Author Topic: Candidate Q&A - 2015 Chair  (Read 1175 times)

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Offline kjayers

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Candidate Q&A - 2015 Chair
« on: September 05, 2014, 11:26:59 am »
This thread is for questions and answers for the candidates for the 2015 Convention Chair/President of Altonimbus Entertainment.

Please remember the following when participating in the Q&A threads. The normal forum code of conduct applies, except:

There is a partial exemption to the rule that forum discussion cannot be about a person. You may incorporate personal comments, including praise or criticism, into your election questions and answers, and ensuing discussion, but only regarding candidates who are running for a position, or about another person if it is directly entangled with an issue germane to the outcome of the election. In so doing, you must still exercise standard courtesy, and refrain from profanity, disruption of the discussion, excessive vitriol, and irrelevant comments. Please keep in mind that there will be an opportunity for spoken comments at the elections meeting.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 11:27:40 am by kjayers »
2015 Secretary & MSO Manager
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2008 Assistant Secretary & Parliamentarian

Offline kjayers

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2015 Chair
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2014, 09:29:47 am »
I really don't want to sound like a broken record and post this in every Q&A thread, so I'll just post this here once.  ;D

I would really appreciate it if all candidates for a position posted a resume for the given position and maybe a more general introductory statement about themselves and the position they're running for. Hopefully this will also help others make an educated decision on the best candidate for a position.

I'm starting to wonder if candidates didn't see the question because it's not in their respective threads.  So I'll be the broken record.
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2010 Secretary
2009 Secretary
2008 Assistant Secretary & Parliamentarian

Offline BellDue

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2015 Chair
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2014, 10:18:17 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?


What's your vision for Kumoricon 2015?


Why do you feel you are the right person for the position?


What's your strategy for uniting a divided board?

Offline JeffT

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2015 Chair
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2014, 09:39:05 pm »
I would really appreciate it if all candidates for a position posted a resume for the given position and maybe a more general introductory statement about themselves and the position they're running for. Hopefully this will also help others make an educated decision on the best candidate for a position.

Hello! I am running for re-election for Convention Chair. I first became Chair mid-term, in January this year. Since I joined Kumoricon staff in 2006, I have previously held two other board positions, Secretary and Director of Publicity, and have held Website Manager continuously since 2007. For my first term, I ran for Chair to fill a vacancy, believing that my experience and knowledge with many areas of the con would help guide us through our next phase.

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?

The Chair guides the direction of the convention. The Chair facilitates progress throughout the year, and helps spearhead initiatives that are broader than a single department. The Chair helps represent the convention (though is not the only department doing that) both outside, and at, the con. The Chair is another position to appeal to, if there is a dispute with a department. I believe my extensive experience working on the board and in different areas of the convention - both internally focused, and externally-facing - gives me a depth and breadth of experience to serve these roles.

What's your vision for Kumoricon 2015?

I'd like our convention to continue on its trajectory from the very successful 2014 year, with continued attendee growth, awesome programming, and few attendee complaints.

A big area I'd like to focus on for 2015 is building the strength of our staff - particularly encouraging more staff to join the higher levels of running the con behind the scenes.

To do this, I'd like to become more open about some of our inner workings. I propose distributing our executive meeting minutes, lightly redacted for private details or topics, to all staff of rank Coordinator or above.

I would like the convention to create an online staff wiki where details of how the con is run and how important jobs are done can be more widely shared with staff. This facilitates continuity as staff change positions, and helps staff get involved in areas of the con they may be skilled in, but unaware of. I'd like to start the wiki with a "list of 1000 things you need to do to run an anime convention". In order to encourage delegation, I'd like the org chart to expand to start listing "add-on staff positions" - jobs that are not large enough to justify a staff membership alone, but that can be held at the same time as other positions.

I'd like staff training to take more forms than just the shortly-before-con Yojimbo-style training.

As a disclaimer, any of these changes would be decisions of the board, not the Chair alone, so I cannot absolutely promise them. But these are my vision.

Why do you feel you are the right person for the position?

In addition to the value of the initiatives I described above, I believe I have the experience, time commitment, and motivation for the position.

What's your strategy for uniting a divided board?

First off, I'm not sure such a thing is possible. That said, here are a few thoughts.

I distinguish divisions over substantive issues, and divisions over personalities.

In my observation, Kumoricon has held relatively few major divisions over substantive issues - "major" meaning that they affect the broad goals and trajectories of the organization. We have a clear and specific mission to put on an annual anime fan convention. This goal is widely understood, and as examples we have conventions in cities across the country to watch and learn from.

Unfortunately, divisions over personalities are common and a drain on everyone. Sometimes these divisions form cliques, and sometimes these disputes over personalities are mistaken for divisions over substantive issues, when they really aren't. Cliques often change or dissolve themselves every 1 to 2 years (if not more often), despite the perception in the heat of the moment that they are long-lasting or eternal. I think these problems are common in nonprofit organizations with boards, and not unique to us, or to anime conventions.

My strategies for dealing with these are: Focus on the merits of the issues, rather than who is saying them. Hear multiple sides of an issue before reaching a decision - and encourage others to do the same, rather than just quickly adopting the opinions of one's friends. Once the board, department, or team decides on a course of action, everyone should work toward the decision of the organization, even if they didn't vote that way or agree. (As a footnote, one reason I have long wanted more of our board positions to move from board-elected to member-elected is to reduce the influence of cliques and personality divisions.)
2011 - 2013, 2016-2017: Secretary
2007 - 2017: Website Manager
2015: Assistant Secretary
2014: Chair
2007 - 2009: Director of Publicity
2006: Copy Editor, A/V Manager

Offline kjayers

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2015 Chair
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2014, 04:39:42 pm »
For the benefit of people who don't frequent the forums, I would super appreciate if folks would put their name as it will appear on the ballot in their introductory post (even when it seems obvious).  Thanks!
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Offline Snorlax

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Re: Candidate Q&A - 2015 Chair
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2014, 04:07:27 am »

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I would really appreciate it if all candidates for a position posted a resume for the given position and maybe a more general introductory statement about themselves and the position they're running for. Hopefully this will also help others make an educated decision on the best candidate for a position.

