We talk a lot at HASTAC about teamwork and collaboration. It meanseverything. And one of our team, beloved EE, is leaving for anexciting life ahead in other places. We will miss her and we wish herwell!
You know her as "EE" or as the "Contact Box." She joined us in Spring of 2007, walked in as a "Temp" worker, and, at her first interview, barely before we'd closed the door behind her, sage Jonathan and I were nodding and smiling at one another: she's the one! She worked with us first on organizing "Electronic Techtonics: Thinking at the Interface." She hadn't worked in an academic environment before but we knew from her c.v. and from our first conversation that she was way smart and was exactly the person we needed to pull off HASTAC's first annual convention, an extravaganza of formal scholarly panels, art, keynote speeches, and technology everywhere. She did such a great job in that role that we then offered her the position of Program Coordinator for the Digital Media and Learning Competition. Our team is scattered across two coasts and four sites. EE is the only full-time dedicated DML Competition team member. All the rest of us have either full- or part-time assignments on other projects and work on the DML either as a "hobby" (i.e. unremunerated) or as one of many other projects. EE was, as the incomparable media-visionary Mark said the other day, our "glue," keeping it all together, all the details, all the progress, the agendas, the paperwork, everything.
Until you've run an international competition you have no idea how complex it is. None of us knew. And none of us knew what a phenomenal success the DML Competition would be. At HASTAC 09, I ran into someone who had been involved in a different competition who said that her organization was betting we would receive sixty applications. The goal we set ourselves was one hundred and we budgeted (in labor and in honoraria for referees and everything else) for three hundred. Just in case. As you know if you've been reading this blog, we received 1010 applications. 3000 + others were begun but not completed in our very narrow time frame. Crazy successful. And, at times, as when multimedia online applications were coming in at the rate of one per minute, just crazy. The server held. The DML Competition team held. AMAZING.
There was an actual human holding it all together as the questions started coming in from all over the globe, as the applications started coming in, as everything started happening all at once. That was EE. She stayed calm. She called for back-up when she needed it. And everyone on our terrific team joined in. As the avalanche of applications began, I don't think she ever stopped smiling. She was a wise, steady, smart, directed, efficient, canny, careful, considerate, and fun partner as HASTAC celebrated an extraordinary success. We had gotten out the word. We had reached an audience no one had ever tapped in quite that way before. All the fancy hardware our university invested in to help us--"just in case"--held up, despite it all . . . no crashes. And our human team didn't crash either. EE was a major reason.
We are truly lucky. We have a fantastic, dedicated team. We laugh a lot. And we all work really hard. EE and SB (another amazing leader of our team who also likes to stay in the background) would work together, coast-to-coast, burning up the Internet with their emails. Brilliant teamwork.
Of course, EE has left an incredible trove of everything, neatly labeled and even color coded, for her successor and is determined that her departure won't disrupt our team or the mounting of the HASTAC/MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Competitions #2 and #3. And we all feel certain that she is right about that, too. She's a great communicator, so we know there won't be surprises. We know her successor will ease right into the role, with EE there as an invisible, helping presence, having prepared the way for success beyond herself. That's the kind of person she is: she leaves things better than she found them, and she leaves knowing that what she's left behind is in good hands. That's her capacious generosity.
EE has many happy moments ahead. We are thrilled for her. We wish her and C. all the best, everything happy and rich and fulfilling and joyous. We hope Hawaii is splendid and shining and Boston (or wherever) opens its arms. Today is her last day as part of the DML Competition and HASTAC team. I know I speak for all of us on our team when I say that it has been a pleasure to know her, and an equal pleasure to think of her bright future. It's been an incredible year. THANK YOU, EE! From all of us.
[Beautiful photo, "The Girl With The Red Hair," thanks to J Michael Sullivan's photostream on Flickr. Please click on the photo for full documentation and other photographs by Sullivan.]