Online communities are powerful. Not only are they complex solutions for complex organizational problems, but communities can create real lasting friendships, powerful professional connections, and loyal brand advocates.
Today, we’re recognizing 20 influential people for their work in the online community industry.
Our 2020 Community Movers + Shakers are champions of communities, who see the value in the community movement, and we wanted to highlight, honor, and share the work of their creative and innovative minds with the rest of the industry.
Because online communities can transform any organization, you’ll see a range of industries. Because real change can start at any level of an organization, you’ll see a range of titles.
Without further ado, we’ll introduce the people you’ve been waiting to meet: Our 2020 Community Movers + Shakers.
Meet the Community Movers + Shakers
1. Bill Johnston
Current role: Founder and Chief Community Officer at Structure3C
How Bill is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: He’s an experienced online community builder, designing and launching TechRepublic.com. His forward-thinking research around AI and communities will change how we all think about our online communities in 2020 and beyond. He also developed and launched customer communities at Autodesk and Dell, where he connected millions of customers and created over $100 million in financial impact. Now, he’s head of Structure3C, a community strategy firm.
Follow Bill on LinkedIn
2. Matt Lawson
Matt’s current role: Online Community Manager at Genesys
How Matt is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Matt’s career path has taken him through teaching, sales, marketing, IT, and now, community management. His well-rounded background lends itself to his creative approach as the community manager for Genesys, a SaaS-based customer experience platform. He developed a Q&A Show to answer customer support questions at scale and in a relatable way. You can read more about Matt’s community initiatives here.
Follow Matt on LinkedIn
3. Jennifer Richards
Jennifer’s current role: Director, Membership at the American Association of Airline Executives (AAAE)
How Jennifer is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: One word: data. Jennifer is using 2020 to dive into AAAE’s (the world’s largest professional organization for airport executives) rich community data – focusing on how to analyze it, how to best present it, and how they can use it to engage members based on their preferences. It’s part of the reason why AAAE’s small-but-mighty community saw exponential growth last year.
Follow Jennifer on LinkedIn
4. Shana Sumers
Shana’s current role: Head of Community for HER
How Shana is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Shana has worked from the ground up to launch and grow a community that supports the wants and needs of LGBTQ+ women and queer people, HER.
With a community of over 5 million users worldwide, Shana has worked to launch and grow a community composed of online communities, in-person events, social media, content creation, email marketing, and customer support.
Follow Shana on LinkedIn
5. Jason Schofield
Jason’s current role: Co-Founder and CEO at Pathways to Empower
How Jason is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Jason’s organization, Pathways to Empower, offers the first comprehensive, brain-based framework designed to teach mental health literacy. Pathways to Empower will create a network of parents, coaches, educators, and corporate leaders who can learn from each other and rely on each other for support, and ultimately, positively impact the mental health of the people in their care.
Follow Jason on LinkedIn
6. Kristina King
Kristina’s current role: Senior Manager, Customer Care at Jama Software
How Kristina is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Kristina has spearheaded and grown the customer community movement at Jama Software, a SaaS company offering product development software. It’s become the go-to place for customers to learn how to use and work with their software, Jama Connect, and she’s continually researching how to improve their experience. The community has become a powerful support tool for the company, already deflecting up to 28% of support tickets.
Follow Kristina on LinkedIn
7. Anne-Margaret Olsson
Anne-Margaret’s current role: Manager, Online Communities at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
How Anne-Margaret is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: With a decade of experience in the community industry, Anne-Margaret is a recognized expert and a go-to resource for community management. She works hard to ensure the communities she manages are lively and engaging, and she leads by example in encouraging others to make connections online and in person. She’s currently managing the community at the AACC, a global scientific and medical professional organization dedicated to clinical laboratory science and its application to healthcare.
Follow Anne-Margaret on LinkedIn
8. Heather McNair
Heather’s current role: Chief Community Officer at Higher Logic
How Heather is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Heather was the first to hold the position of Chief Community Officer at Higher Logic, a SaaS-based engagement platform. And not to mention, she was one of the earliest to hold the title in the industry. She’s currently investing much of her time and energy into more research around what really makes communities successful and bringing a much-needed focus on data-driven strategy to the community industry.
Follow Heather on LinkedIn
9. Martha Jack
Martha’s current role: Executive Director at eConverse Media
How Martha is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Martha and her team at eConverse Media, a company specializing in the strategy, design, launch and management of association websites and communities, are investing in creating rich, user-focused experiences to enhance engagement. She combines her knowledge of community management with the UX skills of her business partner, Emeri, to create community-centric sites, not just pretty websites. They go far beyond design and making sites attractive to architecting custom user experiences based on the organization’s goals and their end users’ needs. Beyond that, she’s the founder and owner of a thriving 10-year-old business with more than a dozen employees. She has a true entrepreneurial spirit.
Follow Martha on LinkedIn
10. Simon Helton
Simon’s current role: Director, Membership and Community at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
How Simon is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Simon has been an active participant in online communities for a long time, officially working in the community industry for three years. As Director of Membership and Community at ISTE, a community of global educators who believe in the power of technology to transform teaching and learning, accelerate innovation and solve tough problems in education, he uses community to truly get to know members and learn their preferences, their challenges, and what they need from ISTE, allowing him to be their advocate on staff.
Follow Simon on LinkedIn
11. Patrick O’Keefe
Patrick’s current role: Host at Community Signal
How Patrick is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Patrick is host of Community Signal, a bi-weekly podcast for online community professionals. He’s clear that this program is about community as a strategy – not social media tools or marketing. Patrick has been managing online communities since 2000 and is the author of Managing Online Forums, a practical guide to managing online communities and social spaces.
