🕯️Community Champion: Roseli Ilano
Head of Community at Eventbrite
In This Edition
🎁 What Communicators can learn from Community Builders
💙 The importance of being a consensus builder
📚 How to create your own community of learners
Roseli Ilano is Eventbrite’s head of community, supporting and celebrating event creators. For more than a decade she’s launched community engagement initiatives and social impact campaigns in support of the arts, social justice, and non-fiction storytelling at organizations such as Pop-Up Magazine, The California Sunday Magazine, The Independent Television Service, The San Francisco Arts Commission, and for award-winning documentary films and media.
What sparked your path into Community Management?
I started my career as a Community Organizer in Oakland, California. It's where I learned everything that I do today — the power of bringing people together under the same mission, finding what unites us and thinking about how to employ strategies that unlock the power of the collective.
I believe that community is generative, it's not extractive. If it’s not building value for everyone, it's not a true community. For nearly a decade, I worked on how you activate people around the media for social change. I translated my community-building skills into the documentary film world.
I also worked for Pop-Up Magazine, the critically-acclaimed live non-fiction storytelling experience. I started their membership program and a hyper-local version to bring the program to more communities.
What projects are you particularly proud of accomplishing?
As Head of Community at Eventbrite, I oversee our community platform, RECONVENE. Our community is for event creators, and it’s rooted in the power of bringing people together whether that be virtual, in-person or hybrid to experience something in real time. I'm really thinking about how we empower our creators to be more successful so that they can do more of what they love. I will share two projects that I’m proud of accomplishing.
First, I’m proud of launching the Creator Collective, an Ambassador program that empowers our most passionate creators with the tools they need to be more successful. We just wrapped up the first year and the feedback from Creators was great — for the first time, they felt that they were part of a team and not just solo entrepreneurs because we were providing networking and mentorship that offered real collaboration.
Second, I’m also really pleased with the work our team did to launch RECONVENE Accelerator — a grant program that offers mentorship like a true accelerator and also gave them $10,000 in funding to launch a new event concept. We awarded five grants to diverse Creators — the first-ever Indigenous People's Day Block party, a 36-course dinner inspired by the Wu-Tang Clan and other unique events. It was so exciting to give these Creators direct support to launch these events and all of them sold out!
The reason I shared these two programs is that my Northstar is ensuring that we’re doing work that is directly investing in and empowering our creators. With these programs, we were able to accelerate their growth as small business owners. That’s what matters most!
What are the skills that are most important for someone to succeed in community management?
Number one — be a consensus builder. As a Community Organizer, I learned how to bring disparate groups together by speaking with shared values. It’s about asking key questions — how do you synthesize what's in common, how do you optimize for the ways we align, and how do you think about difference as an opportunity?
Two, it’s about building leadership — your community is not going to grow if you are not building leaders and fostering their development by creating the container for people to raise their hands and bring them into deeper engagement.
Third, it’s leading with culture and rituals. Priya Parker, the author of The Art of Gathering was a keynote speaker at Eventbrite’s RECONVENE Summit. She talks about how it’s important to ensure there are intentions and rituals as a way to create a shared language and ways to identify why people are part of a community. It’s important to ask — is your culture inclusive and affirming, how do people participate in a way that feels unique and brings them together?
What do you think Communications (Internal, External, Executive) can learn from community management?
At the highest level, it’s important to speak with those shared values. Communications professionals need to think a lot about the value that they are generating.
Often it’s one-directional to share a message, but is there a way to lead with the end receiver seeing their needs, desires and stories reflected back to them so it’s creating value? Think about the power of connection.
How do you continue learning about your field?
I firmly believe that any external community needs to be a reflection of your internal community. People can feel when there is a direct connection between what you're saying and how you're living as a brand.
I’m part of my own community of other community builders. A group of four women who support one another and share best practices, we meet once a month to keep pushing ourselves to make sure that we're leading by example and doing our best work.
Will we see you at our first workshop on Jan. 31st? Register for Define Your Values.
Thank you for reading The Switchboard. ☎️ Every edition is personally curated by me — Julia Levy. Learn more about why I write. Review the Index of past posts.
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