Category: Operations

Summer 2018 Board Election: Candidate Interviews

We have two seats open on the board of directors this election cycle. Four awesome folks have stepped up as candidates. Ballots will be sent sent to voting AMT members today and election results will be in on August 14th.

Get to know the candidates:

Jeremy Capdevielle

@jeremyjcap

Why do you want to be on the board at AMT?

I want to have a say in the direction of the org (as first gen Mexican American I feel passionate about providing more opportunities to other first gen, immigrant, generally POC communities). On that I only contribute to projects and orgs that demonstrate inclusion in action. I’ve never been on a board so this would also be a fun new learning experience. I’m also CEO of a social arts company and wonder how being on the board and the relationships and connections might help elevate the magic I am already bringing.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

Hmm hard to say. I don’t know what AMT is already doing to be an inclusive org. I would make sure we had one clear way that AMT is supporting a safe and inclusive space at the location. I would also build at least one strategic partnership with an org in line with our vision values and efforts make AMT accessible to folks beyond our current reach and culture.

Patrick Davies

@patricks-d

Why do you want to be on the board at AMT?

Being on the AMT board would be a great opportunity for me to further support the community beyond my Monster Corps service. I’d love to be a part of the collaborative process to help AMT grow and develop.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

I would like to find more opportunities for AMT to connect with the community because we are a great resource and have much to offer.  I’d like to figure out some more educational / skill building classes that might be of interest to our members and identify people who could teach those courses.

Bernard Manning

@TechCurious

Why do you want to be on the board at AMT?

I have time and skills. Also several people have recommended I run. I also would like to have a more purposeful role in the organization.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

Wow. I’m not sure. Try and create more outreach opportunities.

Nico Scherm

@nys

Why you want to be on the board at AMT?

I’ve been serving on the board of directors as a member and chairperson for a year now and I feel it’s been very rewarding working with the board. I’m invested in AMT as a community and would like to help continue its growth and work to make AMT sustainable for the long haul. I was part of the discussion to create the org goals for this year and am committed to seeing them through.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

I want to see us meet our staffing goals and create better documentation, including a comprehensive code of conduct.

2018-2019 Goals

The AMT board of directors is proud to present the goal for the new fiscal year.

Be intentionally inclusive

AMT strives to be a place for the growth of all kinds of people. We, as the organization, want to be engaged in a continual process of understanding how we can make people feel welcome and safe.

Actionable items to support this goal

  • Update and promote the anonymous incident report system.
  • Continue discussions about inclusivity at AMT and the wider makerspace community.
  • Create media and advertising that shows a diverse range of people and projects.
  • Roll out a code of conduct by end of Q3.

Support Sustainability

We want AMT to be around for the long haul as a positive force in people’s lives. This means both running the org in a way that is sustainable financially and operationally, but also creating a culture in which it is easy to get and stay involved with helping run the space.

Actionable items to support this goal

  • Recruit 40 new members by November 30th.
  • Develop an officer application process and improve recruitment process.
  • Reassess incentives to encourage officer retention.
  • Reassess and prioritize officer positions to fill, and fill positions.
  • Improve the ability of members to get involved with contributing to and maintaining the space using from member feedback.
  • Improve promotion of leadership and general volunteer work.
  • Celebrate community successes and support of project leaders even more
  • Reduce critical single-person dependencies (critical tasks only one person knows how to do).
  • Complete revisions of our bylaws.

Strengthen our community

AMT is a space that fosters collaboration and support between members, as well as shared knowledge and responsibility for the space. The community is so much of what is amazing about AMT and is also what keeps it sustainable. We want AMT to be a good member of the maker community and East Bay community.

Actionable items to support this goal

  • Continue engaging in events in the wider community, such as the Oakland library program and Hoover school project.
  • Develop more content and programs that strengthen soft skills within the community, such as the new member orientation.
  • Create strong relationships with other groups, organizations, and spaces in the greater Bay Area.
  • Expand professional development offering for officers, stewards and Monster Corps members.
Big empty room

AMT Expansion 2018

This month AMT turns 8 years old and we are growing! We have rented an additional 1200sqft suite in the building. We have a Work Party Weekend planned June 1-3 to upgrade and reconfigure all of AMT. All the key areas at AMT are getting an upgrade :

CoWorking and Classroom are moving in to the new suite. Rad wifi, chill space away from the big machines, and core office amenities are planned for CoWorking. The new Classroom will be reconfigurable and have double the capacity.

