a laundry list of things that I will urge my successor to eagerly find solutions to.

And why, exactly, would you want to be chair? Be specific, give examples

I want to be Chair because I see a need. What I omitted in my answer to Robert was the fact that until I was informed of Beau's impending retirement the list of issues to be resolved in Operations was my own for the next year. However, I was approached and given support by my colleagues on the board and by my staff in Operations and from those votes of confidence I began to explore the ways that I could help by answering the call. After pondering the possibilities I now find myself standing before you, steeled to meet that challenge.


Tell us about a time about a great success you have had staffing the convention.

The greatest success in my opinion was removing the need for a bag check in console gaming. I remember in 2008-2009 when we still had to burn out 2-3 staff a year due to having to check and catalog each and every bag that came into the room. After removing that manpower drain it allowed us to focus completely on providing more stations and content for the attendees instead of theft prevention. I know with the bloom we experienced this year it would have overwhelmed the department if the old system was still in place and it made me smile to head down into the basement at peak hours this year and find it running smoothly.

Tell us about a time where you did not do as well as you had hoped with something as staff. How do you think you could have handled it better?

To be brief, I underestimated the effect that 100 additional staff would have on Con Suite's reserves this year. I talked with my fellow board members and with several staff as con came to a close and realized that even though we were scheduling regular food drops there were just too many staff to feed. Where my responsibility came in was that we knew in the final weeks leading to con that a sharp increase in our staff population was likely given the correlation between staff signups and general attendance. If I could do it again I would have budgeted 120 - 150% of our expected population to make sure that no one would go without.

If you had no resistance or restrictions, what is something you would like to do as Chair?

I would first ask in what capacity do you mean, but I will assume it is within the jurisdiction that Chair has in our organization, which is that of a board member. If I could encounter no resistance I would usher in a staged plan to end staff dues for returning staff in good standing without a signing restriction.

What is your definition of a successful administration?

A successful administration is one that meets its goals and maintains good standing with its constituency throughout its term. While harmony within the board is preferable, a healthy dose of ideological friction can also foment positive growth.

A Chair must not only be the face of con, but also must work hard as a mediator behind the scenes. Give us examples of you doing this.

In the past there has been the perception that Operations and Programming have been at odds with one another. However, by all accounts relations between the two directorates have warmed substantially during my two years as Director of Operations because of a marked effort between myself, Jaki, and our assistants to promote open communication. While there have been bumps along the way I'd like to think that we are closer to a lasting understanding than ever before.

Another way that I have been called upon as mediator is through being the highest representative for Operations. Through its MO, Operations by default responds and tends to the needs of other directorates and the attendees at large on an active basis at con. The way I crafted my directorate was therefore intentional, issues would scale the command chain and if I became involved it was because it required top level mediation. During the convention I found myself personally dealing with couriering of Badge requests, making sure panels had ID check security, making judgment calls regarding the allocation of communication devices, deciding when we would swell Yojimbo numbers to deal with crowding, and authorizing attendee badge refunds. In each case I was mediating between at least two parties and in the vast majority of resolutions each side found the solution to be amicable.

TJ, this question is specifically for you. You have a following in operations, that's not news. If you are elected Chair, are you going to give Operations favor, or do you intend on being a true neutral party when it comes to departmental disputes?

As has been stated before, I originally came from Programming and until I was elected Director of Operations I bled Purple through and through. Once it became my directive to represent Operations I did my best to embody the needs and hopes of those in my charge and two years later I doubt that one person would question who I represent. However, now that I am preparing myself for the possibility of becoming Chair I am tuning my treatment to represent the needs of every staffer in Kumoricon in addition to the nearly 5000 attendees we enjoy the support of.
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Offline Fevenis

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2012, 08:50:40 am »
@Griffion:

Word on the street is that Kumoricon is the same old con every year. Same panels, same events, etc. What would you do to make Kumoricon less "stale"?

Offline Bresslol

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2012, 08:55:36 am »
TJ, These are the answers that people need to see coming from a chair. You definitely have my support moving forward.


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Offline Rathany

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 02:59:36 pm »
I am going to ask an unfair question that draws false parallels, but I am doing so for a reason.

Should Kumoricon be a convention focused on fans, fanworks, have lots of workshops, stay in hotels, etc.  Or, should Kumoricon become a huge convention center convention with professional tournaments covered by the media and our main focus being industry and what they do instead of what our attendees can create? 

Should be become a derp version of Sak? 

I am asking because this seems to be the broad strokes of a conversation happening at the higher levels of the con and I would like to draw with conversation out into the light a bit :) 
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Offline numair42

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2012, 12:40:23 am »
As the "guy in charge" you have a say on how directors allocate the limited resources (money/staff/space) of the organization. What areas do you feel need more resources and why?

