Welcome back to Judge of the Week! This week, I’m continuing my appreciation for our amazing team by showcasing the Judge of the Week Leadership Team in Part II of our Holiday Special!
We are quite fortunate as a project to have so many wonderful people invested in our success. Many of these fine folks I have the opportunity to interact with on a daily basis, and believe me when I say we all owe much of our success to them.
Allow me to introduce you to the leaders behind Judge of the Week!
Carlos Ho (Advisor)
As someone who was involved with the project long before my time, I cannot speak with any degree of authority to everything Carlos Ho has done for Judge of the Week. I can, however, highlight the most-recent benefit he has provided in his advisory role. There was a rather brief period of time where we were without a Sphere Leader to oversee our project. Carlos proactively responded to this, reaching out to me for confirmation and, when I confirmed, finding us Jack Doyle. I appreciate that Carlos was in tune enough with the goings-on of Judge of the Week that he knew who to contact, what we might need, and how to make that happen for us. Thanks again Carlos!
Kimberly McDonald (Writer/Manager)
Kimberly McDonald is someone who came onto the project with a rare level of engagement. When she was put on the 2017 RC End of Year feature, she took it upon herself to adapt our method of tracking interview progress to it, indicating response status for each individual RC. This had never been done before, and gave us a considerable leg up in determining when each portion of the feature would be ready for publishing. It’s no wonder that, when the time came to figure out who should put together the RC End of Year feature this year, Kimberly’s name floated to the top of the list. Additionally, Kimberly has been averaging close to one published feature a month since she came on to the project. For those not in the know, that rate is outstanding.
Even before asking if she’d be willing to take on the Manager role, Kimberly has been effectively performing the principle functions of the role, making sure we have features ready, figuring out what it is going to take to make that happen, and building and maintaining the schedule plan for a month or more out. She has been consistently on top of this to the point where naming her as Manager was more a formality than anything else. On top of all of this, she still remains just as active on the interviewing end, holding the lion’s share of claimed nominees to interview.
I could go on about how awesome Kimberly is… so I will!
This talented human being also conceptualized and put together the Just ask special feature. This not only provided us quality content when we were still waiting on responses from all of our nominees, but also showcased a unique take on our interviews. She took a question in our stock set of questions to ask nominees and compiled a set of answers from judges interviewed across the history of Judge of the Week.
Nathaniel Graham (Writer/Proofreader)
It is hard to overstate just how crucial to this project Nathaniel Graham is. Since taking on his role, there have maybe been a handful of features out of over a hundred that Nathaniel has not had a hand in. Not just that, but Nathaniel also puts considerable care into his proofreading work, going above and beyond with things like making sure the card tags in our features reference specific editions when it is relevant to what the nominee is saying. It feels like he’s actively involved in every conversation we ever have in the Judge of the Week leadership group, contributing his own ideas and advancing the conversation in positive and productive directions. This level of engagement is priceless in any judge project.
All of that is, apparently, not enough for Nathaniel. He also took it upon himself to put together a special feature unlike any we’ve ever done, interviewing people live at an event and asking them about a core idea behind our project: What makes a “standout” judge? The end result, Stardust, is a wonderful compilation of responses to this question, and has received considerable praise.
Nathaniel took it upon himself to write a Judge of the Week style guide in order to unify how we present our features, providing consistency and guidance for interviews going forward. This was not something I tasked him with, but something he volunteered. There should be no doubt that I count myself fortunate that Nathaniel has chosen to lend his considerable talents to Judge of the Week.
Jack Doyle (Sphere Leader – Social Media and Web Platforms)
It is critical to our project that members of the judge program are aware of our features when they happen. Jack Doyle has done an amazing job of promoting our features week after week on the various forms of social media with which judges engage. Our features don’t have any impact if no one reads them, and they have to know about them to do that!
Additionally, Jack is my point of contact when our project needs something from program leadership. He gives me a necessary venue for recognizing outstanding project work from people on my team, which I am happy to take advantage of at every opportunity!
John Temple (Advisor)
John Temple was the Project Lead for JotW that brought me on board, and he’s laid of a lot of the groundwork to get the project to where it is today, particularly in terms of article quality. He also set up a considerable amount of our onboarding process, giving us the tools we would need to get people familiar with the inner workings of WordPress and how they related to our content production. It is thanks to John that we’ve been able to be as successful as we’ve been, as a solid foundation made it much easier to build what we have today.
When John was approaching the sunset of his more-active role with the project, he brought me in from outside the project and I am eternally grateful that he did. It’s like he gave me a home I didn’t know I needed until I started living there. During the transition period, John still provided valuable analytics data, showing us how our page views were doing and comparing them to historical data.
Raoul Mowatt (Writer/Finisher)
In a crew of stand-out judges, it takes a singular talent to stand noticeably taller. Raoul Mowatt is a Judge of the Week institution. He has 59 total features credited to his name in his four year tenure on the project, coming in at an average even greater than one per month. That level of productivity alone is impressive, but you can also see from his very first feature, Minh-Duc Vu, that Raoul brings quality to the table as well. It should come as no great surprise that we’ve given Raoul the reins on our perennial Exemplar features, as these are among the most challenging given the sheer quantity of individuals one has to work with. When Raoul volunteered to handle my own interview I rejoiced, as I knew I was getting interviewed by the best.
He also provides valuable input in our leadership group, keeping on top of what the project needs and offering suggestions for our special features. He proposed and conducted the interview of Judgelife. He literally wrote the book on Judge of the Week, insofar as he wrote a handbook that we now point all new members to during our onboarding process to get them up to speed on our processes.
I know I can rely on Raoul to speak his mind when he disagrees with something or has concerns, and that level of candor is necessary for the health of any project. It also shows me just how much he cares. Judge of the Week continues to be important to him, and that’s something we share. I cannot imagine the project without him!
Check back in next week for more great Judge of the Week content! And as always, if you know of a judge doing something excellent, please nominate that judge today!