Do you currently manage a community?
I am currently managing the online private community for the volunteer leaders of Trout Unlimited. This is a conservation organization made of 155,000 members and over 400 chapters who love rivers and fishing throughout the United States. Our community is a place for leaders to meet peers and get answers to pressing questions about chapter management and conservation.
What career path brought you to where you are now?
I started out in Trout Unlimited providing mostly technical assistance and helping transition to a new website for the web team. Like any NPO team member, I did a variety of tasks. As we have grown, we recognize that our members participate in a number of ways. Traditional members like monthly meetings and events. Younger members take to social media to share their conservation and angling efforts. We are growing our online presence to respond to our changing member demographics. Community is a good part of the solution.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your job?
The biggest concern our organization faces is how the current government leadership looks at clean water and public lands. This affects lots of organizations and changes how we work on conservation projects. That, of course, is a big can of worms that should not be opened here.
A more personal challenge is justifying online platforms and staff hours. Like many of us here, demonstrating that the community is important to the growth of the organization rises to the surface (you know, like a trout). So we see that more of our effort needs to be meeting potential members where they are, social media, and encourage them to our platform.
What’s the best job you ever had that wasn’t in community management and does it inform your CM work in any way?
Much of my career has been in customer service and sales. Many of the skills in these professions translate well in community manager positions. The ability to tap into key features and benefits that are important to and inspire passion from your audience is the essence of creating conversation and building community. Also, being a dad has helped too.