Author Topic: Sam Castello running for EC  (Read 3119 times)

Sam Castello

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Sam Castello running for EC
« on: February 05, 2012, 12:24:47 PM »
PSi Experience
I have been a member of PSi and co-founder of Silver City Poetry Bread since 2007. I have been on the EC since late October of last year, when I was invited to fill a vacancy. Since then, I have participated in the creation of a Finance Committee and with the departure of our last Finance Manager, I have stepped in as Interim FM until PSi can hire a new FM.

I do write and perform. I enjoy slamming, but I try not to take it too seriously. It has been a struggle at times to organize and keep alive a Slam and reading series in a town our size, but every time I think this is the last show, someone goes and makes me cry with their words or a new poet takes the stage and the audience showers them with love, or we get an out of town feature roll through that brings the house down and I realize that it is all worth it.

We host about a dozen events each year; all of our features do a workshop for youth the day after or day before the slam.

Work Experience
At my day job, I am the Executive Director of The Wellness Coalition (www.wellnesscoalition.org), a non-profit that develops and supports the vitality of the people of southwest New Mexico and the community organizations that serve them.

The Wellness Coalition (TWC) operates in two main areas: Youth Development and Organizational Development. In the field of Youth Development we are the second largest AmeriCorps program in the State of New Mexico, placing corpsmembers in Forestry Crews, Health Care Centers, Domestic Violence Shelters, Schools and Early Childhood Centers. We catalyze community change by providing people and organizations the opportunities to be a part of the National Service movement. In the field of Organizational Development, we host trainings, provide technical assistance and facilitate peer networks for non-profits in our area and across New Mexico. We hold group trainings on Board Development, Financial Management, Fundraising, Strategic Planning and other topics. I conduct trainings on Positive Youth Development, Information Systems and other technology.

I have worked at TWC for 8 years, serving as the ED for the last 4. My previous employment includes 3 years in the cycling and outdoor recreation industry and 5 years in the natural foods industry at Wheatsville Co-op in Austin, TX.

Sam Castello Experience
I live in a town of about 10,000 people. The closet major town to the north is two hours away and has 500 people living there. An hour to the southwest is Lordsburg (population 2000), and to the southeast is Deming (population 12,000). You have to drive two hours to get to a bookstore and three hours to get to an airport. The upside is that my backyard is 3.5 million acres of wilderness and my small town has an incredible coffee shop, farmers market, co-op and zero traffic. I grew up in Houston, so I know all about the big city and I donít miss it except for the occasional 3am craving for Pho that must go unfulfilled. I appreciate knowing my neighbors, walking to work, and getting excited when the new phonebooks arrive.

I am a DJ and comic-book nerd. I like Linux, but I run windows. I grew up on Lord British and Steve Jackson Games. Kirk is my hero, but Picard is my role model. I am married and the proud father to two boys who just turned 7 and 5.

I welcome any questions you have for me. I hope to continue my current service on the EC. I plan to be in Denver for WOWps and would love to talk in person or here on the Forums.

Scott Woods

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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2012, 02:22:32 PM »
Sam has been a SERIOUS HELP to PSi in the months since he came on. A true professional and an experienced, keen eye on finding holes...and plugging them with real work. You want this guy.

Steve

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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2012, 04:22:40 PM »
If it means anything coming from me, Sam bailed PSi out of a serious bind in terms of accounting and taxes. He has my 100% support and faith.

edaniel

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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2012, 09:56:06 AM »
Even if I didn't already know and appreciate this man, this part would seal the deal for me:

Quote
I am a DJ and comic-book nerd. I like Linux, but I run windows. I grew up on Lord British and Steve Jackson Games. Kirk is my hero, but Picard is my role model. 

Ultima and GURPS nerds represent.

karen_g

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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2012, 11:04:28 AM »
Yay, Sam, this is good news! :)
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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2012, 01:07:22 PM »
I fully support Sam.  He's been incredible!
"Some people would rather lose their lives than lose freedom." ~Black Thought - The ROOTS

hsampson

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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2012, 01:35:04 PM »
Very glad to have you throw your hat in to re-up, Sam.
   Sam certainly has been great in getting a handle on the financial transition.

randomcelestial

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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2012, 11:35:01 AM »
Sam:

Can you please expand on what changes you envision the organization undergoing in the near future? Can you please list them in order of priority?

As a member of the current EC, with access to more information about PSI's inner-working than other candidates, I'm sure you have plenty of original ideas on how the governing body should proceed.

You mention that "you try not to take [slamming] too seriously." So why do you want to be part of the national leadership?

