Five Things Mandy Gooch Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today’s post is with Mandy Gooch, who volunteers for the Strategic Planning Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

As a Strategic Planning (SP) committee member, I am involved in helping to grow and develop the OTW as an organization through implementation of its strategic planning goals. We do this work so that the OTW can keep focused on particular things we want to have happen in the future, and so that we’ll have the guidelines and tools we need to help that happen.

Some of the ways we’ll do this is to make sure volunteers understand their roles and how to do them, to make sure our board and the leaders of our committees can hand their roles on to others when they need to change their positions or move on, and to make it as easy and clear as possible to do the different tasks that the OTW, as a non-profit, needs to do to be accountable to its users and supporters. My committee doesn’t come up with these plans so much as it helps all the different parts of the OTW come up with them. We help them decide what’s truly important for both their committee and the OTW as a whole, and then help make sure that progress is getting made by all parts of the organization since some groups are farther along in some details than others. Because Strategic Planning’s mission is about the future, we work most closely with the Board and the chairs of the OTW committees who will guide us there, and help them think about what’s coming when they’re usually busy dealing with today’s problems.

I am also a Tag Wrangling volunteer, which is where I get to dabble in the fandom side of things a bit more. It’s a lot of fun and is a way that I can be more connected to fandom without actually creating fanworks. It’s also a really great way to find new authors in AO3, which is fantastic on the one hand…and also dangerous on the other since my To Read list keeps growing and growing!

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

I typically put in a few hours each week for Strategic Planning — between 3 to 5 hours depending on what is happening in the committee. I usually meet for two hours each week with everyone in the committee to keep up-to-date on our current projects and discuss future goals. Right now SP Staffers are very involved in the implementation of the Strategic Plan. This involves at least two SP committee members signing up to be implementation monitors during a month; we call ourselves ImpMons (yep, just like the Digimon). As an ImpMon I am usually communicating with other committees about upcoming goals, tracking their progress, assisting committees in understanding a goal or meeting a deadline, and updating Board about the OTW’s overall progress. ImpMons also host Open Office Hours for our staff/volunteers to attend each month in our internal chat channel. It is a great way for committees to learn more about upcoming or current goals and to get feedback.

Outside of ImpMon duties, my week may include meetings for projects the Strategic Planning committee might be working on — we have to meet the goals of the Strategic Plan, too, so we work on our committee’s goals at the same time as monitoring implementation. It might sound like a lot of meetings, but honestly it flies by since the work is rewarding and my other Strategic Planning staff are so much fun to work with on projects!

I also try to fit in a few hours each week for wrangling tags in my fandoms and working on a wrangling project for MCU.

January will mark the one-year anniversary of the Strategic Plan. What will that mean for the OTW?

I think it means we’ve hit a great milestone and made some real strides into completing our Strategic Plan. I’m so excited to see our one year mark coming up! The OTW is moving forward and growing even stronger as an organization and this is thanks to all of the hard work every committee has put into completing their goals.

I honestly have to say that when I first started in the Strategic Planning committee about 2.5 years ago, I was pretty intimidated when thinking about the implementation process for this plan. However, that was newbie!me being nervous. Working with everyone on this has been a great adventure and I’ve learned so much about strategic planning, volunteering, and working in an international organization. Everyone here is so dedicated and passionate about what they do in the OTW and it is really inspiring to see that level of commitment! Personally, I think reaching one year has been a great time to reflect on where we were, where we are, and where we are going. I am very glad I can take part in all of this.

What’s the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

Meeting new people and learning more about what everyone does in the OTW. It takes me a little while to open up in a group and I think volunteering for the OTW has really helped me grow in that area. I’ve made some great friends in my time here. It’s also really interesting to learn about each committee and how they contribute to the organization. Strategic Planning has a very different process compared to, say, Tag Wrangling or Systems. Every committee contributes a lot to the functionality of the OTW and understanding how everyone works together has not only been important as an SP volunteer, but also as someone who appreciates and strives for collaboration.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I read a lot of fanfiction in my spare time and years ago I used to write a little here and there. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or motivation to write fanfiction right now, so I consume a lot to make up for it. I also enjoy conventions and cosplay. Creating costumes has been a passion since I was a kid and I really enjoy making a costume and interacting with other fans at conventions.


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you’d like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.