Global Highlights from Wave 9 (Exemplar Highlights Project)

If this is your first time joining me here, welcome to the Exemplar Highlights Project! Otherwise, welcome back!

Before we get into this Exemplar Wave’s article, I wanted to remind everyone what you can expect from this project, and what my goals for this project are. For more information on how to help your region, or join this project, just keep reading. I’d say skip to the final section, but that would be sad and you’d miss all the fun.

I have three main goals for this series:

1. Highlight the exemplary behaviors that judges around the world are exhibiting
2. Encourage others to start their own Highlights Blog in their area/Region
3. Give readers examples of and clues to what are considered “good” recognitions

So what makes a recognition “good”?

If you haven’t read it, Bryan Prillaman put out a wonderful guideline on how to write recognitions. You can find it here. While it goes into deeper explanation of the qualities and has a ton of examples (Seriously, consider re-reading it before each wave, it’s a great resource to keep you on track), the jist of the advice is:

  • Be Specific
  • Make Sure it’s Praiseworthy
  • Be Relevant to the Judge Program
  • Represent the Judge Community in a Positive Light

Another thing to note is that Wave 10 closes August 2nd (JUST UNDER A WEEK!). If you haven’t done so already, submit your recognitions now. Well, go read Bryan’s article, then come back and finish this article, then go submit your recognitions! 

Now that we’ve covered/reviewed the basics, it’s time for some Global Exemplar Highlights! Last wave, I highlighted those who helped their local MTG Communities.  This wave, I focused on those whose actions affected judges in other Regions, proving that our community really is a global one! Additionally, I wanted to make sure I found recognitions that could be used to celebrate both the nominee for doing something exemplary, and the writer of that nomination for being able to articulate their good deed.

Brook Gardner-Durbin’s (L2, USA – Northwest) recognition of Kevin Desprez (L3, France) in Wave 9:

Brook Gardner-Durbin (L2, USA – Northwest)
Kevin Desprez (L3, France)

“Kevin, I wanted to thank you for following up on our GP Vancouver conversation at GP New Jersey. For all our talk in the judge program of the importance of feedback, this was the first time I experienced someone following up on their previous feedback to update and revise it. Most people will give feedback and have a conversation, and then move on and put it out of their minds. Coming to someone at the next event to have another talk about the feedback is exceptional.”

What makes this recognition awesome:

  • Be Specific: This nomination didn’t need to include the details of Kevin’s feedback in order to be specific. Brook made it clear what action the recognition was for, and why he felt it was worth mentioning.
  • Make Sure it’s Praiseworthy: For judges who travel to many events, it can be hard to keep the people, tournaments, feedback, and even cities straight. Being able to circle back, and being willing to correct your past feedback as judges improve, can help continue to push people in the right direction as they grow.

Bartłomiej Wieszok’s (L2, Europe – Central) recognition of Antonio Zanutto (L2, Brazil) in Wave 9:

Bartłomiej Wieszok (L2, Europe – Central)
Antonio Zanutto (L2, Brazil)

“Couple months ago you wrote great piece about counting cards. Finding out if one of the players draw additional card isn’t easy task, especially if more than few turns passed. Your article was illustrated with few commonly found situations on larger event. But most important, those examples were nicely dissected making this hard task look trivial. I rarely find so easy to read articles about topics that are hard to properly explain and I hope to see more of them :)”

What makes this recognition awesome:

  • Be Relevant to the Judge Program: Antonio’s article not only helped his own community, but made an impact on judges from all over the globe. These skills, while great at a GP, can also be implemented at the store level, which gave his piece an even larger audience.
  • Make Sure it’s Praiseworthy: It would have been easy to leave the research and work Antonio did as a conference presentation or spread to those in his local community, but identifying that others also struggle with counting card scenarios, and being willing to post your writing for the entire community to see (and learn from) is definitely praiseworthy.