Textiles is moving upstairs into the light. The room will now be a clean fabrication hub with Electronics and 3D Printing both expanding into the space made available. Photo printing may or may not stay upstairs — plans are still forming up.

Metal working, bike parking, and new storage including the old lockers will be moving into the old classroom. But before they move in the room is getting a face lift by returning to the cement floors and the walls will get a new coat of paint.

The CNC room and workshop will then be reconfigured to take advantage of the space Metal vacated. We aren’t sure what that is going to look like beyond more workspace and possibly affordable storage for larger short term projects.

Town Hall Meeting May 17th • 7:30PM • Plan the New Space

What expansion means to membership

The other thing that happened in May is after 8 years our rent finally went up. It is still affordable enough that we get to expand. Expansion also means increasing membership volume to cover the new rents and to take advantage of all the upgrades. We are looking to add another 30 members by winter.  Our total capacity before we hit the cap will be 200 members. We feel that offering more classes and the best bargain in co-working will allow us to do this. Please help get the word out!

The New Suite in the Raw

Big empty room

AMT Board Election Polls Now Open

2018 Winter Election: Candidate Interviews

We have three seats on the board open this election cycle. Five awesome folks have stepped up as candidates. Ballots have been sent to voting AMT members* and election results will be in on January 31st at 6pm.

Get to know the candidates:

Christopher Constantine

Member since May 2017

Why you want to be on the board at AMT?

I want to help out.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

Keeping AMT running is important to me.

 

Pierre Grandin

Member since June 2016

Why you want to be on the board at AMT?

I’ve been serving on the board for 2 terms already and I feel like our current board is really getting better as a leadership team. We are better organized and more efficient than in the past. I’d like to continue being part of that team and help support our organization.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

We are still understaffed in the officers department, and need to address this. I also want to continue the work to improve the efficiency of the officers / directors relationship, which will ultimately lead to a better leadership team as a whole.

 

Patrick Safinya-Davies

Member since July 2017

Why you want to be on the board at AMT?

I’d like to help with the decision making process to advance the mission and goals of AMT as an organization and maker space.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

If elected, I would like to find more opportunities to bring our maker community together with the greater community. I’d also like to help address member concerns. Finally, it would be great to highlight all of the hard work that the volunteer staff does to make AMT function.

 

Peter Gardner

Member since November 2017

Why you want to be on the board at AMT?

I’m new to Ace Monster Toys and would like to step up and help out in any way I can.  I’m interested in big picture issues and helping to drive the vision of AMT while taking member opinions into account.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

I have seen no flaws in the organization except that Rachel probably works too hard.

 

Rob Froetscher

Member since June 2017

Why you want to be on the board at AMT?

As I am at AMT most days, I feel invested in the place and interested in helping keep it going. I appreciate the ways it has spurred me to be more creative and the community it fosters.

What are one or two things you would get done if you were elected?

Keep AMT running. Be invested and interested and mindful of the direction of the org.
*If you are a full member and have not received your ballot please contact [email protected]stertoys.org

 

Asset Tagging at AMT

Ace Monster Toys has a lot of stuff. We like to keep our stuff organized, so we tag our stuff with labels like this:

How to Look up an Asset

To look up an asset by number or name, you can check the asset list

 

The assets are listed in number order, and clicking on the Asset Tag (ex. AMT001 for the Big Red Laser) will bring you to the wiki page for that asset. If the asset has been documented correctly, the wiki page will tell you the specifications and dependencies of that asset.

 

How to Add an Asset Tag

Preprinted asset tags are available on the supplies rack. Please follow the instructions and use them in sequence. You can check which label was used last in the asset list.

You then need to fill out the spreadsheet with the new asset tag under the item number column, give the asset a unique name, give the location of the asset, the URL for the asset’s wiki page (you can copy the URL for the one above and change the tag name), and the value of the asset. Wait, the asset doesn’t have a wiki page so we need to fix this: click on the URL that you put into the spreadsheet, and you will be prompted to create the wiki page (if you are logged in!).

The Wiki page needs to contain the following information:

  • Status: tool integration (Use this code snippet but use the new asset number: {{#amtasset:AMT001}} )
  • Name: Common name of the tool
  • Make/Model: The make and model of the tool from the manufacturer
  • Documentation: (link to documentation, this can be an online manual or on our wiki, whether this page or another is your choice.)
  • Location: (where in the space does it live)
  • Pictures! 
  • Category: (Add relavant category tags for the item you are adding… IT for it stuff, workshop for tools there, etc.)

