Hi there, please tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you? What do you like to do for fun?
Hola! I'm Linda, an almost-20 year old extremely enthusiastic and compassionate community builder. I enjoy meeting new people (and their pets), learning their stories, and finding ways in which I can support them on their journey. I'm the kind of person who hypes up every single person I meet and I love sending gifts to strangers and friends.
Can you tell us what you do as a Community Manager at Tiramisu for those who are unfamiliar?
Tiramisu (gosh, don't you love that name?) is a social network of kindness and as a community manager at Tiramisu, I build communities for students at various universities. We're really trying to help students make meaningful connections at their own universities and with students from other universities so that they can collectively support causes that speak to them, help each other, ask for help (without feeling guilty) and participate in activities that make them feel less lonely and more connected.
How did you decide to pursue your specific career? What pivotal moments pushed you to where you are now?
We're always gathering. We’re always finding ourselves in little corners of the world/internet with people who share the same interests/goals/identities/purpose. However, in my case, I grew up in places where I found it extremely difficult and inauthentic to fit in...to belong. I was never able to identify with any community. Some people spend their whole lives trying to find a community where they can be vulnerable without the fear of being seen because they know they will be embraced for who they are.
I spent the first 16 years of my life pretending to be someone else to fit in. So when I relocated to India 3 years ago, I decided to build a community for those who had never/rarely known what true belonging felt like. My brainchild, SoulConnect, was an in-person community that helped Gen-Z'ers indulge in personal growth activities while making connections that enriched their lives. The most fulfilling part of running SoulConnect was the realization that after every event, not even a single soul went back home all alone. The experiences we co-created at SoulConnect made me aware of the kind of impact community has on the way we show up in our lives.A couple of months after I decided to shut down my business, I came across a community builder and my jaw was on the floor when I discovered that community building is an actual profession 🤯 It's funny that even though that's exactly what I was doing, I didn't know that it was something people did professionally. A few weeks later, I met Maike Gericke (Co-Founder of Tiramisu) on the Female Co-Founder Slack community (forever grateful to you, Michele Molino!) and she was looking for help with community building. Right after my first call with Maike and Khalid, it felt surreal to have come across people who are passionate about the same topics as I am and whose core values completely align with mine.
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?
1. Never be ashamed of who you are and where you come from because that's exactly what makes you different from the rest. Always bring your most authentic and vulnerable self to the table instead of trying to be someone else.
2. You may have the right experiences, education and/or skills but if your core values don't align with that of the company and if you're not passionate about the work they're doing, you wouldn't be able to thrive in that role. So please never settle for anything less than what you deserve because vibes + core values matter SO much!
🤝 Community builders are the coolest people on the planet! Don't believe me? Sign up for Community Club's Meetsy which is the best place to have 1:1 conversations with some of them (Reach out to me for an invite!)
📕 Built to Belong: Discovering the Power of Community Over Competition by Natalie Franke is a book I'm currently obsessing over!
🚀 Erica Kuhl and Brian Oblinger have a lot of helpful templates for community builders
💌 Rosie Sherry, Jenny Weigle, Anna Grigoryan, and Community Club have some of the best newsletters.
😍 Community OPServations organizes really insightful member-led events on community operations.
✨The Communities Show has the most beautiful vibe!
What are 3 character traits that would make someone excel in your field?
1. Being compassionate and intentional
2. Being super organized
3. Being extremely self-aware and having great self-management skills
Most satisfying & difficult thing about your job?
🥰: Having the opportunity to help students diversify their ecosystems by drawing on a multitude of resources to get them to the point where they ultimately want to reach. It's not just the resources, but also the opportunity to think about things in different ways which creates new pathways for them.
😠: Having to trust the process as building a community doesn't happen overnight and it requires consistent effort from all the team and community members.|
What would you like to say to your younger self?
I admire you for how you've never tried to fit in or please others. Someday, you will find people who will make you want to continue spreading kindness and places where you will belong. Until then, watch some Marie TV and remember that everything is figure-out-able ❤
Best advice you've received/heard?
Willa Tellekson-Flash (Director of Community at Public.com) once told me that the only way to know if you want to continue doing something is to ask yourself if it still sparks your curiosity. That's definitely going to stay with me for a really long time :)