Filipe Fernandes’s (L2, Iberia) recognition of Sophie Pages (L3, France) in Wave 9:

Filipe Fernandes (L2, Iberia)
Sophie Pages (L3, France)

“Sophie, I would like to recognize you for your work during GP Utrecht and GP Barcelona. Your preparation work for the EOR system showed fruits and turned out to be an outstanding method that made all of our lives easier when covering outstanding tables! Also, working with you at On Demand Events was a great experience, even during stressful times (when a million tasks had to be performed and stopped at the same time), you showed calm and kept things moving! Thank you for your exemplar work!”

What makes this recognition awesome:

  • Be Specific: Filipe does a great job of clearly recognizing Sophie for her End of Round (EoR) efforts, without getting into the weeds of the programming behind it. Too few details, and we don’t know what the recognition is even for. Too many, and it goes over the heads of any non-programmers reading it.
  • Be Relevant to the Judge Program:I’ve personally had the chance to work with Sophie’s system at different points during the development cycle, it just keeps getting better and better. It’s made a huge impact on how judges view EoR logistics, and I’d love to see her electronic tracking system get implemented at more events in regions with ubiquitous wi-fi or primarily local judges.

Brendan Whatley’s (L2, USA – Southeast) recognition of Christopher Strachan (L1, USA – Midatlantic) in Wave 9:

Brendan Whatley (L2, USA – Southeast)
Christopher Strachan (L1, USA – Midatlantic)

“Chris– At GP Pittsburgh on ODEs we were trying a new system over the weekend. With everything new, comes bugs and hiccups. As an L1 I was super impressed with how you handled using the new system. On top of excellent Customer service skills, you handled the biggest tasks of the evening wonderfully. About midpoint through the day, the new system crashed 100%. This happened while we were mid moving a draft to a table. Acting quick on your feet, you were able to find a solution and provide the customer service the players needed. You seated them, took all their names, fired the event, correctly paired them by hand for the first round, and communicated the anomaly appropriately to those who needed to know. This level of in-depth understanding of what goes on in ODEs as an L1 was not only highly impressive, but encouraged myself to become better at ODEs. Thank you for what you do, and good luck at your future events!”

What makes this recognition awesome:

  • Be Specific: Brendan touches on Christopher’s customer service, quick thinking, and communication skills. He goes into detail about the specific action that caused him to write the nomination, and explains why he felt it was exemplary behavior, and how it impacted him personally
  • Represent the Judge Community in a Positive Light: While it can be helpful to add context, I’ve seen plenty of nominations get sidetracked complaining about a specific TO, judge, player, or event. Exemplar isn’t the right place for those grievances, and those nominations tend to spend too much time focusing on what went wrong, and not enough time focusing on what went right. Rather than focusing on what when wrong with the software, Brendan explained what Chris did given the situation, and made the nomination focus on what’s important (Psst! It’s Chris. He’s what’s important).

Charlotte Sable’s (L3, Europe – North) recognition of Jurgen Baert (L3, BeNeLux) in Wave 9:

Charlotte Sable (L3, Europe – North)
Jurgen Baert (L3, BeNeLux)

“At GP Utrecht, I had a less than stellar day as AM side events lead on Friday. Jurgen rightly took me to task about my performance, but did so in a way that helped me improve in the role on Saturday and Sunday. Jurgen took the time to sit down with me after my shift on Friday to debrief and offer advice for the rest of the weekend. He followed up with me at several points on Saturday and Sunday to see how I was doing even though his assignment on those days was as an appeals judge on the main event. Thank you, Jurgen, for giving me the tools to improve and for being a good model of leadership and mentoring between L3s. ”

What makes this recognition awesome:

  • Represent the Judge Community in a Positive Light: This nomination is honest and beautiful. Not only does it show to the community that off days happen, (even to Level 3s), but it touches on the lateral mentoring that can happen between judges.
  • Make Sure it’s Praiseworthy: It’s easy to tell someone what they may have done wrong, but giving timely and actionable feedback, in a way that allows them to incorporate that feedback the very next day, means the event can be better for everyone. Not only does that take observational and diplomatic skills, but following up later in the weekend shows a strong desire to help others improve.

