The Unexpected Power of Community

My first week as an Enterprise Community Manager, I wrote a blog post in our community called “My Work Uniform” about why I wore black every day to work.

I was introducing myself to the community and that seemed like an interesting hook. I had just read Marie Kondo and I had been busy thanking my pink and green and blue clothes for being there for me as I tossed them into the donation bin. 

A few days later I received an email titled “In support of the uniform!”

The email was from the Chief Technology Officer -- and it was the nicest email I have ever received. 

I didn’t realize this at the time, but my blog post led to an incredible working relationship with Julie, someone I would not have had direct access to otherwise. 

Thanks to my blog post, she saw the value of our employee community and understood the purpose of my role. She invested money into redesigning the Technology department’s spaces (with Social Edge, long before I worked here!) which no other department leader had done. She became an active participant, leaving comments on blogs, documents and discussions throughout our platform. She wrote her own blogs too, inspiring her reports and their reports to do the same. And when my boss and I began a major community UX overhaul, having Julie in our corner was instrumental. 

More than that, I had someone in my corner rooting for me. I knew when I started my internal company podcast that I wanted Julie to be my very first guest. What I didn’t know was that a year or so into my monthly podcast, she would ask to turn the tables and interview ME.

How many C-level executives do you know who would choose to take time out of their incredibly busy day to do something fun for the community? 

Neither of us work at that company anymore, but I still get the occasional message from Julie -- she checks in on me, tells me how cute my son is (she is right), and even asks for my professional opinion. I know that if I ever need a reference, or maybe even a job, Julie would do everything in her power to help me out. 

All because of one little blog post my first week at a new job that I didn’t even think that much about. All because we had a platform and a culture that encouraged blogging. All because the right person saw the right post at the right time. 

And that is the unexpected power of community.