Evening with the Editor - The Amyrlin Seat

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Author: Aleita Taviah Published: March 7 2021 Tar Valon Times Blog Link

Welcome to the first part in a new series called Evening with the Editor. My first willing “victim” was Serinia Edoras, our current Amyrlin Seat and CEO of TarValon.Net. Since taking up the post in March 2020, Serinia would be the first to tell you that she has learnt a great deal. Being the Amyrlin Seat is a very rewarding position, but it is no walk in the park!

Serinia Edoras, the Amyrlin Seat

Serinia Edoras is only the fourth member to serve as Amyrlin Seat in TarValon.Net’s almost 20 year history. So what would make someone actually want to put themselves forward for the position of Amyrlin Seat? Well, Serinia’s first thought was, “No”! Knowing how much work went into being the Amyrlin Seat, she knew she didn’t have the time. Between her work life, J*Con, Pokémon Go and all her other hobbies, she barely had enough time to sit down at the end of the day. But as we all know that was not the end of the story. After giving a lot of thought to the work which was required of the Amyrlin Seat/CEO, Serinia realised that she was qualified for the position and wouldn’t forgive herself for not applying. And so she did. Applying for and accepting the position of Amyrlin Seat/CEO required Serinia to cut other “fun” aspects from her plate so that she could give the position and the members of TarValon.Net the time and attention that they deserved.

Being the Amyrlin Seat is “a lot of stress” and it has “been hard” but Serinia is looking forward to the fun parts of the role. Along with Tower business, the role of the Amyrlin Seat also includes all CEO duties for a 501(c)(7) Corporation. Involvement in our Official Events (which have sadly been postponed for 2021) and promoting the community are the fun parts which Serinia is most looking forward to. Along with her day-to-day responsibilities, Serinia hopes to impact the foundation of our community and set us up for the future. With the state of the world with Covid-19, this past year has certainly been like no other in the Towers’ history.

As with any position there are always challenges so I wanted to ask what the biggest challenge was that Serinia had faced thus far. Serinia had a vision and a strong desire to make things the best that they could be. She wanted to try and take a global- and diversity-focused direction with the community. It was important and challenging for Serinia to recognise the differences between how she conducted herself in her professional life and her TarValon.Net role. Decisions and “fixes” which she brought forth needed to be presented in an entirely different way because of the investment that all of our members have in our community. This is part of where her biggest struggle has been- sometimes the need for privacy prevents her from being able to give full context for decisions. Serinia has made a conscious effort to face this struggle head on and hopes to be able to continue balancing the confidences of her role and her service to the community moving forward. It’s not all doom and gloom in the office of the Amyrlin Seat, and Serinia’s hands down favourite part of the role is the team that she gets to work with. “Getting the opportunity to know and work with members from all across the board is the best part”!

Hindsight is 20/20 so what would Serinia tell her pre-appointment self given what she knows now? Firstly on a personal note, to be prepared for the negative feelings and personal reactions which she would receive. Secondly, the difference between leading in a professional environment vs a personal environment (which our community certainly is).

Very few members will ever intimately know the responsibilities and day-to-day of being Amyrlin Seat of our community. Serinia would love for the community to know that she always approaches decisions and interactions with positive intent. That does not mean that she is infallible, none of us are. But it does mean that no decision, no matter how contrary, is ever made with malicious intent. It is also important to remember that she “cannot always affect immediate change”. Every idea which is brought to her is treated seriously and she feels it’s important to take the time to process it fully before providing a response.

As someone who knows only what can be found in the library about being the Amyrlin Seat I was curious as to what took up most of her “work day” as Amyrlin Seat. Serinia’s sad response was that it was mostly dealing with “community conflicts”, which is “not how [she] would like it to be”. However, she does think that although community conflicts have taken priority in the past year it really does feel like “we’re turning a corner and focusing on building for the future”. The parts of the role which she enjoys much more and would like to put more time into are team building and collaboration within the Administration with an emphasis on nurturing cross-Departmental relationships. One of the first changes which Serinia made when coming on board as Amyrlin was to increase the channels for communication between the Departments so that they could support each other in a more cohesive way.

