Last week was the last time I got to work alongside my dear co-worker and friend Kelly Hungerford. During one of our meetings, we shared a freshly baked bread around the dinner table. While we had lunch, I was reassured: we are building community.

 

community bread

 

Kelly has been the leader and carer of the Paper.li community for the past 4 years and I count myself really lucky to have had the opportunity to meet and work with her. During our two years working together she tirelessly made sure I understood that: “Community is everything.  We need to interact, build relationships, share value and let our community know we’re always here for them.”

I can say that for me, a community is just like that delicious bread Kelly kindly baked, and broke into pieces so that we could all be fed. It is the laughter, the tears and the effort, it is always being there. As a community, we come together for a reason.

At Paper.li, we have been delighted with a community full of talent and honesty. We can’t take credit for that, it was not our doing,  but I am sure it has to do with the passion and work that was put into it. The base of community starts at home. It starts with a leader that is strong enough to nurture and work not only for their own benefit but for the benefit of all. It starts with a purpose that Kelly had very clear in her mind. It starts with going back to your values.

There are certain values that need to be shared and practiced in order to gather around a common cause, here’s four of my favourites:

Support

Kelly made sure we understood how important support is. We don’t want to feel alone in a community, we want to be understood and helped.

Presence

It is key to be available, to show we’re there. This presence doesn’t mean we’ll focus on ourselves, we’re not here for us but for the rest.

Reliability

“You’ve got a friend in me”, we all learned from the Toy Story movie. It’s not that we are here just to say it, it’s that we are here always to have your back.

Shared knowledge

Again, just like that delicious piece of bread (can’t stop talking about it, it was super good!!) , if we’ve got something, we need to share. And when it comes to our community, we really need to leverage knowledge and spread it around to the rest of our community.

communityspirit

#BizHeroes

And, coming out of shared knowledge, I can’t finish this post without mentioning one of the greatest things Kelly has given us: the #BizHeroes community.

We’re thrilled to say that she will continue with us, baking bread for the amazing bunch of thought leaders that are part of our happy hour every Tuesday. So, there’s nothing to worry there!

 

 

Fortunately, this post is not a farewell but a thank you to a wonderful colleague, a good luck letter, a sign of our respect and a reminder to everyone that we still have a lot to learn about building community. I am very honored to have learnt from the best: Kelly.

Magda Alexandra Torres
Magda is a Social Media and Communications professional. Her main interests include corporate communications and social networking. She also enjoys traveling, blogging and learning. You can reach her on: Google+ and @MagdaATQ.

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10 Responses to “We Have a Lot to Learn About Building Community”

  1. Cendrine Marrouat

    Magda, like you, working with Kelly was amazing. She and I have known each other since my days as an Examiner contributor. I wrote about Paper.li several time and Kelly ALWAYS made time to answer questions.

    I have worked with many people in my life. However, Kelly stands out. As a colleague, she is generous, kind-hearted, supportive, and listens. She leads where others follow. As a friend, she makes every moment you spend with her memorable.

    Thank you for writing this, Magda!

    Reply
    • Kelly Hungerford

      Thank you Cendrine. It’s been a true pleasure. You’ve been an amazing source of inspiration for me personally as well as to the Paper.li community at large.

      You will continue to be my news go-to and I am so thankful you’ll be continuing on with This Week in Social on this blog. I think it’s possibly the best round-up in the industry! I’m not biased or anything though…

      By the way, I met up with fellow community member and former Paper.li editor, Liz Wilson. She’s doing great — we really need to have a hangout!

      Reply
      • Cendrine Marrouat

        Coming from you, it means a LOT! Thank you!

        We definitely need to have a Hangout with Liz. I’ve missed her. I was really impressed when I saw she had released a book.

        Reply
    • Magda Alexandra Torres

      Thank you, Cendrine! Kelly has touched many of our lives and I hope she knows how appreciated she is.

      Reply
  2. Kelly Hungerford

    Magda,

    Having a post written in my honor tops my list of best things that could ever happen. Thank you!

    One of my greatest adventures and learning experiences to date has been learning how to take what we do when building offline communities to apply it to online community building.

    True community building happens when the ultimate goal is the satisfaction of your community members, not a calculated outcome. Unfortunately, I think we are so programmed by marketing and sales to “get some return” out of community efforts that online community building is killed, or falls flat, before it ever can ever take off.

    If we approach every encounter with people online as we do when we meet someone offline building community becomes very natural.

    #BizHeroes is a great example of people coming together for a sense of belonging, helping and contributing to make a space that is bigger than the combined sum of individuals.

    It’s an authentic hour of meeting, greeting, listening, (showing empathy), caring, problem solving together and sharing. It’s an direction that I think community is headed: creating spaces where people can come together off of owned brand channels, meaning The official Twitter account, FB page or G+ page.

    It’s been an absolute thrill working with you and I look forward to participating in the community as a community member. It will be an entirely different and welcome experience. Now I can kick my feet-up, lean back and enjoy!

    Reply
    • Magda Alexandra Torres

      I have been blessed by having the opportunity to work by your side and learn to love community and to understand its importance from you.

      Thank you for your comment, it is another lesson of the many we can still keep learning from you. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Julia Yaziji

    Magda, You have written a gem of a post. It is really a fantastic, heartfelt tribute to Kelly and all that she stands for. I take my hat off to you for articulating so well Kelly’s essence and values. Bravo! Kelly’s presence, drive, enthusiasm, humour, creativity, energy are missed at the office every day but we are lucky to have her continue with #BizHeroes. And I feel blessed to have her as a friend.

    Reply
    • Magda Alexandra Torres

      Awww thanks Julia, we have been very lucky! Your message is spot on, although I am sure we will never lose her as a friend, I do miss working with her.

      Reply
    • Kelly Hungerford

      Thank you Julia! Only far in distance, always in heart though. Our customers and community are lucky to have you at the helm of Customer Care at Paper.li. I was able to move on to new ventures knowing that they are in your capable hands.

      Also feeling blessed!

      Reply

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