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Caitlyn “Carmabella” Downen

Home Forums MNFurs Minnesota Furs 2022 Fall Elections Forum Meet the Candidates Caitlyn “Carmabella” Downen

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    Hello hello guys, gals, and nonbinary pals! I’m Carmabella. Most of you probably know me as Carma or Carm, and these are all fine. I use whatever pronouns, but mostly she/her and they/them. I am everyone’s nonbinary parental figure, my main goal is to keep everyone safe, happy, and feeling welcome in the community. I just moved to Minnesota at the beginning of the year, but I’ve been involved in the furry fandom for about 10 years now.

    Like many, art is what brought me here! I wanted to start digital illustration, and anthros are not only fun to draw, but the furries were a great, super sweet audience. From there, I fell for the people and communities that the fandom offered, and soon became a full blown fur myself. It’s been a wild ride, one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and want to continue for a long time.

    I’ve volunteered in small ways throughout the year I’ve been a part of MNFurs, and am so excited to potentially help out more as a board member. Apart from lint rolling chairs and putting away food, I’m hoping to help with the website, managing events, and community outreach first and foremost. I want to make everything integrate better and more efficiently in ways that can really bring people together, both online and off. More than that, I want to get to know more of you personally, and help in more small ways that matter to each of you as individuals. You’re all important members of this community and I want to be the person that everyone knows they can reach out to for help or with feedback.

    I love furry conventions, and Furry Migration is one of my favorites! I haven’t attended Midwinter Frolic yet, but I am quite excited to be there this year. It was so nice to be at a con where I knew so many people, and it really felt relaxed and tight-knit in a way I hadn’t quite experienced before then. I think like all great things run by small groups of people, there were of course hiccups and things to be improved upon. That’s one of the reasons I decided to step up to help out, because while I see flaws, I also see the potential for these events to grow. Not just in numbers, but in outreach and empathy. These are already a fantastic way to bring people together and make new connections, and I want them to be even more so in the future.

    I personally went to school for computer science, but then dropped out to do art. I know a lot of things from my technical background about website development, as well as what it means to be an artist in the furry community. I have been on every side of organizing events and projects from start to finish, and I can bring those unique perspectives with me to MNFurs. But what I think is more important, is kindness. I am an empathetic person who strives to do the best they can by everyone. I want to see everyone safe and flourishing in their environments, and I will always do what I can to make sure that’s the case. A lot of boards and authority types feel cold and impersonal, and I get that. I want to make sure this isn’t one of them.

    I don’t always do the talking thing so good, and have trouble getting what I actually mean across. I also want to develop my professional skills more, in both tech and organization. There are gaps in my knowledge, whether it’s about computers or people, that I want to try to fill in as much as possible. But, that’s another reason to push myself into positions like these, because practice and practical experience are how you improve.

    MNFurs is already doing a great job with the Geek Partnership Society and the charities we’ve hosted through FM. Another thing that may be helpful is reaching out to other geek communities in the MN area, and connecting with the boards of other conventions to see if they have any advice that may help.

    Two things I’d definitely like to see are the website redesign, and more training added to all volunteer roles, especially concerning inclusivity.

    I intend on promoting education by working with our communications team to make the website more accessible and integrated with the community itself. This will help not only parents of furries and the fur-curious, but also existing members will have more opportunity to learn about our organization, convention, and chosen charities.

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