Follow Patrick on LinkedIn (and give the Community Signal podcast a listen!)
12. Brittney Wilson, BSN, RN
Brittney’s current role: User Engagement Manager at HealthStream
How Brittney is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: At HealthStream, a company providing Internet-based learning and research solutions for healthcare organizations, Brittney is responsible for delighting users by enhancing learning experiences through robust gamification and community strategy. She’s been building online communities for the last ten years. Her focus on community is tied to her focus on improving healthcare through technology.
Follow Brittney on LinkedIn
13. Reggie Henry
Reggie’s current role: Chief Information and Engagement Officer at the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)
How Reggie is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: As a leader at ASAE, a membership organization of more than 46,000 association executives and industry partners, Reggie sees the ASAE community as their “Town Hall” – a place where their members can network to solve problems facing associations. This year, he’s focused on digital transformation, specifically looking to solve this question: How do we use technology to provide better service to our members in a way they get it from everyone else?
Follow Reggie on LinkedIn
14. Jason McClellan
Jason’s current role: Senior Manager Broadcom Community, Corporate IT at Broadcom Inc.
How Jason is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: As a senior community manager at Broadcom, a designer, developer, manufacturer and global supplier of a broad range of semiconductor and infrastructure software products, Jason recognizes that community is a great tool to create personalized experiences for customers. Because customers want to connect about the topics that mean the most to them, he’s working to organize the communities in a way that makes sense for customers. In addition, he makes it his goal to help customers find information they need as quickly as possible in the community, because it benefits not only them, but the company.
Follow Jason on LinkedIn
15. Ian Oeschger
Ian’s current role: Chief Community Architect at IBM Community
How Ian is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Ian’s background is in information architecture and software development. Now at IBM Community, a global community of over 140,000 IBM users, he’s currently focused on making IBM’s various communities part of a single, cohesive community. Rather than singular groups, he and his team want to give users one common place to gather.
Follow Ian on LinkedIn
16. Marjorie Anderson
Marjorie’s current role: Manager, Online Communities at the Project Management Institute (PMI)
How Marjorie is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Marjorie and community go way back. She started working with community at PMI, a global organization for project management, in 2013. In her current role, she’s helping PMI move the needle with community to serve the needs of its members and increase their overall success. In addition, this past year, she recognized a need for connection among community managers at associations – so she started her own, Community by Association.
Follow Marjorie on LinkedIn
17. Emily Sitzberger
Emily’s current role: Coordinator, Global Membership at The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, International (AACSB)
How Emily is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Working in member engagement at AACSB International, a professional association providing accreditation and support to business schools, Emily supports member recruitment, retention and engagement through customer service, research, data management, marketing strategies, and on-site event support. Their community is a key part of this strategy. Emily follows cutting-edge community management practices to provide value to their wide member base.
Follow Emily on LinkedIn
18. Danielle Zimmerman
Danielle’s current role: VP, Customer Experience at Quick Base
How Danielle is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Danielle is a customer success and business transformation leader, helping companies achieve business agility by transforming customer experiences and delivering increased value. And she’s bringing that same organized, methodical process to help customers be successful with an innovative tool: their customer community. At Quick Base, a low-code application platform, Danielle uses the community to help customers achieve better results. Because customers can connect with each other, they learn best practices, find all the information they need in one place, and overall, have a delightful customer experience at Quick Base.
Follow Danielle on LinkedIn
19. Charles Vogl
Charles’s current role: Author, Speaker & Executive Adviser at the Vogl Group
How Charles is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: Charles works with leaders to build loyalty, strengthen identification with a community, and motivate actions consistent with group values. He focuses on authentic connection. He outlines some of these strategies in his book, The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging.
Follow Charles on LinkedIn
20. Josh Slyman
Josh’s current role: Community Manager at Higher Logic
How Josh is movin’ and shakin’ in the community industry: As a community manager at Higher Logic, Josh provides vital community strategy to multiple customers. This year, he’s planning to continue helping customers use the behavioral data and insight within their communities in tandem with automated campaigns to create engaged member journeys. He believes this will support member and organizational goals in new and meaningful ways.
Follow Josh on LinkedIn
Community engagement: What’s it all about? Check out the 2020 Engagement Trends Report for tips and trends.
Congratulations to the 2020 Community Movers + Shakers!
To learn more about online communities, check out The Community Roundtable’s annual report.
Content Marketing Manager
Elizabeth Bell is the Content Marketing Manager at Higher Logic. She’s passionate about communities, tech, and communicating about both effectively. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her cooking, reading, gardening, or playing volleyball.
Suggested Higher Logic Posts
Introducing the Engagement Benchmark Score: A New Solution for Measuring Online Community Engagement
Community Strategy, HL News // If you’ve ever owned, led, or managed a community, you’ve asked yourself, or been asked a version of this question: “Is our level of community engagement where it needs to be?”
How We Know the 90-9-1 Rule for Online Community Engagement is Officially Outdated
Community Strategy, HL News // We see communities generating impressive results for their organizations every day. To do that, a community needs to have solid engagement. The 90-9-1 rule just doesn’t align to that.
Online Communities in 2020: 28 Key Facts + Statistics to Know
Community Strategy, HL News // Online community stats from The State of Community Management 2020, an annual report by The Community Roundtable, covering ROI, use cases, and engagement.