The Wiki page will become active when the status is set through the Slack channel. To do this, you must send a direct message to @toybot in the format “!asset{asset number}{status}.” For example, if the Big Red Laser is on fire, then you can send a direct message to @toybot saying:

!asset amt001 On Fire!

Messaging toybot can update the status of existing assets (as shown above) as well as setting the status for a new asset.

Happy Tagging!

AMT Badges

Show folks who step up a little love with a button badge!

Have you spotted these badges in our space yet? We’re excited to introduce a new badge program in which members can acknowledge and celebrate community engagement. AMT Badges are little tokens of appreciation that member can give each other. We do so much for each other and the community… give a badge to a member when you see them stepping up!

Guidelines

To get badges: You must be gifted the badge by somebody else.

To give badges: When you see something worthy, choose your badge give it to the person and ping an officer so we can post a digital badge to the recipients AMT profile. Also if you want give a badge anonymously an officer can be your messenger.

Badges are located on the media table upstairs.

Don’t see the badge you need?

Have a great idea for a badge? You can email officers to get a new badge created OR make your own custom badges on any of the Thursday Night General Meetings when we crack out the button maker.

Badges may sometime in the future make you eligible for special classes (sash making!!)

Transparency at AMT

This article specifically pertains to transparency in leadership and governance at Ace Monster Toys Makerspace. Information about personal transparency expected of members and guests can be found on our culture page.

Definitions

Oversight as we are referring to it here is:
a: watchful and responsible care — ex: you to whom oversight of the University is entrusted
b: regulatory supervision — ex: “congressional oversight” or The new manager was given oversight of the project.

Transparency, as used in this social contexts, implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. It has been defined simply as “the perceived quality of intentionally shared information from a sender”.

The AMT commitment to transparency

Operational AMT has the following structures in place to foster the transparency we are committed to:

  • Open Books – Members have access to a read only version of our books at all times. We also publish our yearly p&l to the public wiki.
  • Audit-able Meetings – Members can phone in and audit most meetings on mute or attend as silent observers.
  • Consistent communication about the state of the Organization – Regular newsletters
  • Honestly reporting out – reporting challenges as well as successes
  • Clearly publishing and posting policies and social contracts
  • Clearly stating what members are and are not entitled to (for example, member are entitled to a safe making environment. Members are not entitled to access to contractors AMT hires to do work.)

AMT directors, officers, stewards and project leaders have committed to:

  • Being clear about how decision making is happening
  • Announcing what a decision is once it has been made or when it changes
  • Fostering feedback in open discussions on AMT platforms
  • Reporting out about what feedback will be acted on and what won’t
  • Announcing what style a project, program or initiative will use (i.e. agile, decentralized, directive, etc.)

How transparency plays out in a volunteer run community

As a volunteer-run community, AMT projects and initiatives are often planned and acted upon in a decentralized fashion. What does or does not happen is the emergent property of the community, the will of individual volunteers and their availability and of course follow through.

Decentralizations also means that often projects/initiatives don’t have formal plans made – such as a project manager might create. Instead they have a responsible sponsor/project lead who is trusted to collect the right information to make good decisions as the project progresses. This trust in leaders also extends to dealing with plans and decisions that might need to change in-the-moment. When conditions change plans and choices may change. Failure to follow a plan is not a failure to be transparent. Transparency means reporting out when changes happen.

Decentralization and being volunteer-run means that information is dripped out over the course of a project or initiatives as it happens. What is also means is the the level of engagement (and access to influence and information) is informed by what role somebody has… this is a classic tie between responsibility and authority.

Director/Officer – Provides oversight, gets information by requesting information or reading reports or accessing public channels

Officer/Project Lead – Provides project/initiative management and makes final decisions, distributes informations on public channels as things happen / decisions are made, reports our results, has the most real time information

Project team member – Actively works on the project including planning and is committed to seeing the project though to completion, included in almost all planning discussions if they happen, has virtually real time information, participates in post project/launch documentation

Project contributors – Actively works on the project yet is not committed to seeing the project to completion, receives access to information along the public channels or by request related to the task they are taking on

Member – The general membership has basic information distributed via public channels (usually Slack), engages in discussion, gives feedback on public channels — information access will vary based on relevance to the audience or resources available for documentation

Oversight and leadership at AMT

The are 5 kind of formal leaders at AMT. Project leaders and stewards who are supervised and supported by officers, usually the president, vp, or community liaison. Officers who are supervised and supported by the board of directors. There are certain instances where committees are forms and those members are overseen and supported by officers and directors. All leaders have some degree of autonomous authority to accompany the responsibilities they take on. There is no instance where a member is granted authority in a decision making body without responsibility.

