You don’t choose Community Management. Community Management chooses you.

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I’m a South African, married to a very handsome Englishman, and live in one of the most beautiful corners of the UK countryside. As many of my counterparts, I went to university, studied a course that would, hopefully, allow me to earn a lot of money one day, and ended up following a career that was remarkably different to what I studied. Why? Because I followed opportunities that I was passionate about. Things that mattered to me.

So, when someone asks me how I ended up in Community Management – it’s not usually something that I answer without a cup of tea in my hand.

Earl Grey, drop of milk, no sugar.

A few years ago, a very tragic occurrence happened in our little village when the main route into and out of the town was blocked by a road tunnel that collapsed after a considerably heavy rainy season, killing 2 people who happened to be driving through the tunnel at the time.  The tunnel provided the lifeblood of regular, and passing by, traffic into and out of the town, en route to the seaside. Quintessentially English, our town centre (with all 15 – 20 little shops) took a massive hit as their lifeblood depended not only on the regular visitors, but the passers by.

As a result, a group of us decided to club together to focus not on what the council were NOT doing to improve the situation, but rather look at how we could PROMOTE the town as a destination.

And it worked.

Between us, we developed and built an entire online community campaign in order to raise the profile of the town to holiday makers and neighbouring towns. We obtained the buy in from all the business owners in the town who put community campaign posters in their windows. We used social media to reach people who’ve never visited, we promoted home industry and interesting happenings, we highlighted history and stories of years gone by.

We had big city folk decide to visit the town as a destination. We saw travel journals and papers write about quaint “escapes to the country”, and suddenly, our town became a destination, not a stopover.

It all happened because we saw a need – a need to unite in order to achieve a goal, and it meant that we had the right people, doing the right things, to drive the best results.

That’s how community found me.

You don’t choose Community Management - Katy Roberts

Fast forward a few years, and I’ve made this my career. I now work for an amazing company called blur Group. We’re an international e-commerce company providing a better way for businesses to buy or sell business services. I now head up the Community Management team, where it is our job to look after our 50,000+ users from all over the world and make sure that they have what they need, understand how things work, and to highlight the benefits of belonging to, and using, the blur Community to grow and develop their businesses.

It’s not something I studied. Community Management is something that was developing within me, throughout my whole life, without me giving it a second thought. It’s my make up, it’s what drives me.  I’m a carer by nature, a nurturer, but I never thought it would become my career. And I absolutely love what I do.

BUT, what I love even more is the community (please, pardon that…) of Community Managers all over the world, who are just as passionate, driven and excited about what they do. There are no stereotypes or green monsters that lurk in the nooks of the Community Management passages, there aren’t a bunch of people who are trying to outshine, out-do, over-power any other Community Management. We are all drivers who understand the importance of developing our Community, who can relate to playing the role of a gardener, a sponge, a traffic cop, a pinata, a sculptor, a spam warrior and mediavore and we do what we do with the largest amount of empathy and sensitivity. (My favourite infographic where this comes from). We are customer obsessed and our mission is to serve our Community in the best way that we can.

And that’s why I am honoured to have been chosen by Community Management, to do what I love most.  

Enjoy Katy’s story? Want to share yours? We’d love to hear your journey of community management, starting right here.

Katy Roberts

Senior Community Manager at blur Group
Katy Roberts was born in France, grew up in South Africa, worked in Taiwan and now lives in the UK (with a few bits and bobs thrown in between). She’s met amazing people, seen amazing places and rates eating sheep testicles as one of her all time memorable foodie moments. She’s the author of A ChopstiX Guide to Taiwan, loves Earl Grey Tea and has a dribbling cat named Bill and a somewhat unstable Cocker Spaniel named Fia.

Now heading up the Community Management team at blur Group - an international e-commerce business providing a better way for businesses to buy or sell services - Katy is responsible for supporting her team to generate great content, develop and manage a fantastic service provider Community of more than 47,000 experts from around the world, drive the blur Group social media voice.
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