Fabio Pierucci’s (L2, Italy and Malta) recognition of Katsuhisa Kanazawa (L2, Japan) in Wave 9:

Fabio Pierucci (L2, Italy and Malta)
Katsuhisa Kanazawa (L2, Japan)

“Kanazawa-san, thanks for the help you gave at GP Shizuoka, your contribution has been an asset to run a smooth tournament. Your commitment in supporting and simplifying communications between non Japanese and locals, deconstructed language barriers and made feel everybody at ease. This kind of attitude is a key element to ensure the growth of a healthy multicultural environment, and your example improved the life of a lot of people. 有難うございます。”

What makes this recognition awesome:

  • Be Relevant: If you’ve ever worked a Grand Prix in a foreign country, you know how strong language barriers can be. As the judge program continuous to grow, thanks to judges like Kanazawa-san, it is slowly becoming more and more of a global program, as opposed to several smaller programs.
  • Represent the Judge Community in a Positive Light: Fabio mentions expanding horizons, being caring and welcoming toward others, deconstructing language barriers, and supporting communication. This nomination touches on so many things that make me proud to be a part of the Judge Community.

Paul Johnson’s (L2, Australia and New Zealand) recognition of Jeff S Higgins (L2, USA – Northwest) in Wave 9:

Paul Johnson’s (L2, Australia and New Zealand)
Jeff S Higgins (L2, USA – Northwest)

“Shiggins, my friend. You have welcomed me into the US Judging community wholeheartedly. You have bantered with me and then, at GP Milwaukee when you were concerned that another Judge might be making me feel uncomfortable with his comments (due to me being foreign) you went out of your way to touch base and ensure he wasn’t crossing any lines. I can’t wait to work more events alongside you.”

What makes this recognition awesome:

  • Represent the Judge Community in a Positive Light: This is another nomination after my heart. When a judge takes the plunge and decides to leave their comfort zone (whether it’s just another city, a different state, a foreign country, or a whole other continent) our goal as a community should be to welcome them with open arms. Not only did Jeff do that, but he also took ownership of ensuring that Paul wasn’t targeted or singled out in a way that would make him feel uncomfortable.
  • Be Specific: Paul starts off by mentioning how welcoming Jeff has been, but then goes straight into details about an example. Even though it’s clear from the text that there were some comments made about Paul being from another country, he chose not to get caught up in the specifics of what was said, and instead focuses on what exactly Jeff did, and how that made him feel. That is a hard thing to do when you are directly involved, but Paul balances the different levels of specificity well.

Want to help?

Nicolette Apraez (L2, Georgia)
Nicolette Apraez (L3, Georgia)
  • Submit awesome Exemplar Recognitions! (Don’t forget the wave closes August 2nd!)
  • Ask your local blog/poster if they need any additional help! (Daily posts can be very hard to keep up on and having another person to split responsibility means they won’t have to worry about finding a way to post while they are flying to a foreign Grand Prix or chaperoning their son’s school dance.  
  • Don’t have a local project? START ONE! Many regions use FB, Slack, or have a community blog. Not sure where to start? Feel free to contact me for help. Below you can find a list of the current regional highlights projects we are aware of. Did we miss your blog? Let me and let me know so we can add you to our record for future posts! 
  • Spoiler Alert! I do not speak every language on Earth. Since my goal is to highlight judges from around the world, I could certainly use some help! This might mean picking out or helping to translate recognitions that are not in English, contacting a nominating judge for additional information about a particularly interesting or positive nomination, or simply letting me bounce ideas off you from time to time!

List of Exemplar Highlights Projects:

Area Lead Link to Blog
Australia Gareth Pye  Video Blog/Podcast Chatter of Judges
BeNeLux Jonas Drieghe and Jona Bemindt
Brazil Eder Carvalho and Nicolau Maldonado
Europe – East Vladimir Trajcevski
Europe – North Lars Harald Nordli
France Emmanuel Gutierrez Available on the French Forums
German Speaking Countries Rene Oberweger
USA – Central Nick Gajary Recognitions on Facebook / Slack
USA – Mid Atlantic Erik Aliff Available on Slack
USA – Southwest Daniel Lee