My name is Phillip Koop, and I am running for President of Altonimbus Entertainment (also known as Chair).  I first started attending Kumoricon in 2004, and started staffing it in 2007 as Video Gaming Staff.  After spending three years building the Tabletop Gaming sub-department, I served on the board as Facilities Liaison from 2011 to 2012, and most recently have served Kumoricon as its General Manager for the past two years.

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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 could tell you that the role of the chair is prescribed in our bylaws, but not only is that a boring answer; it doesn’t tell anyone how I would interpret those duties.

I think the Chair’s primary responsibility is to lead, support, and council the Board of Directors as they plan the current year’s Kumoricon and look towards the future.  It is the Chair’s job to take each individual director’s vision for Kumoricon and coalesce those visions into a unified whole that the entire board can support.  The Chair should also serve as an impartial mediator if inter-departmental conflict arises.  Finally, the Chair can be seen as the public face of Kumoricon, helping represent the convention to industry, staff, venues, and attendees.

My time working for Kumoricon has given me many valuable skills, a breadth of convention knowhow, and a good understanding of, and hands on experience with at least part of every department.

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What's your vision for Kumoricon 2015?

Personally, I think that one year is far too limiting a timeframe within which to talk about vision.  However, I do have a vision for Kumoricon, and I do have goals for Kumoricon 2015.
Ultimately, I want to see Kumoricon in the Oregon Convention Center.  Not only do I think this will be a positive move for the convention, but we also drastically need the increased space.

I also want to see us keep our focus on fan content and panels (guest or otherwise), as I believe this is the area in which we can best compete with other conventions.  2014 was a great year in this regard, with the addition of some amazing cultural panels.

Looking to the future, I’m really excited about the possibility of hosting guests of honor from overseas.  We’re not ready for it yet, but we never will be if we don’t start looking into and preparing for it now.

Regarding this upcoming year in particular, I want to see an executive staff that is more involved in planning Kumoricon throughout the year.  This includes attending board meetings.  Every year, I feel like we have just enough qualified candidates to fill the necessary positions.  It is my hope that if we are able to give more individuals hands on experience, we will not only benefit from new voices and ideas, but also build a build up a new generation of staff capable and willing to serve on our Board of Directors.

I also think that Kumoricon needs to take a hard look at how we implement ADA accommodations in 2015.


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Why do you feel you are the right person for the position?

I love Kumoricon and I love working for Kumoricon.  That may seem like a cavalier response, but I believe it to be the most fundamental requirement for any board position.

I also have the skill set I feel is necessary to make an effective chair.  In addition to my background in Programming, my time as Facilities Liaison enabled me to develop a close relationship with our venues as well as a familiarity with contract negotiation and the operational side of Kumoricon.  I worked closely with the Managing Directors to ensure that their departments received what they needed from our venues, and that our venues received what they needed from us.  In addition, I spearheaded the creation of the program that helps cover room nights for coordinators and above.  As General Manager I worked closely with Publicity and Relations, successfully representing our convention both to the general public and industry.

I’m confident that my record shows that I have the ability, drive, and vision to successfully chair Kumoricon.


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What's your strategy for uniting a divided board?

For the past four years I’ve observed the board both as an insider and an outsider, and have often reflected upon what causes the frequent and persistent divisions among board members, and, more importantly, how to change things so that disagreements among board members don’t threaten a dysfunctional board.

Ultimately, I think that the solution to a divided board comes down to communication.  Much of the conflict on the board, in my observation, is usually due to misunderstanding.  Maybe one director doesn’t understand where another director is coming from.  Or perhaps a director makes a mistake, but nobody confronts them about it, and instead the directors that are upset continue to get more and more upset with the one director as that director makes the same mistake again because no one called them on it.  These are just examples, but they are problems that could easily have been solved by simply talking to each other.

I also think that all directors need keep in mind that, even when we disagree, we will always have at least one thing in common.  Every director cares about Kumoricon deeply, and every director is simply doing what they think is best for Kumoricon, and they deserve to be respected for it, not demonized for disagreeing.

Another habit of the board that I’ve noticed is a reluctance to vote on things.  This, I think, is silly.  The ability to vote on things exists for a reason; it exists to solve disagreements, and should be used to do such, rather than the more common practice of talking an issue to death, realizing that a unanimous consensus will not be reached, and then abandoning the issue, leaving it unresolved or without closure.  Let me be clear, disagreements are a good thing when handled professionally.  They help us grow and innovate.  But they also need to be dealt with before they can be allowed to fester.

So, to summarize, I think that the key is a combination of honest and open communication, mutual respect, and a healthy dose of parliamentary procedure.  Will this work?  I don’t know.  And we won’t know until we try.  And if it doesn't work we’ll try something else.  One thing I do know, however, is that the moment you truly entertain the impossibility of unified board, is the very moment you've given up on trying to unite it.
2015-17 Chair
2013-14 General Manager
2011-12 Facilities Liaison
2010 Tabletop Gaming Manager
2008-09 Tabletop Gaming Coordinator
2007 Gaming Staff