Each quarter, we’re featuring one of our all-star staff members in a Staff Spotlight Series. Staff featured in this Series have been peer-nominated for their superb performance and values-driven work. This quarter, we’re spotlighting Mikko Tamura, Community Manager at the Asia-Pacific (AP) Hub.
What first attracted you to work at HOT?
Being able to work every day with something I am very passionate about - may be too cheesy, but it is exactly what it is.
What’s the best thing about your colleagues?
I think the best thing about my colleagues is that they have built a strong sense of trust, responsibility, dedication, and accountability with each other. It goes beyond the work. I am proud to say that my colleagues are like family at the AP Hub where we take care of each other - professionally and personally.
Who/what are some of your biggest inspirations within HOT and/or the wider OSM community?
I owe where I am here right now to these OSM PH community members - Maning Sambale, David Garcia, Andi Tabinas, Feye Andal, Eugene Villar, and Arnalie Vicario.
Mikko has been actively contributing to OpenStreetMap since 2014. He is also the founder of MapBeks - an online community of mappers advocating for LGBT representation and inclusion on OSM.
What is your current role at HOT, and how has it evolved?
Currently, I am the Regional Community Manager at the Open Mapping Hub - Asia Pacific. My role is crucial as OSM and other mappy communities need to have a voice in the dynamics involved in ensuring that we move towards a locally sustainable ecosystem/ movement. Through my role, I get to work with the most creative, fun, dedicated mappers in the 25 priority countries. Furthermore, listening to them, becoming their voice, and taking care of them has allowed me to become not just a guide but a close friend in all of their OSM journeys. Community is CORE in what we do, and without the community, HOT will just be another NGO in the process.
What are your goals in your role in the next 6-12 months?
In the next year, I plan to mobilize 100 exceptionally motivated and skilled OSM experts in the region to lead trainings, find more champions, and spread the good gospel of open mapping to the most vulnerable and remote communities in Asia Pacific. I would want a newbie mapper to come to one of our OSM trainings and say, “One day I will be a Guru, and I want to give back to the community.”
What fulfills you most about your role?
I think the biggest fulfillment I get to have in my role is being able to see how the support we are giving is able to move people to build their confidence. It’s just not time, effort, and money that we invest in our projects. There is a whole lot of HEART in it as well. Being able to see how you start your conversations from a year ago to igniting ideas from a small group to start their own mapathons and later on being able to stand together as a small community is something you don’t get to hear every day. Seeing opportunities through challenges has allowed me to be fulfilled more in working in the OSM ecosystem but also at HOT.
What’s the motto you live by?
“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” - RuPaul Charles
What’s a personal goal of yours that you’re currently working on?
I am currently constructing a 2-storey mapcation (mapathon+staycation) office where my 30 cats are free to roam.
Learn more about Mikko here.