The Uncommon Team
October 13th, 2021
Community leaders have a lot in common, like their enthusiasm for teaching and learning, and a passion for building meaningful relationships within and across communities. As community leaders, their goals are similar, but their paths to community leadership are surprisingly diverse and often surprisingly...surprising.
Our series, "The Rise of the Community Leader," celebrates these uncommon paths, the people who took them, and what they learned along the way. Want to connect with more community leaders like them? Join Uncommon.
In 2018, I took a Udacity course in frontend web development and found the community managers to be stellar advocates who were really motivating. I was looking to break into tech, and got inspired and started applying for community-type jobs as a result. I landed my first gig at Khan Academy, where I led and managed volunteer groups for a year before moving onto Quora to oversee writer and power user programs, and am now doing the same at Retool.
I lead engagement and growth programs for power users at Retool, a SaaS company that helps other companies quickly build custom internal tools.
Don't be afraid to be yourself. Owning and celebrating your quirks and uniqueness creates space for others in your community to follow suit.
Community is where all the action happens. When users/customers feel like they have a space to come to to make their concerns heard and get heeded upon, it's like a virtuous cycle that builds on itself and only makes the community that much stronger.
In 5-10 years, I think community teams will become more sophisticated in communicating and proving with data how community affects the bottom line and impacts the overall business value. We in community know intuitively that we're impactful—we make our ambassadors feel great, and we seed and empower ordinary users to become super fans and super users. Over time, we'll be able to use the data we've accumulated to create compelling and powerful narratives out of, which will set us up for even greater success.
I love having direct conversations with users. I always get energized after a video call where I get to talk to them about their experiences on the platform, what they love about it or don't, their wish lists, etc. Earning their trust is also incredibly gratifying and motivating.
After the pandemic, as more companies have had to embrace remote work and expanded their user bases online, I've seen so many companies looking for their first community hire or wanting to dedicate resources just to focus on community. People realize that cultivating and taking care of your advocates, and really listening to them, is the way to go.
I see a close link between community sentiment influencing product development and strategy. I also enjoy the cross functional and iterative component of it, and it's what I envision leaning more into.
The People's Court
Elaine from Seinfeld (she's not an animal of course, but I'm a huge fan)
The Chai Stand
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Alina! We ❤️ your inner animal and second the notion that embracing your own uniqueness is key.
We're continually looking to highlight community leaders, voices, and stories—if there's someone you'd like to nominate to share theirs, let us know. See you in Uncommon!