As the "chief executive" you have a say in what long term goals the organization should be working on in the 2013 year. What should the organization work to improve this year and why?
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Offline Griffion

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2012, 02:04:37 pm »
Since I believe these last three questions are largely addressed in my response to the General Election thread I will paste them here as well.

I think it's fair to say that "we" want Kcon to be a good experience for everyone who wants to come out and play. I'd also venture a guess that "we" also want to see a steady increase of attendance. I'm sure there are other "big picture" goals, but I think that those are the most obvious.

Indeed, the discussions we've had on the board for the past two years involving our long term plans have often revolved around these two issues. The resolution of these sessions has traditionally created two loosely associated camps: one that believes these problems to be largely dichotomic and another that is confident a compromise can be met as time progresses.

The hard part is figuring out how to meet those goals. One simplistic approach is to clone what other successful conventions do. Places like SakuraCon, DragonCon, and ComicCon got to be large events because the were successful in attracting guests and attendees. What "we" need to figure out is if we want to follow in their footsteps. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with looking how others do things as long as it doesn't negatively impact our convention. Because of our close relationship with SakuraCon there is a concern that we will become a poor imitation of SakuraCon. I personally don't know what that would look like, having never gone to SakuraCon, but there is danger when there is blind devotion to an idea or a resource. We shouldn't do anything just because SakuraCon does it. We should do it because it is the right thing to do for KumoriCon.

I can personally say as the Director of Operations for the past two years that Operations would have experienced serious problems during my tenure without the mentoring and advice from Sakuracon Executives and Managers. Our move to computerized Registration was sparked by Sakuracon's successful implementation of a similar system and currently the Yojimbo are undergoing a complete overhaul of their scheduling system and vetting process, made possible by the help and counsel of S.A.S. Management. In both cases my contacts at Sakuracon have stressed over and over again that they want us to be vocal if we felt in any way "crowded" by their help. Needless to say I was and am still thankful for what they have done for Operations and I know at the same time that we in the directorate feel as "Kumoricon" as ever in terms of spirit and belonging.

In response to the second to last sentence I will say it straight: I don't believe that anyone is truly arguing for the adoption of Sakuracon's mold for the blanket reason that "it must be good because they did it." In fact, pointing towards a level of reciprocity between Kumoricon and Sakuracon, several people that staff both conventions credit my partitioning of Operations by hiring additional assistants as the source of a similar move last year made by Sakuracon's Operations Department.

As we look ahead to the future, we need to figure out what kind of content we want to promote. I believe the question raised is what kind of content we should focus on. Do we attempt to increase the industry presence at con or depend on our staff and attendees for content? Both sources have advantages and adding content of either types changes the tone of the convention. If that change is for good or ill, I have no idea. What "we" need to develop is a balanced collection of content that best matches what KumoriCon needs. From my observations, our content is light on the industry content. Do we need to add more to meet our goals?

My answer to this question is an emphatic "BOTH!" I believe the trick to this balance is maintaining a strong "homebrew" content community as we grow larger. The way industry tends to treat, and provide content to, conventions is intrinsically linked to the size and growth potential of the event. So, if we keep growing at similar pace to this year, the industry support should follow suit as long as our Relations department continues to woo and build the right contacts. In contrast, as a convention grows, locally supported content tends to wane without a focused TLC effort on the part of the organization. This is because the OOB experience of non-industry content does not typically scale as well as a refined industry backed system and will, without targeted patience and support, be bypassed in subsequent years due to an intrinsic need to provide reliable content to as many attendees as possible throughout the event.

As a folow up to what I have said in responses to questions in the Chair thread, I believe that the solution to where we go in the future lies in the successful synthesis of the many voices that comprise our membership. I think we need to keep searching for ways to handle an ever larger attendee base while using the examples of other conventions, both large and small, to successfully navigate the transition from a small/medium sized con to one that is large, but still honors and exemplifies its roots.
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Offline superjaz

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2012, 05:51:09 pm »
These positions are picked by the board, who do you like for them

Vice Chair

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Offline Bresslol

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2012, 10:50:59 am »
I will say that this will likely be an unpopular question.

I understand that for the past 10 years, Kumoricon has had folks staff from other cities, and has tried to schedule meetings up and down the I-5 corridor. The fact of the matter is, we are based in Portland, and I hate having to be unable to go to meetings because I don't want to drive 3 hours each way to go to a Eugene meeting.

My question is: Are you considering a more centralized general meeting structure, keeping meetings in the Vancouver/Portland area, or continuing with the multi-city plan for meetings?


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Offline Fevenis

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2012, 11:35:42 am »
I will say that this will likely be an unpopular question.

I understand that for the past 10 years, Kumoricon has had folks staff from other cities, and has tried to schedule meetings up and down the I-5 corridor. The fact of the matter is, we are based in Portland, and I hate having to be unable to go to meetings because I don't want to drive 3 hours each way to go to a Eugene meeting.

