I became a Community Manager without realizing it.

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When I was starting my senior year of college I had no clue what I wanted to do once I graduated. All I knew was that I loved being active with student life on campus. I was in practically every club, an officer in several, and was on the cabinet of Student Senate. One of my professors suggested I look into getting a Master’s in Higher Education Administration so I could build a career out of my passion for student life.

Thanks to some assistantships during graduate school I also found that I had an interest in teaching and vocational counseling. After graduation I found myself on a path to building a career as an academic and career advisor. I did this for several years, but as time moved on I found myself looking for a new challenge. The university I was working for had just introduced a new online-only program and asked me if I’d be willing to advise that group.

When I stepped into that position I quickly realized that these students wanted more than information on internships and how to plan out their schedule. They were looking to find a sense of community with their cohort even though they were remote students who could rarely, if ever meet in person. Through virtual group office hours, utilizing social platforms such as Pinterest, and the occasional in-person meet up for those who could a tight-knit community was formed.

This lead to a change I never saw coming, less than two years after building a community with online students I found myself working at a tech startup as a community manager. I thought I’d be a fish out of water, but I wasn’t. The principles of community building and the desire for community members to connect and feel valued is universal.

I became a Community Manager without realizing it.

If you’d have asked me 10 years ago if I’d see activities like getting up at 5 AM to fill a jet pack with hot chocolate to serve people on Black Friday, facilitating and moderating conversations in forums with topics ranging from fitness training to passions for an individual web series, or hosting panels and product training events would become my norm I would have laughed. Life takes us to places we’d never dare to imagine. Fortunately, I’ve been taken the route of community management.

Paula Rosenberg

Community Manager at VHX
Paula is a former student counselor turned Community Manager. She’s currently VHX’s first Community Manager. She’s had previous gigs at Quirky, Pogo Events, The New School, and Grand Valley State University. Outside of giving her community some TLC, Paula is a freelance writer. You can read her musings at Modspinster. She lives in NYC with her pet rabbit, Milo.

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