From Journalism to Community Management

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My journey began working towards a career in journalism after taking a co-op placement in grade 11 at a popular teen magazine. I co-edited my high school newspaper after that, spent my summers at internships to build my portfolio and was Managing Editor for my university newspaper before freelancing. I then took my writing skills to marketing/communications in the telecom industry, first at one of Canada’s “Big 3” wireless providers, and then four years at wireless startups. I simply got hooked to startup life. I’ve heard the saying, “one year at a startup is equivalent to two years anywhere else”, and I couldn’t agree more. There’s really nothing like experiencing the highs and lows of building a company.

Fast forward to May 2012

I landed my current role as Community Manager for the ICE (Information Technology, Communications and Entertainment) Practice at Canada’s largest innovation centre, MaRS Discovery District. My role is probably a little different from most community managers’. MaRS is a non-profit, mandated to scale local technology startups by providing them with business/technical advisory services, education, market research, and connecting them to talent, customers and capital. My group actively works with and advises over 500 technology startups located in the Toronto area alone. That’s a very large community to support. There’s constantly news to share and people to connect, as the Ontario entrepreneurship community continues to grow at a rapid pace. It’s a lot of stories, but sometimes it feels as though these startups tell the MaRS story for us.

Jennifer Marron Toronto TechCrunch Meetup

My ‘day’ job

There’s no such thing as an “average day” at MaRS. Looking at what went on this past week, I tweeted the visit of a Minister of Parliament, attended a well-known startup education & networking event, hosted a female angel investor from Manhattan and connected 25 women startup CEOs to one another. My days are filled with creating and curating all kinds of content to be shared with our 45,000+ social media followers. I get to help spread the latest from the tech community as it happens. I attend and host many events in and around the city (ever heard of a hackathon?) and connect entrepreneurs to who they need to meet. My team is situated in one of Toronto’s top co-working spaces for tech startups, counting Etsy and Songza as neighbours. Next week, I move to an expanded Community Manager role and to support all of MaRS. As you may be able to tell, I truly love what I do.

My advice:

  • Work at a startup, especially if it’s your own!
  • Get out there and don’t be shy to approach someone at an event and introduce yourself.
  • Build your personal brand by supporting your company’s brand. Be visible in your community and have your own voice.

From Journalist to Community Manager - Jennifer Marron - Speaking Happy #CMAD!

Jennifer Marron

Community Manager, ICE Practice at MaRS Discovery District
Jennifer Marron is the Community Manager for MaRS Discovery District's Information Technology, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) Practice. With a background in journalism, Jennifer spent four consecutive years working at telecommunications startups in communications, marketing and PR. Follow her @j_marron.

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