My question is: Are you considering a more centralized general meeting structure, keeping meetings in the Vancouver/Portland area, or continuing with the multi-city plan for meetings?

We all make the commute for the sake of the con and I don't think we should move from a meeting rotation simply because some members don't want to make the commute. Just my opinion of course.

Offline Bresslol

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2012, 11:52:08 am »
I will say that this will likely be an unpopular question.

I understand that for the past 10 years, Kumoricon has had folks staff from other cities, and has tried to schedule meetings up and down the I-5 corridor. The fact of the matter is, we are based in Portland, and I hate having to be unable to go to meetings because I don't want to drive 3 hours each way to go to a Eugene meeting.

My question is: Are you considering a more centralized general meeting structure, keeping meetings in the Vancouver/Portland area, or continuing with the multi-city plan for meetings?

We all make the commute for the sake of the con and I don't think we should move from a meeting rotation simply because some members don't want to make the commute. Just my opinion of course.

And we can agree to disagree on that one. Heck, I do make the commute to Seattle monthly for Sakura-Con meetings. That said, they are in the same place every month, save for the staff barbeque in August.

Having the meetings in a centralized location is more of a benefit to staffers, as I would argue that a large majority of our staff live in the Portland metro area.


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Offline Kurokaizoku

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2012, 01:00:27 pm »
I will say that this will likely be an unpopular question.

I understand that for the past 10 years, Kumoricon has had folks staff from other cities, and has tried to schedule meetings up and down the I-5 corridor. The fact of the matter is, we are based in Portland, and I hate having to be unable to go to meetings because I don't want to drive 3 hours each way to go to a Eugene meeting.

My question is: Are you considering a more centralized general meeting structure, keeping meetings in the Vancouver/Portland area, or continuing with the multi-city plan for meetings?

We all make the commute for the sake of the con and I don't think we should move from a meeting rotation simply because some members don't want to make the commute. Just my opinion of course.

And we can agree to disagree on that one. Heck, I do make the commute to Seattle monthly for Sakura-Con meetings. That said, they are in the same place every month, save for the staff barbeque in August.

Having the meetings in a centralized location is more of a benefit to staffers, as I would argue that a large majority of our staff live in the Portland metro area.

The reason we alter locations is because it is unfair to make some people constantly commute. We began in Eugene so we hold meetings there occasionally. It is not a requirement to attend every meeting. For most of my con life I have lived in the Portland area and rarely missed a meeting. I think it would be more of an insult to centralize, more so than any benefit seen.
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Offline superjaz

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2012, 05:21:11 pm »
I will say that this will likely be an unpopular question.

I understand that for the past 10 years, Kumoricon has had folks staff from other cities, and has tried to schedule meetings up and down the I-5 corridor. The fact of the matter is, we are based in Portland, and I hate having to be unable to go to meetings because I don't want to drive 3 hours each way to go to a Eugene meeting.

My question is: Are you considering a more centralized general meeting structure, keeping meetings in the Vancouver/Portland area, or continuing with the multi-city plan for meetings?

We all make the commute for the sake of the con and I don't think we should move from a meeting rotation simply because some members don't want to make the commute. Just my opinion of course.

And we can agree to disagree on that one. Heck, I do make the commute to Seattle monthly for Sakura-Con meetings. That said, they are in the same place every month, save for the staff barbeque in August.

Having the meetings in a centralized location is more of a benefit to staffers, as I would argue that a large majority of our staff live in the Portland metro area.

This debate makes me think of a guy and a girl arguing if the bathroom seat should be kept up or down, no one is going to be 100% happy.
 either say portland area only and portlanders woot, lame for everyone else.

Question for anyone who knows, on the choice of meeting locations, how much is that the sole choice of the chair or the board as a whole?


It is not a requirement to attend every meeting.
Thank goodness for that!  As long as you talk to your department, I have never had a problem with missing a meeting because it was scheduled during a family event, farther then I am able to travel, or happened when I gave birth....
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Offline Jamiche

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2012, 05:31:23 pm »
Question for anyone who knows, on the choice of meeting locations, how much is that the sole choice of the chair or the board as a whole?

Jaz, it is a decision that is made by the whole board. :) 
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Offline Bresslol

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2012, 04:34:17 pm »
For the first time in three years, Kumoricon experienced a growth in attendance, and a record one at that. What is your opinion of growth of the convention, and what more likely would you give an aye vote to if the convention outgrows Vancouver: Staying in Vancouver and instituting an attendance cap, or moving to a venue that would work well with growth?

Give us your schedule of major milestones for the convention year in 2013.

What is your opinion of one-year board member terms?

If you had to vote for your opponent, what is the number one reason you would?


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Offline Bresslol

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2013 Chair/President
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2012, 04:48:47 pm »
Oh yeah! One more question!

What is your opinion of the proxy balloting system for elections?


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