Exemplar Wave 5

Exemplar Wave 5 was recently published! As always, it’s a delight to scroll through the many recognitions and read about the awesome things happening across the Judge Program.

About a month and a half ago, back when Wave 5 submissions closed, I shared some general thoughts and observations about Exemplar. The nominations I submitted for this wave were very much on my mind when writing that post; however, as those recognitions were all still pending, I wanted to approach things from a very high-level perspective. Now that everything has been approved and made public, I wanted to dive into my nominations more specifically, and explain how the actions I chose to recognize reflect my own values and priorities.

Here are my 12 nominations, and the judges who received them:

My Nominations

Dan Collins

Dan, your work on the Northeast’s recent Judge Conference was nothing short of heroic. From beginning to end, you didn’t miss a beat and left nothing overlooked. I was frankly blown away by your success in streaming and recording the seminars. This took a ton of setup and a lot of editing time, but you made it look easy. As if that weren’t enough, you ensured that presenters received their audience feedback almost instantly. Finally, you took the initiative to start keeping documentation about procedures and best practices for running a conference, which will be invaluable for future conference organizers. Thank you so much for all you’ve done.

Ian Marcellana

Ian, you did a fantastic job with the recent Northeast conference. Besides coming up with the original proposal, you were invaluable when it came to actually coordinating with Stevens. One of the judge program’s greatest strengths is that each of us have unique strengths and connections, and you’re a great example of that. Thank you!

Tom Kunc

I don’t use this word lightly, but your contributions to JudgeApps have been simply invaluable. From major undertakings (like implementing roles) to small but significant changes (like improving email notifications), you’ve impacted thousands of judges. I don’t know where JudgeApps would be without you.

Ben Harris

Ben, when the Magic Blog Network was hugged to death during the announcement of the level re-definition, you took the initiative to mirror the blog post on your personal site. Beyond simply allowing people to actually read the announcement, your mirror was also useful in helping Joel and Lems access the post’s text when they were creating a static page to definitively address the traffic problem. This also directly led to the two of us discussing you joining the JudgeApps team — and I’m grateful to have you onboard. Almost immediately after joining the project, you submitted your first patch, which addressed a long-standing bug where multi-paragraph application comments were displayed as one big paragraph. I look forward to continuing to work with you!

Jernej Lipovec

Jernej, I’d like to recognize your sustained excellent contributions to JudgeApps, including two high-profile projects (submitted date on applications, and improved Exemplar filters). Beyond that, I’m especially happy that you’ve started to use your experience to mentor other developers. Thank you for making JudgeApps better for everyone!

Joe Hughto

Joe, you remain a driving force in our region. Besides continuing to push forward and innovate on various projects (like PEP talks, swag, and the area reps), you are a steady presence with an open door. I also wanted to praise you for your work as Scheduled Events Lead on Saturday of GP DC. In particular, your Excel sheet to map out the entire room was truly innovative. I also appreciated your high level of communication before and during the event, which made everything much easier.

CJ Crooks

CJ, I loved working with you Grand Prix Washington DC (as the AM and PM Sides Leads). Your easy-going demeanor and sense of levity are two leadership traits that I strive to emulate. You helped counterbalance my own leadership style, which skews towards planning out many details and being very down-to-business. And of course, I knew that everything would go great after I left things in your capable hands. Near the end of the event, I gave you some honest feedback about some comments you had made throughout the weekend. I initially felt I was taking a bit of a risk by sharing these thoughts, but the way you responded made me realize that I needn’t have worried. In addition to a great conversation at GP DC itself, you also reached out to me on Facebook to continue the conversation after the event. I really appreciated how you responded to my concerns. Our conversation was one of the most helpful I had that weekend, and has continued to have a major impact on how I think about myself. Thank you!

Matt Braddock

Matt, you are the model of an area captain. From making a point to visiting all the stores in your area, to producing a beautiful graphical map of your area’s PPTQs, to sharing your experiences on Reddit and other social media, you truly go above and beyond what your role asks of you.

Riki Hayashi

Riki, I’m inspired by your recent revitalization of the Feedback Loop. Yours is the first judge blog to really make a point of involving other judges, and I think that’s simply brilliant. I also really appreciated your thoughts about the level re-definition and other issues. Your posts are a combination of honesty, timeliness, and genuine insights that I strive to emulate. Finally, thank you for reaching out about an L3 recommendation that I was struggling to write. Our discussions — and subtly reminding me that you, too, cared about this recommendation being finished — were invaluable for motivating me to finish it.

Megan Linscott

You are one of the judges who taught me the most over the past few months. Recently, when discussing the sexism female judges face, you told me, “It’s really exhausting to have to prove to people over and over that we’re ‘real’ judges.” No one had ever put the issue that straightforwardly to me before. In spite of all this, you’re one of the most energetic and positive people I know in the judge program. Thank you for not giving up on us.

Charles Featherer

Charles, congratulations for finishing the Judge Booklet and getting it out the door. When trying to make a difference, many of us are drawn by the allure of creating a new project. It’s easy to forget that building upon the work of others is often the better course of action. You, however, did not forget this — and that just makes your revitalization of the Judge Booklet all the more special. Thank you (and your team) for sharing this gift with us.

David de la Iglesia

DLI! In spite of being so instrumental in managing the judge program’s social media presence, you draw very little attention to yourself. I’ve always been impressed by how well you manage so many different projects. Whether I’m asking you to promote a Bearz Repeating post, or requesting a blog image, or chatting about how to publicize something, interacting with you always leaves me smiling. Thank you for your continued dedication!

Deciding on this set of nominations was simultaneously easy and challenging. It’s easy because the judge program is full of wonderful people who do extraordinary things. It’s challenging because having a limited number of slots forces me to choose a handful of exemplary actions to actually nominate. If I had more slots, I certainly would use them.

An interesting trend from this wave is how many of my nominations related to community involvement and judge projects. In fact, only two of my nominations even mention a specific event at all (Joe Hughto’s and CJ Crooks’). In contrast, for Wave 4, five of my nominations were event-related.

What caused the big shift? I don’t think there’s any one factor. The biggest influence, though, is that I’ve grown more aware that Exemplar nominations are a key way of sending social signals. More specifically, Exemplar allows each nominator to express what they most value about the judge program. While events are fantastic, what I value most about the program is our community. It’s what separates us from other organizations I’ve been involved with, and keeps me so engaged and motivated with the program more broadly. As such, I try to highlight some of the people who are working to build, improve, and maintain that community.

Since I’ve already started bucketing my nominations, I might as well discuss the broad categories my other nominations fell into. I would classify them as follows:

  • three nominations for JudgeApps
  • three for other specific projects (Riki’s for the Feedback Loop, DLI’s for various social media projects, and Charles’ for the Judge Booklet)
  • two for the Northeast Judge Conference (which is arguably an event, but of a very different sort than a Grand Prix, and closer to community work)
  • two for general community contributions

Overall, I’m happy with this diversity of nominations.

I’m less sure of how to feel about the fact that all but three of my nominations were for judges from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. I’m also concerned that I didn’t use any of my “Any Level” slots to recognize L1 judges. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with these trends, it’s nonetheless a cause for reflection. Am I focusing too much on the actions that happen to be closest to me and easiest to notice, rather than those who are the most exemplary? There are no easy answers to this question, but I’ll be keeping it in the forefront of my mind for Wave 6 and beyond.

The last thought I’ll offer is that the most challenging nomination to write was Megan Linscott’s. Nominating Megan was very important to me, and I wanted to make sure I got the words right. Thank you again, Megan. I hope this nomination inspires others to reflect on sexism in their own communities, and what they can do to act against it.