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CMAD 2015: Community Managers Better and Bolder Than Ever

Written by Lauren Wolfe | on January 31, 2015 at 1:03 PM

Happy 2015 Community Manager Appreciation Day!

Community Manager Appreciation Day (Monday, January 26, 2015) was epic. Bigger, better and bolder than last year. Recognizing and rewarding hard-working community managers should happen more than once a year and in every city. (There, we said it.) So we set out to make this happen.

The Community Roundtable and Higher Logic teamed up to host a six-city celebration. This post will describe what went down. Snow and winter weather in the forecast was a challenge for Boston and NYC, but those cities' events will resume on Wednesday, February 4. The places and faces will be the same - RSVP now.

"Except for the snow, the CMAD events worked out just as well as we hoped," said Ted McEnroe from The Community Roundtable. "Each of our city champions developed events that were unique, enjoyable and informative. From the intimate lunch in San Francisco to the Happy Hours in Washington, Atlanta and Milwaukee, each event offered a mix of networking and learning."

Community Managers Rock

The CMAD events were filled with delicious regional food selections and drinks plus innovative strategy and conversations. All of the events were sponsored by Higher Logic and hosted by The Community Roundtable member evangelists. In honor of this year's 2015 Community Manager of The Year Award winners, we've decided to bestow our own honors on the following CMAD cities:

The Sharing Is Caring Award: Washington, DC

Sharing was the name of the game for Washington, DC's CMAD event. Dozens attended an educational panel and happy hour hosted by social media mogul Maddie Grant, CAE, Online Community Results' Ben Martin, CAE and Higher Logic's Creative Director Lauren Wolfe. After exchanging tips on humanizing communities, the group moved across the street for happy hour at The Laughing Man Tavern. There were a few snowflakes outside, but inside mostly was filled with #CMAD cupcakes, stickers and a "Bring a Book, Get a Book" resource table.

"The DC CMAD networking happy hour was a fantastic experience!" said Matthew A. Coffindaffer, Manager of Volunteer Relations from ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership. "The thought leaders, industry partners, seasoned veterans and aspiring community professionals who had assembled, were so engaging and inspiring, I didn't even realize there was a Big Buck Hunter game on site. I'm not sure there is a higher form of flattery. I'm truly looking forward to the next meeting of the minds!"

The Game Master Award: Atlanta, GA

Laura Brook, President and CEO of Engaging Communities Consulting (formerly with FPA), hosted Atlanta's happy hour and an engaging round of community manager mad libs. The goal was to collect a quality list of community engagement ideas, and the group decided to continue the fun by planning to continue regular community manager meet ups in the Atlanta area.

"Atlanta represented at CMAD thanks to the leadership of Laura Brook, Lindsay Starke and Christine Walsh," said Dawn Gartin, Customer Success Manager for Microsoft. "The backdrop was a flip chart where we added our one quality to make an awesome community manager. Then we divided into teams, drew words from hats and came up with community management strategies to match our chosen words. Fun was had by all!"

The Classic Community Collaboration Award: Milwaukee, WI

The happy hour in Milwaukee didn't mess with an already great recipe, and as Higher Logic's Paul Wehking put it, "Pizza, salad, beer, community managers - what could be better?" Eileen Foran from Limelight Networks and Heather Ausmus from Johnson Controls hosted a lively group of community management teams from Northwestern Mutual, Eaton Corp, 7Summits, ASQ and Alliance1. We're pretty sure networking is better with pizza.

The Lunch & Learn Roundtable Award: San Francisco, CA

An intimate group of community managers attended an interactive lunch discussion at San Francisco's ThirstyBear (which overlooks the site of the new SFMOMA expansion, nice!). Christopher Parsons and Susan Strom from Knowledge Architecture hosted the event, where all attendees focused on top priority community discussion questions. Community management trends discussed included:

  • Looking forward to 2015, what are the most interesting opportunities for growth in your community this year? How about the potential challenges you are concerned about?
  • How do you feel about your platform?
  • Where do you think community management is headed? More importantly, do you think it is a jumping off point for other jobs?
  • What blogs/newsletters do you read about community management?
  • Are you a member of any communities (other than yours) who you think are "killing" it? Why?

24 Hours of CMAD

Additionally, community managers logged in around the world for 24 hours of community management discussions. Led by My Community Manager, it was a full day of Google+ Hangouts covering a new topic and live panel discussion every hour. Hosts Jonathan Brewer, Sherrie Rohde, Dom Garrett and Aaron Biebert guided us through a busy, informative day. Some of our favorite topics included The Power of Programs to Drive Engagement and Accessibility Communities. You can access all the archived content on the My Community Manager YouTube Channel.

We'd also like to send a virtual round of applause and congratulations to the CMAD 2015 Community Manager award winners. Your recognition is important and well deserved!

NEW: The Community Manager Handbook

CMAD is over, but we're not done celebrating. To keep community management top of mind, this month The Community Roundtable is releasing their Community Manager Handbook: 20 Lessons from Community Management Superheroes. Next Wednesday, February 4, at 2PM ET, we're hosting an educational webinar with The Community Roundtable's co-founder Rachel Happe and a panel of community professionals to discuss the new resource. Join us and bring your questions.

SAVE-THE-DATE: next year CMAD is Monday, January 25, 2016.

Topics: Online Community Management

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