Member participation is critical to shaping the future and vision of our union. We need Freelancers Union members to help decide on our next Member Representative.

The elected Member Representative will have the same responsibilities as all other Board Members, playing an integral role in developing the organization’s strategy for forging the next support system for workers and building the power of Freelancers Union in markets and politics.

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In order to vote, you must have joined Freelancers Union more than three months ago.

Here's more about our two finalists, Elle Toussi and Xavier Fan:

Elle Toussi

As a cross-platform journalist, Toussi started her career reporting about the film industry, religion, the Middle East and Southern California. She trained with award-winning journalists at CNN, NBC Los Angeles, KTLA, Screen International and USA Today. She has also freelanced for National Geographic Channels. Toussi is an Iranian-American born and raised in Southern California. Her passions including reporting on the Middle East, women, technology and how these worlds come together.

Currently, she is working on a project about the role of immigrants in the U.S. Inspired by her time in Jordan interviewing Syrian refugee women and children, she plans to launch her non-profit, In One Minute. It will use mobile technology and philanthropy to meet specific needs of women around the world.

As a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, she is currently the co-chair of the International Community. During this time she has started the women's series showcasing a personal look of women in journalism and she is spearheading programs and opportunities for her community of journalists globally to get the proper training and resources in order to remain up-to-date and safe while doing their job. Elle is passionate about the future of story-telling and continues to explore the opportunities for innovative and immersive storytelling with VR/AR and 360 in journalism.

What's your freelancing "tagline?"

Your network is the support you need to thrive.

Tell us a bit about your freelancing background

I have had the pleasure to freelance as a journalist the past four years with the support of the Freelancers Union.

What do you love most about freelancing?

Freedom and flexibility.

What do you see as the most important opportunities and challenges facing freelancers today?

Challenges will always be payment (on-time), rights, and benefits. These are luckily being tackled by the Freelancers Union. There is still much more work to be done.

Describe your work with Freelancers Union - and what you're most excited about working on in the future

Freelancers Union has been a great place for me to sort out how I can maneuver the freelance world. Knowing where to go and what benefits are available to me are important. I can hope that my presence at the Union will be to voice the concerns of the community and help be a part of making sure the positive change takes place.

What is your advice to a freelancer getting started? Any lessons you learned the hard way?

Make sure that if you have a full-time position, you thoroughly plan and transition to freelancing. When you do so drastically, it will be a tough transition. Have a mentor and a group that will hold you accountable and you will succeed.


Xavier Fan

Xavier Fan is a freelance Quick Base consultant and improv & stunt actor based in New York City.

With 14+ years of Quick Base development experience, I focus on helping companies run their critical operations with custom apps on the Quick Base platform. My clients range from startups to Fortune 500 companies, in industries including financial services, real estate, shipping logistics, and graphic design.

As an actor, I look for fun and interesting ways to use my improv skills and incorporate physical movement into my work. I choreograph and perform fight scenes in commercials and indie films, and engage in storytelling with my fellow improv actors on stage.

When I’m not doing that, you can find me bouldering at a local rock climbing gym, binge reading science fiction & fantasy novels, or enjoying watching a bad action movie.

What's your freelancing "tagline?"

Luck favors the prepared – be ready when the opportunity comes!

Tell us a bit about your freelancing background

I’ve been freelancing for the past 10+ years as a tech consultant and actor. My story illustrates only one of the many possibilities for a freelancing career!

I started by building websites at a consulting company – doing everything from programming to information architecture to project management.

A few years later, I began freelancing for the first time. That’s also when I got my first acting gig – by appearing as a ninja on a national commercial, which continued onto work in music videos, indie films and more.

Later, I joined a design company as operations manager – a great opportunity I couldn’t turn down. Three years later, and I went back to freelancing full time, which continues today.

My experience on both sides made me a better employee and freelancer. Ultimately, my passion is in running my own business and being my own boss – so freelancing is a great fit for me.

What do you love most about freelancing?

I love the freedom of choice! I have the opportunity to make choices every day that directly impact my freelancing career.

Within my areas of expertise, I get to pick which clients I work with, and the kinds of projects I work on.

I decide which areas I want to explore, and then I can devote my time and energy to learning and building up entirely new skills.

I manage my own schedule – from juggling client projects to workouts to social life to finally getting enough sleep! I have a direct say in my “work-life” balance.

All this choice is also a big responsibility – there’s no one else but me in charge of my career. As much as I enjoy the successes, I have to own my mistakes also. Ultimately it’s up to each freelancer to figure out what works for them and make their own way!

What do you see as the most important opportunities and challenges facing freelancers today?

In the era of the “gig economy” and “side hustles” – more and more people are aware that freelancing is attainable and viable as a career option next to traditional full-time employment.

Freelancers in effect are running mini-businesses – this is invaluable experience which serves you well no matter what career path you take.

I see this growth in freelancing as a positive and vibrant addition to the economy that we all participate in.

There is a lot of hard work by many freelancers to help each other – resources, guidance, advocacy - which in turn makes it easier for the next freelancer down the line.

The challenge is that each freelancer follows their own unique path. As a new freelancer, it’s tough to figure out what to do when there’s no single “right” way. That’s the question – what can we do to support each other when the freelancing world is so fragmented?

Describe your work with Freelancers Union - and what you're most excited about working on in the future

I have been an active member of the Freelancers Union since 2006. I regularly attend local Spark events to meet other freelancers and to learn more about topics related to freelancing. I contributed guest posts to the Freelancers Union blog, and shared my experiences on the Hives groups on the website. I gave feedback in focus groups run by the Freelancers Union.

I am proud to have participated in the advocacy campaign for the recent “Freelancer Isn’t Free Act” in New York City – the first law in the country for freelancer protections against nonpayment.

I have always been impressed by the resources that the Freelancers Union provides to help freelancers – health insurance, contract templates, information about taxes, and more.

It’s a great start – but there is so much more to do! I look forward to working on and supporting these efforts going forward – contributing my perspective as a long-time freelancer.

What is your advice to a freelancer getting started? Any lessons you learned the hard way?

Neil Gaiman once said that the key to getting repeat work is doing the following:

  1. Do great work
  2. Be on time / on budget
  3. Be easy to work with

And that’s completely applicable to freelancing work! If you always strive to achieve these 3 things, you won’t go too far wrong.

To that great advice, I’d add the following:

Be open

Being a flexible and curious learner will serve you very well, and may even lead you to meeting new groups of people and entirely new areas of work.

Be prepared

Doing things the “right” way will repay itself many times over. Build a solid foundation – including your skills, finances, networking, processes, how you conduct yourself.

Be patient

Nothing happens overnight! Be generous and kind to yourself as you go along your freelance journey.

Just remember – you’re not alone!

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