The Community Club

Discussion on: AMA with Holly Firestone

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hollyfirestone profile image
Holly Firestone Ask Me Anything

I developed a vision for community that made the importance and the potential very clear. I presented that to my CEO. I walked through the best way to structure the team, ROI, success metrics, impact on business goals, impact on our most important audiences, etc. Once that was agreed upon, I presented a more detailed roadmap that included milestones and outcomes along with the resources (budget, headcount) to get there. I also shared a lot of success stories from other communities.

There were a couple pivotal moments at Atlassian related to this that I could never forget. I'll share since they're fun stories. At our annual conference, I hosted a User Group Leader training day the day before the event. There were about 40 of us. We were having the absolute best time. In fact, we were having such a good time, that our CEO opened the door, popped his head in and said “what’s going on in here? You’re so loud I can hear you down the hall!” When he saw it was a group of customers spending time together, talking about how to build community around Atlassian, well, I can’t ever forget the expression on his face. That night, we had a User Group Leader appreciation dinner, and it was the same scene. We were all having an absolutely amazing time, sharing inside jokes, giving out awards— it was really a community. It was a family. Two of our leaders had just gotten engaged and I made a huge deal about celebrating and gifting them a bottle of champagne. Our other CEO came to the dinner, and you could tell he was blown away by what he saw. He was thrilled, he was proud, and he was also having a great time. Everything changed for me and for my community programs from there. The CEOs saw what was happening and they understood the potential. I wouldn't say everything was easy from that point forward, but I had a hell of a lot of support from our CEOs!

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Alex Newman

Thanks for sharing, Holly! Great story :)