From the PC Desk, Jun 2017

Hello judges and welcome to the June edition of “From the PC Desk!”
This month we want to focus on the Program Coordinator role: What we are, what we do, what you can expect from us, how PCs are selected, and who the current PCs are.

What are the Program Coordinators and what do we do?
One of the most resonant pieces of feedback which the Program Coordinators have received is that the broader community of judges doesn’t really know what we do or what our purpose is.

Some feel we are supposed to be “The Leaders”, making all the big, important decisions, perceived in a way similar to how the former Level 5 judges were seen. Some feel we should only handle internal project issues and be very limited in our scope. Both of these perspectives are at the same time correct and wrong, but in different ways.

With that in mind, let us address that here. This is what Program Coordinators do:

Making strategic decisions on behalf of the Judge Program.
We have defined the following guiding statements to help understanding where the Judge Program aims to go. Program Coordinators will periodically review and update them if necessary. Some regions may have slightly different priorities or additional goals based on their specific circumstances.

Inclusive community: The Judge Program is dedicated to creating an environment where everybody is respected, diversity is valued, and discrimination is not tolerated.

Quality: The Magic community must see Judges as experts. The Judge Program enables and facilitates judges as they improve and become experts.

Sustainability: The Judge Program has an interest in serving our community of players long into the future. This is includes a need to maintain the number of judges, where they exist in the world, and the appropriate levels of certification. The program also needs to sustain the interest of qualified individuals to fulfill necessary leadership roles.

Project-based community: The Judge Program encourages its members to participate in and lead projects to help developing the community. The judge community is global and complex. The projects provide the infrastructure needed to fulfill the other principles.

Based on those, we got the following mission and vision statements:

Mission: The Judge Program is an inclusive community of recognized tournament experts who lead welcoming, fun, and fair events for Magic players.

Vision: The Judge Program will work towards a long-lasting community that provides its members with the tools they need to improve their judge skills as well as the skills required to contribute to judge projects. The judge community will promote and educate its judges in diplomacy, inclusivity, and conflict resolution.

Identify and assess challenges ahead which may affect the judge community.
To do this we rely on help and support from judges throughout the program, especially leaders like Sphere Leaders, Regional Coordinators, GPHJs, and the Level 3s. Any judge can contact us by email ( if they have a challenge or opportunity which they’d like us to address.

Identify and empower leaders in the judge community to address those challenges.
The Program Coordinators don’t handle all of these challenges by ourselves. No human would be able to do all of that. Instead, we empower judges to lead in the areas and projects which match their interests. For example, we appoint the Sphere Leaders and some leaders of other projects.

Support the judges who support the inner workings of the Judge Program.
Once we empower someone to lead a project, we remain available to advise, support and help those leaders.

Acknowledge when we make mistakes and make the right changes to correct them. Keep track of the challenges we identify and our plans to address them.
If we are going to improve the Judge Program over time, we need to understand how we’ve succeeded and how we’ve failed, too.

Communicate regularly with the broader community of judges.
These articles are an example of this effort, but we can still do more in a variety of communication channels in order to reach the broader judge community.

Help the judge community understand when significant or unexpected changes occur.

Sometimes big changes affect the Judge Program. Sometimes the Program Coordinators will know about them in advance, but other times we won’t. No matter what, the Program Coordinators will help the community understand, adapt, and react to those changes.

Program Coordinator Selection Process.
The Program Coordinators next selection process, taking place during September, will be as follows. It may change in future selection waves, as we’re always trying to improve.

-Applications will not be anonymous.
-Applications to the role will consist of:

  • Each applicant’s answer to these questions: “Why should you be a Program Coordinator?”, “What would you expect to accomplish in this role?”, and “How do you expect to accomplish this?”
  • Three brief recommendations (no more than 100 words) from other Level 3s supporting this candidate’s application. No more than three recommendations will be considered. Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek recommendations from judges who represent diverse perspectives within the program, including diverse geo-regional communities.

The selection committee will include:
1) Non-expiring PCs (who may delegate their seat to a Sphere Leader).
2) JCC Lead (who may delegate their seat to a member of the committee).
3) RC Lead (who may delegate their seat to any RC).
4) GPHJ Lead (who may delegate their seat to any GPHJ).
5) Level 3 Advancement Lead (who may delegate their seat to any Level 3).
6) Exemplar Lead (who may delegate their seat to any Level 3 on the Exemplar project team).
7) One lead from the following spheres: Conferences, Coaching, or Learning.

If one of these committee members is applying to be a PC, their seat is not filled and cannot be delegated, as this would create a conflict of interest.

The process will proceed as follows:
1) The committee will evaluate the answers to the questions and the three recommendations the candidate provides.
2) Passing candidates will have an online interview with some of the panel members; the recording of this interview will be accessible to all panel members.
3) All panel members will vote who becomes the new Program Coordinator/s after reviewing the interviews.

In the next PC selection wave (Autumn 2017), there will be three open slots, two of them for an 18-month appointment and the third one for a 12-month appointment.

This third opening in the September cycle arises because during the PC conference Kevin Desprez has let us know he is stepping down from his role as a Program Coordinator. When Kevin communicated this, these were his words:


Dear Colleagues,

On Tuesday, May 16th, I have resigned from the Position of Program Coordinator.

This isn’t meant to mark any defiance to the Program or a result from the PC Conference, which I enjoyed participating in!

This is a decision I was considering for several weeks as I had noticed for quite a few months I was overbooked. While being overbooked can be challenging and motivating, there is a threshold where it simply become a negative.

In April, I tried and failed to take actual vacation, which made me ponder a lot about what was going on. This allowed me to notice I hadn’t managed to write much on What’s Up Docs, despite I believe a lot in Education and many of you tell me this project is incredibly useful.

Having a tendency to be work-a-holic, considering I have been burnt-out twice earlier in my life and not looking forward to a third time, I have made the decision to reduce my global activity. When it comes to Magic, when assessing which projects or positions I really wanted to remain involved in, I decided that judging, no matter in which role, was the top one, followed, from a Program perspective by the GP HJ Lead position and, contributing to What’s Up Docs.

I’m looking forward to meeting you somewhere around the globe!



The remaining Program Coordinators are:
Alfonso Bueno
Riki Hayashi
Sean Catanese