Given all the time she dedicates to working behind the scenes you may not see a lot of our Amyrlin Seat. You may catch a glimpse of her in the Pokémon Go thread (no surprise there) or the Brandon Sanderson Book Forum. She can also be found in the Servant of All forum where she is currently leading our Junior Members in their philanthropic work for “The needs of displaced people” as part of The Great Charity Hunt.

One of Serinia’s hopes for the future is potential sponsorship to help grow the community as well as providing additional budget towards our future growth and outreach. This is part of her vision for where she would like to see TarValon.Net in 5 years. With a place as the Premier Community in the Wheel of Time Community with an increase in membership, events and philanthropic work.

Serinia Edoras, the Member

When Serinia is not working busily behind the scenes for TarValon.Net she enjoys playing Pokémon Go, cheering for her favourite sports teams (especially Ohio State and the Cincinnati Reds), and leading the Women in STEM Organisation at her company.. Even a very short conversation with Serinia will show you her passion for the involvement of women in STEM. Her accomplishment which she is most proud of was the one that has taken the most effort and that was her Engineering Degree. Serinia now works as an Industrial & Systems Engineer. Just check out her thread in The Apartments if you’d like to know more!

One of Serinia’s greatest admirations is her Grandmother (her father’s mother). Serinia describes her as optimistic, with never a bad word to say about anyone. She was fearlessly herself everyday. Which is definitely something to aspire to. We all wish that we had more hours in the day. And Serinia is no exception, when asked what skill she would like to learn overnight her answer was simple, to learn to play the piano. While she doesn’t think that she’s ever going to get to the level she would like, this reporter hopes that one day she’ll have the time to realise that dream.

All of our Senior Members chose their homes here at TarValon.Net for different reasons, Serinia was raised from the Blue Ajah, but would she have been in the Blue Ajah in The Wheel of Time series? Her answer, a resounding yes! Serinia “chose” the Blue Ajah because she believes that you should choose your place based on who you are, not the community group. Although she has a great love and respect for her Ajah mates. Serinia is highly dedicated to her causes and will never hesitate to put the goal before herself.

Asking about dream jobs might be cliché but when asked about one thing that she would be happy to do everyday for the rest of her life, her answer was very quick. Event planning! It’s safe to say when our Official Events kick off again (safely), Serinia will be first in line! Since we were on a roll with the cliché questions, I asked Serinia “If you could choose one other TarValon.Net member to be stuck in the Aiel Waste with, who would it be? Not including a significant other, bondmate or her Keeper (Mieriana Souvra).” After being partnered with Valorian Edoras for 10 years she knew that he would be a great choice if she found herself stuck in the Aiel Waste.

It was much to this interviewer’s shock that one of the questions revealed that Serinia does not drink coffee. Serinia was asked, “what I should order for her if we meet up for coffee” and her answer was, “a hot chocolate”. Personal feelings about the joy of coffee aside, a good hot chocolate can really hit the spot (if no coffee is available). As we were clearly reaching the silly part of our interview I decided to ask Serinia- if she were doing her shopping and she saw something that made her laugh uncontrollably, what did she see? Her response was “something to do with a duck”. There should definitely have been follow up questions there.

The final humorous question posed was a scenario – if you were asked to unload an airplane filled with loose jelly beans, what would be your first step? In true engineering fashion her answer was to “ask a lot of questions”, such as “do the jelly beans need to be consumed afterwards? And where in the plane are they?”. This interviewer was not ready for these questions.

I sincerely hope that you enjoyed learning a bit more about Serinia and I thank her for taking the time to sit down with me to give us all a glimpse at the person behind the title. If you would like to see anymore Evenings with the Editor or have any further questions I invite you to send them through to editor@tarvalon.net.

Keep an eye out next month for the next part in this series where we learn a little bit more about Mieriana Souvra, our resident COO and Keeper of the Chronicles and find out what to order her if you’re meeting her for coffee.