Do you currently manage a community?
I am the Community Director of Mayo Clinic Connect, an online community connecting people about any health condition. The community is open to anyone and not exclusive to Mayo Clinic patients.
What career path brought you to where you are now?
My background is in patient education. Before becoming an online community manager, I wrote patient education materials to help patients understand and manage their disease. Mostly I worked in oncology and mental health. While some of my work was for print, most of it was for digital delivery. Remember CD-ROMS? So now you know my age demographic too.
As the digital world turned social, I was fortunate to be a part of the “patient web2.0 revolution” – the e-patient movement. The natural evolution was to build community that enabled patients to connect with each other. Listening to patients talking about living with their conditions changed the way I approached patient education, and ultimately continues to shift the paradigm of paternalistic health care.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your job?
Since joining the Mayo Clinic team 2 years ago, many of the traditional challenges facing community managers have dissolved for me. I have the support of senior leadership, an enthusiastic multi-disciplinary team and great interest from the medical professionals and fellow employees.
Taking the Feverbee Strategic Community Management Course, helped relieve some of the time challenges by focussing efforts on the things that matter. Naturally, I yearn for more hours in the day, but who doesn’t? I want to get better at evaluation and measurement.
What’s the best job you ever had that wasn’t in community management and does it inform your CM work in any way
In my past life, I was a professional, classical musician in Germany. Playing horn in the opera pits around Europe was the best job ever. They say people who learn multiple languages and who are exposed to or live in different cultures makes one open to different perspectives, more diplomatic and an effective facilitator. That might apply or it may just be stretching the truth a wee bit.