Member Spotlight: Idine Espanyas

MemberSpotlight_Idine

 

Welcome readers to our next Member Spotlight, all about Idine Espanyas, Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah. Idine was recently appointed as Head of the Yellow Ajah (HoA), so this reporter wanted to learn more about the new First Weaver.
 

Idine lives in Pennsylvania, USA, with her parents and sister. She used to work in sustainable agriculture, and now she is in the field of environmental protection. Idine enjoys a variety of hobbies, from hiking and biking, to gardening, cross stitch, embroidery, and quilting.
 

  

 

Idine is also very musically inclined, having played the violin for many years. Most recently she has begun to learn the mandolin.
 

 

Idine found The Wheel of Time while perusing in a local bookstore. The cover of Eye of the World intrigued her, so she took it home and the rest is history. She found TarValon.Net from an ad in From the Two Rivers, and joined our community in the fall of 2008.
 

What attracted Idine to the Yellow Ajah? “There was just something special about Yellow! The mission of the Ajah fit in with my goals and the way I want to live my life. The Aes Sedai and Warders were/are awesome, and I felt a strong desire to contribute and belong. It’s my home and I think I knew it as soon as I started guesting, and I still can’t see myself anywhere else.”
 

Since her raising in 2012, Idine has served her Ajah in many positions, including her most recent stint as both Heart and Tea Brewer. She felt like she had the experience to serve as HoA, and that led her to apply. What would she like to see happen during her time as HoA? “I would love to encourage more activity on the forums and in Discord during my tenure. I also hope to organize some future video chats for our Ajah members, and it would be great to hold open video chats so site members can get to know us better.”
 

Idine summed up her interview with these words of wisdom: “Don’t open the Purple Canister— at least, not without Yellow supervision.” Thank you for the warning, and we look forward to seeing how Yellow flourishes under your leadership!

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Member Spotlight: Ne’Mireth Delvar

MemberSpotlight_Nemireth

 

Greetings and salutations! This month, I am pleased to bring you our next Member Spotlight featuring our new Social Media Manager, Ne’Mireth ni Simoua t’Delvar. “Mira” is an Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah, married to Toral Delvar. They live in Michigan, and are the parents of two children, plus two cats – Gkhar and Londo. Mira says they are a fun family, which you can tell by the photos below! They like to play games, watch a lot of anime, and travel.
 

Mira 1 Mira 2

 

Mira 3

 

Mira grew up in the Ukraine, and her family was able to move to the United States in 1992. She is a business owner, having created her own line of spice blends and sauces called Cheeky Spices. Mira is also a bootcamp fitness instructor — “It lets me unleash the inner Russian on poor unsuspecting people.”
 

Mira 4

 

Mira found TarValon.Net when she was reading the series and came across something that didn’t make sense. “I swear I saw the site in the back of the book under references but I’m told that couldn’t have been true.” (TarValon.Net is referenced in the WoT Companion.) Mira stuck around as she started getting to know people, bonded her warder Jaim al’Bearach, and met/married Toral. There is also a large group of members who live in Michigan and are close to each other. Affectionately known as the Mitten Crew.
 

Mira 5

 

I asked Mira how she decided that the Green Ajah was for her, she said:
“I actually thought I was a yellow. Then blue. And then was told by Toral that I am a blatant green and to stop being dumb and go aspire (this was before guesting). I loved greens instantly, as soon as I aspired and saw them in their own forums. I had never felt more at home as I did in Green. Most of my friends from the site are also Greens. They are a fun and honest bunch. Love them.”

 

Mira holds a Masters of Business Administration, and is an experienced digital marketer. This background has helped her grow her business, and also has greatly benefited our site, now for the second time. Mira held the position of Social Marketing Manager at TarValon.Net from 2015-2017. Now updated to Social Media Manager, Mira has taken up the mantle again.

 

When asked why she wanted to serve in the position again, Mira said, “When my Warder Jaim passed away from a brief but vicious struggle with cancer, I was devastated. I still am. It’s been two years and I ugly cried … on his death day. But he did so much for this site, and I felt that to honor him I have to come back to serve.”

 

Mira has already hit the ground running in the past few weeks. She’s so full of energy, funny to chat with, and clearly wants the best for our community. I look forward to seeing where she leads her team during her tenure!