Disagreements and transparency

Makers are generally very invested in how things are done. There will be disagreements about what needs to be done or how something should be managed. One of the fears many people have about transparency, especially when things are decentralized, is that information shared may be misconstrued, misunderstood, or misused.

Example of misconstrued information: Partial information was shared as it is discovered in an effort to solicit timely feedback and it was taken as complete information and assumptions were made

Example of misunderstanding information: A FYI communication about a decision was sent out once the decision was made and it was interpreted as a solicitation reconsider the decision or engage in debate.

Example of misunderstanding information: A communication about a tool use policy is sent out and is misunderstood as a policy about all tools not just the tool being mentioned.

Example of misuse of information: Leader shared what a decision was after a contentious conversation and it was met with debate or derision.

What transparency is not

  • Transparency is not oversight – Requiring to know what all decisions are before they are made or acted upon is oversight. The authority of oversight is held based on role in the org.
  • Transparency is not research – Sometimes accessing the information that is out there takes a little bit of work. Asking somebody else to do that work for you might get you a response of “no”. That no isn’t a denial of transparency but rather a denial of service.
  • Transparency is not entitlement to a role – Members are not entitled seat at every table or a position on every team. While engagement and volunteerism highly encouraged, wanting authority or a role is not guaranteed simply by asking for it.
  • Transparency is not taking all the advice given – Being able to give feedback is part of transparency… having all of your feedback or advice acted upon is not.
  • Transparency is not debate – Debate has its place in decision making. It is not a requirement of decision making or transparency.
  • Transparency leaves room for change – Things change and a previously published piece of information might become inaccurate. Project plans especially might change. As long as those changes are reported out we are still fulfilling out obligation to good transparency.
  • Transparency is not knowing the unknowable – Answering a question may not always be possible. Not answering a question because you don’t know or a decided hasn’t been made or are deferring a decision is not a denial of transparency.
  • Transparency is not license to disrespect somebody’s authority – Sometimes with transparency it means you might be on the receiving end of unsatisfying information. Or even information you disagree with. Asking questions about those decisions or situations is fair enough. Using your “power to question” to to aggressively pressure somebody is harassment and is not okay.
  • Transparency is not unlimited access to people – Sometimes finding the information that is out there involves peoples time and energy to teach systems and platforms where that information is house. Everyone is a volunteer at AMT and no-one is entitled to unlimited time and access to other volunteers. Being told that somebody can’t drop what they are doing to address your needs right away is not a denial of transparency but rather a denial of service. Being polite and respecting the time of others is a key tenant of respect… respect is a pillar of the AMT social contract.

How to Write a Blog Post for AMT

1. Go to acemonstertoys.org and login to your member account.

2. Create a new post by clicking “Post” in the “New” dropdown menu.

3. Create your blog post using images and text! Write a snappy title, write your content and insert images using the “add media” button. You can select a category for your post in the appropriate menu in the side bar, as well as preview your post with the “preview” button and publish when you are ready.

4. Set your featured image. Scroll all the way down to “featured image” in the sidebar, and select or upload an image. The image will automatically be resized to a square thumbnail for the home page, but also shows up full size above your title in the blog. Landscape orientation works best. See the wiki for recommendations on featured image size: http://wiki.acemonstertoys.org/AMT_Blog_Image_Tips


More on uploading images:

  1. Clicking “add media” allows you to select from images in our media library, or you can upload your files using the “upload files” tab.

2. Once uploaded to the media library, you can select or deselect photos, and chose their alignment and size in the dropdown menus under “attachment display settings”.

3. Click “insert into post” once you are happy with your settings.

4. Once an image is inserted into your post, you can change the alignment or size settings by clicking the image once and then clicking the “edit” button on the tool bar that appears. It looks like a little pencil.

5. In the image editor panel that will open, you can make changes to your image, such as choosing to center align it, changing the size, or adding a caption. You can also click “edit original” for more options.

6. In this panel, you can rotate, flip, scale or crop your image. Make sure you click the blue save button when you make changes.

For more help with images and layout, wordpress has tons of documentation: https://codex.wordpress.org/Writing_Posts