Alex Esenler is a self-described data and database nerd from the digital/human rights and communications space. Alex worked previously at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and was coordinator of Global Voices’ Civic Media Observatory from 2020 to early 2022. She is currently the Deputy Director at OpenArchive. Originally from Montreal, Canada, and Vermont, USA, Alex is now based in Western New York state (by way of Philadelphia and Chicago).
All candidates in the 2023 board elections have been asked to answer the set of questions listed below. Feel free to ask Alex additional questions in the comments area below this post!
What appeals to you most about the prospect of serving on the GV board?
The ability to represent the GV community, particularly the volunteers who make GV such a unique organization. Connecting with GV community members on a deeper level and continuing to promote GV’s amazing work also thoroughly appeals to me!
What talents, skills, connections, and expertise can you offer Global Voices in your role as board representative?
A GVer since 2020, I’ve had the chance to work with the newsroom, Advox, Rising Voices, and the Civic Media Observatory project. Through this and my past/current work in the human/digital rights space, I can offer GV my project management, operations, and grant-seeking expertise as well as connect GV to activists, human rights defenders, and other like-minded orgs globally.
As you look ahead to the next three years, what, in your opinion, should be GV’s overarching priorities as an organization?
Looking ahead, I believe GV’s priorities should be: 1) foster as supportive and empathetic an environment for volunteers and contractors as possible; 2) continue to seek projects that offer paid opportunities for the GV community; and 3) refine strategies for finding new and maintaining current audiences for our unique work (through socials, sharing on other listservs, attending conferences/events).
What aspect of GV’s work interests you the most?
I will always have a special place in my heart for Global Voices’ Civic Media Observatory (CMO), especially since its methods and outputs have touched all aspects of GV (the newsroom, Rising Voices, Advox, and Lingua).
What would you like to get out of this board service experience, both professionally and personally?
I’d like to have the opportunity to engage with the GV volunteer community in a deeper way, continue to connect with the diverse group of people within the GV network, and find ways to use my skills to make GV as strong and healthy a community/org as possible.
How will you fit board service into your personal and other professional work commitments?
I’ve been very conscious about only committing to activities I can and prepared to dedicate proper attention. With this said, I am always happy to make time for Global Voices. Practically, I am someone who is super organized (talk to me about my Airtables). As my current full-time work at OpenArchive overlaps with the spaces GV is active in, I’ll be able to promote and represent GV at events/conferences and keep an eye out for other opportunities.
What methods would you use to engage and listen to the community in order to represent them effectively at board level?
I’m someone who, for better or worse, is typically always online. I find the GV Slack and listserv very useful, however, I’m also active on Signal and WhatsApp for people who prefer reaching out on those platforms. I believe it is also important to be proactive in engaging with the community around key meeting times (e.g. board meetings, and council meetings). Using forms or polls where the community can anonymously give feedback/thoughts on issues or concerns could be especially useful at these times.