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TVTT Novice/Recruit Edition – From the Hallways

TVTT Novice Recruit

 

From the Hallways, a note from your Novices and Recruits

 

As a follow-up to last week’s spectacular TVT Takeover, I asked my fellow Recruits and Novices to share something about their experiences here in the Tower at TarValon.Net. Many Senior Members have fond memories of your time as Junior Members (JM’s) — from roommates who became friends, to working together on free weeks, to pulling off pranks. Not to mention attending and being raised at live events. There’s something special about being Novices and Recruits in our community, and among other things it’s the first step toward finding home.
 

So what do our current crop of JM’s think about being Novices/Recruits? I decided to focus on the two most important questions — what do they dislike, and what do they like best?
 

First, what do they dislike? While people understand the reasoning why, the most common answer is losing access to the City. Even though it’s temporary, it can be disjointing to lose track of conversations for several months. One JM said they disliked “the lack of unlimited power.” Clearly that JM hasn’t been involved in enough pranks
 

What do Recruits and Novices like best? Some said having mentors — for the friendship, support and guidance they provide during the process of working through the steps. Overwhelmingly the thing everyone likes best — getting to know people. Making connections and friendships, both with other JM’s and Senior Members. After all, our members are the heartbeat of our community, and there’s nothing better than finding your place in it.
 

In closing, I’ll add a couple of observations from my uncommon experience of having been a Novice twice. While many things about the Tower are still the same, there are some notable differences. For one, in this post-integration era all of the JM’s are together. Which has been great. I’ve really enjoyed getting the opportunity to hang out with everyone!
 

Another main difference that I’ve noticed since my first time around is where JM’s spend their time. When I was a JM the first time, circa 2012-2014, the Forums were the primary activity spot. Now in 2020-2021, the updates to Discord (including more chat spaces, voice channels, games, movie watching, etc.), have given the JM’s (and everyone else) the opportunity to interact with members from all over the community in “real time” — something many community members have expressed a need and appreciation for in our current global environment. Activity in Discord has been invaluable to me personally, and it’s definitely a place where there is growing involvement among my fellow JM’s. Feel free to start a chat with me sometime!

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Member Spotlight: Alenya Al’Roran

Member Spotlight Alenya

 

This month, the Tar Valon Times is excited to bring you a bonus Member Spotlight, featuring our new Director of Membership, Alenya Al’Roran! Alenya is an Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah, and most recently is coming off of a successful stint as Director of Marketing. She has also served as a City Council Greeter, Social Media Manager, and member of the Outreach Activities Team
 

In real life, Alenya is married to Ken (Novice Kenith Sna’aps). They live in Central Florida with their two children, and their cat Chewy. In addition to raising children and facilitating their online schooling, Alenya describes herself as a professional volunteer. She runs Merchandising and Branding for a Star Wars costuming group; and said that when she joined TarValon.Net, she lasted all of about six months before jumping in and beginning to volunteer!
 

In addition to her WoT and Star Wars communities, Alenya likes to read, crochet, and cross-stitch. She has two Mandalorian costumes, and her Star Wars group normally has a large annual event. 
 

Alenya 1  Alenya 2  Alenya 3

 

Her journey with Wheel of Time began when she was given a copy of Eye of the World while serving in the Marine Corps. (Author’s note – Alenya and Ken are both Veterans, thank you for your service!) She discovered TarValon.Net then, but had little access to the internet. A few years later while doing a reread, Alenya remembered the site and decided to join. She thought she would be able to sit back and just enjoy, but her drive to serve kicked in quickly and she started signing up for positions.
 

Alenya was naturally drawn to the Brown Ajah, and those ties were formed easily as she made her way through the Tower. She attended JordanCon while Guesting, attended the Brown Toast, and “…it was pretty much over from there. Everyone I met was so great and they were clearly my family, and I Aspired as soon as I was able.  Brown has always been my home because it just is.”
 

When the Director of Marketing position opened up in 2019, Alenya applied for it because she had prior experience. And she had a lot of ideas that would build on the foundation laid by the previous director, Jeffan Caliarthan. During her tenure, Alenya has made several changes, and worked to build a strong leadership team within the department. She spoke very highly of her leadership staff, and is excited to see where #teammarketing goes in the future.
 

