I'm Kamelia Valkova, the community manager at Rumie. Before joining Rumie I worked as a park naturalist so I would never have guessed that this is where I'd end up, but here I am!
Day in the life of a community manager
It's my job to develop a space on Discord for Rumie learners to connect on Rumie topics. Consider it a virtual coffee shop where patrons can chat or sit back and people-watch.
While every day is unique, at any time you might find me:
Providing warm welcomes, support, Byte suggestions, or resume reviews for our Discord members
Hosting virtual events inspired by Bytes
Soliciting feedback from members and using it to re-organize or add features to the Discord server
Growing our team of server volunteers and supporting active ones
Emailing and meeting virtually with potential partners whose mission aligns with Rumie's
Writing Bytes for the Rumie library (like this one!)
Providing insights to my colleagues about the community to drive thoughtful updates to Rumie tech
The role allows flexible work hours and is entirely remote so I work from home. I choose to keep roughly 9-5 hours Monday to Friday to match my partner's schedule.
Keys to success as a community manager
Since my role is flexible, I am responsible for developing the structure to manage my time and contribute to the team effectively.
I keep track of tasks with an online Kanban board, use the Pomodoro method if I feel stuck, and check in with colleagues to provide and receive support where needed.
Being a "people person" is an absolute must! Community managers quickly build and maintain genuine relationships with members, participants, guests, or visitors.
One strategy I use is to initiate a conversation with each new member to create a welcoming environment. I provide additional guidance for folks new to using Discord and non-native English speakers.
Welcoming a new member to the server ⤴
To maintain the safety of a community, a community manager must clearly define community guidelines and uphold them even through conflict in a firm but caring way.
In a public Discord server setting, I might need to de-escalate heated conversations, redirect discussions to be on-topic, and occasionally remove members who choose not to follow the guidelines.
My approach to directly addressing tricky situations (while remaining calm) is to use a "WIN" statement:
When you X it impacts Y. Next time, please Z.
The statement clearly identifies the concern and why it is important, but also specifies how behaviours in the future should look. For example:
When you repeatedly ping server staff it distracts them from actually reponding to requests for support. Next time, please ping once and be patient: server staff will be by soon to address your concern!
My roadmap to becoming a community manager
Bachelor of Arts and Sciences: I took courses in Psychology and Ecology, sought out volunteer and contract work that interested me, and actively worked to discover how I could combine them.
The spark: While working in an ecology lab one summer, it clicked that I had no interest in lab work beyond a temporary role and I discovered my interest in education, but not in a school classroom.
Master of Education: I combined my nature and education interests to write a thesis on the long-term influence of taking specialized outdoor integrated education programs in high school through participant interviews.
Professional naturalist: In my first full-time role I worked at a nature centre, building community with visitors while sharing my enthusiasm for nature. My work turned online in 2020 in light of global events, and I realized that I loved working in the online education space!
Teaching children as a naturalist ⤴
You can catch me taking a walk after work these days! ⤴
A new challenge with Rumie: I contacted a Rumie staff member for an informational interview, joined as a volunteer Learning Designer, and worked part-time before becoming the full-time community manager.
My advice to anyone still figuring out their career path is to find patterns in what brings you fulfillment beyond just a job title. It isn't always a quick process, but it's certainly worth the effort.
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