I have been so fortunate to have spent the last few days in Chicago at a conference for Community Managers. An UNconference to be exact. The brain child of Tim McDonald… The topics were voted on by my peers in the industry and attendees had the right to drift in and out of sessions as it suited them. The sessions themselves were very free flowing. It was an opportunity I am so glad I was able to take.
The company I work for, Spellbinders, has been so supportive of my community building efforts. When I was given the chance to speak on a panel… they happily agreed to send me. Being able to share what I’ve learned over the last several years building communities was so humbling. To be sharing the stage with people I admire and learn from was something I can never describe! I mean… Liz Strauss called me “irresistible”! (To be fair… she thinks everyone is irresistible.)
My session was called “Be Present”. It was about not just managing a community but being a part of it. I decided it would be best to open it up for discussion in the room. Allowing others to share their experiences is one of the best ways to learn. And let me tell you… I learned a lot. Not only was I able to share the things that are working in our Spellbinders community… but I was able to hear what was working for others. And to be speaking from the Google offices in Chicago was really a dream!
Not only did I get to attend, speak, and learn… I met some amazing people too. I met Anne, who I truly hope I can keep in touch with. She has an amazing story, a giving heart, and a passion for social media. Did I mention that Anne is deaf? What a great time we had talking about ideas! And I even got to pull out my sign language skills from college! (Sign Language was actually my foreign language in college… use it or loose it people!)
I also met Michelle from Sosh and Bernie Xiong from Your Life Spark. Talk about bright, innovative women! I met some of my #usguys friends in the real: @ImMarkBernhardt, @SeanMcGinnis, and @NickKellet. And I ran into old friends from over the years… Ric Dragon (I’m in his new book. Just sayin!), Brandie McCallum (My partner in crime), and Katie Felten (That’s not whiskey!). What great friends and a great Unconference!
So thank you Spellbinders for allowing me to attend this conference and share some of our strategies. And thank you community for staying supportive of me no matter where I am.