The Marketing staff members also speak very highly of Alenya:
 

“Alenya is one of the hardest working, smartest, and kindest people I know (and I’m not just saying that cause I’m her first sister ). She has a ton of fantastic ideas for this community and I am so happy that she found her way here. I look forward to seeing her talents shine in the DoMem role as well as they did in Marketing!”
~ Stasia t’Andrei, Marketing Project Manager
 

“Alenya is one of the hardest workers I know. She gives everything that she does 110% and she leads by example. I have really enjoyed getting to know her through the Department of Marketing and I will sincerely miss having her as my boss. In two words, “She’s fantastic!”
~ Aleita Taviah, Tar Valon Times Editor
 

“What can I say about Alenya? Alenya is one of the most hard working people I know. If you looked up “get stuff done” in the dictionary, you would surely find a picture of her avatar. She is an amazing person, and I am proud to work for her as Mayor and also to call her my sister!”
~ Aintza Bisera, Mayor, GameMaster, and TVT Staff 
 

This leads up to the question, why make the move to Director of Membership? Alenya said that this is a dream job for her, and she already loves doing it. In her own words: “I actually have a lot of goals for the Department and there are a lot of things that will be coming out of my office down the road. We’re hoping for an influx of new members when the show comes out, so I’m planning to do everything I can, with help from all of the membership admins, to prepare the site for more members and create a welcoming environment for everyone. My personal goal is to be present and active. I can’t ask anyone to do something I don’t do myself.” 
 

We here at the Tar Valon Times wish Alenya all the best as she completes her move; our membership will be in great hands under her leadership!

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Member Spotlight: Venric Methalion

MemberSpotlightVenric

 

For our January Member Spotlight, we decided to continue on the MDD theme and interviewed their new-ish Company Commander, Venric Methalion. Venric was raised to Gaidin in August 2012, and took on the leadership role for Mahdi’in d’ma Dieb (MDD) in November 2020. 
 

Venric Methalion

 

In real life, Venric lives in the state of Kentucky, USA. He is married to Alexstrasz Ruskein, Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah; and they have two cats, Oz and The Precious.

 

Venric Cats

 

If you missed the TVT Takeover article, one of Venric’s many talents is glass blowing. He created the current Oath Rod that we use for live raisings.
 

I asked Venric if he had a favorite project that he’s created so far, and in his own words:

 

“I’d say the most rewarding experience I’ve had from making a piece was during college, on a suit of glass armor that I made with the help of a crew of about eight or nine people. That project was one of the most focused weeks of my life because I only had enough time to take one shot at it, and my graduation hinged on finishing it without breaking it halfway through. The thing I really enjoyed about glass blowing was the collaboration, since to make anything particularly elaborate you really need some extra hands to help.”

 

Venric Suit

 

Venric began reading The Wheel of Time at the suggestion of Alextrasz Sedai; and was introduced to TarValon.Net through JordanCon, which he has attended for the past several years. He tends to think of it as “MDDCon,” because it’s the live event that brings out the largest amount of their group members. 

 

Speaking of MDD, I asked Venric to talk about his membership group. He said that it’s hard to define MDD as a group in a traditional sense by our forum definitions. He added:

 

“To me the biggest unifying factors in our group are our sense of humor, that we don’t take the srs bsns of the internet too seriously, and that we’re constantly pushing to reexamine and adapt things when we feel it’s needed. We don’t try to change things for the sake of change, but if we do find a way to improve or expand something we push for it, and we’re willing to dig in and take a lot of flak if we think it will make things better in the long run.” 

 

One thing you might notice when reading threads or conversations with MDD, is that they own the art of “Gifersation” — communicating in GIF format. Admittedly not something I’m skilled at, I asked Venric to explain this conversational style:

 

“Proper use of gifs as conversation responses is a complicated endeavor, requiring a lot of thought and effort, and what people might perceive as a flippant response or lazy troll is actually a carefully calculated statement that conveys something difficult to otherwise express. If a picture is worth a thousand words, we can be terse but still expressive.” 

 

As mentioned above, Venric took on the role of CC in November. I asked him what interested him in the job. He said that it came up when he finished Guesting — “we felt like it would be pretty on-brand to let an aspirant take the helm and see what happened;” but it didn’t go through. When it came open last fall, he decided that it was the right time to put his energy into the position. The members of MDD have served our community in a lot of different ways, many behind the scenes. Venric is hoping to encourage the Company to be more active and visible during his term of office. 

 

Sounds like we’re in for some great Gifersations in the near future! 

 

Congratulations to Venric Methalion and Zashara Sho’am, Aes Sedai of the Brown Ajah, on their new bond! If you want to read an epic Gifersation, their application is a fantastic example!

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