Sam Castello

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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2012, 11:05:58 PM »
Quote
Can you please expand on what changes you envision the organization undergoing in the near future? Can you please list them in order of priority?
As a member of the current EC, with access to more information about PSI's inner-working than other candidates, I'm sure you have plenty of original ideas on how the governing body should proceed.
Iím not sure that these fall in a strict rank order, but if I had to put together a list:
Priority One would be to continue the work weíve already begun in the development and operation of a Finance Committee. I would like to make sure that EC members are well trained in understanding the financial operations of PSI and that they are exercising their fiduciary duties as Trustees to provide sound financial oversight.
Priority Two is the development of some training for EC members so that we are all on the same page with respect to roles and responsibilities. There are many ways in which a Governing Board can operate and in light of the fact that we will almost certainly have a large number of new EC members, I would like to see the group take some time, in a very intentional way, to engage in some training around how to be an effective EC.
Priority Three is to develop ways to increase member participation in the operation and development of PSI. Volunteers already run a Newsletter and are an integral part of putting on Events. I would like to see us work more quickly to find ways to empower members to contribute even more.
Priority Four is the refinement of PSIís Policies & Procedures and Operations Manuals. We do have some of these things in place, but they need improvement and they are not comprehensive. The current EC has done a great deal of work in drafting these. I would like to see the next step taken in having the EC really review and contribute constructive revisions. This is a continual process.
Priority Five is to engage as an EC, with input from membership, in a Strategic Planning process. PSI is turning 15 years old this year. The organization has done incredible things and will certainly continue to achieve great things. I would like for there to be a collective vision of what that will look like. I would like to see our National Events ďgroundedĒ in one city (not all the same city, of course) as a part of a Strategic Plan to increase PSIís reach and draw more people into poetry. I would also like to see PSI revisit and develop events and activities dedicated to the craft of performance poetry. Both of these ideas have been kicked around in the past, I would like to see some new life and energy breathed into their consideration.

Quote
You mention that "you try not to take [slamming] too seriously." So why do you want to be part of the national leadership?
What I mean when I say that I slam, but I donít take it too seriously is that I prefer the craft over the competition. Some folks prefer the game.
I never hate a player, though.  :-*

cynthia

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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2012, 04:20:48 PM »
These are all awesome things.  I'm glad for the priorities list that you posted.  I look forward to meeting you at WOWPS, and I appreciate your willingness to step in when the organization needed your talents, and am glad you would like to continue that work!
Cynthia French
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randomcelestial

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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2012, 11:24:45 AM »
Sam,

In the past two years, PSI has thrown four poorly attended events (two iWPS and WoWPS). Your priorities don't really touch on what seems to be the largest shortcoming in PSI's current strategy: filling the seats. Do you think that the EC's priorities should be internal restructuring? At the last iWPS, there were zero flyers up promoting the events. Surely promotion, the first verb in the PSI mission statement, has to appear somewhere in your list of plans?

Can you provide more concrete suggestions than: "make sure EC members are well-trained," make sure that "we are all on the same page," and "increase member participation?" I understand that you want to be part of the collective vision of PSI, but is that vision an extension of your own, are are you more happy to piggyback onto others?


 

Scott Woods

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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 12:17:47 PM »
I'm not sure where this impression is coming from or what it's based on, but the last two WOWps have been profitable, with a marked increase from 2010 to 2011. Audience numbers were also increased.

This information is just flat-out wrong.

karen_g

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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 12:31:26 PM »
I'm not sure where this impression is coming from or what it's based on, but the last two WOWps have been profitable, with a marked increase from 2010 to 2011. Audience numbers were also increased.

This information is just flat-out wrong.

NPS this year was also standing-room only & sold out. I think one need only look toward Simone's crew to get an idea of how to do PR properly & get people in seats.If I'm correct, I think that information is available/will be available as a template toward other host cities.
WOWPS,at least in my mind, has been nothing but successful--maybe some hitches in the first year that were ironed out by the second.
That IWPS fell apart in that area had to do with venues backing out & the campus chosen being on winter break.
I actually think having a rotation of cities in place, as  Sam and others are suggesting louder & louder, will solve some of those issues.
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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 12:33:25 PM »
Sam, I may plagiarize your form here. ;)

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Re: Sam Castello running for EC
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 12:47:42 PM »
I'm not sure where this impression is coming from or what it's based on, but the last two WOWps have been profitable, with a marked increase from 2010 to 2011. Audience numbers were also increased.

This information is just flat-out wrong.

This is coming from the person who said this past iWPS was "successful," though I'm pretty sure you weren't even there, and I notice you don't mention how successful it is in response. Unlike you, I've actually been to all of these events.

If your definition of success is "made any profit at all" or "increased our audience from dismal to bad," then good for you. But given the huge popularity of spoken word when promoted well, you are probably failing hard when you have to search for judges for a single bout, not to mention multiple ones.