I Wanted To Be A Community Manager When I Grew Up

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When I Grew Up I Wanted to be a Community Manager - Teri Kojetin

I wanted to be a community manager when I grew up. How many of us say that? Nah, not me either.

Actually I wanted to be a nun or a teacher, until I knew that I was to be a missionary. And that’s what I pursued, trained four years for and did in Mexico for 15 years. That was my identity for years until my husband & I and our children returned to the United States 16 years ago.

After our return, I was at a loss, going from job to job: daycare, credit assistant and 3 jobs involving various forms of receptionist and administrative assistant work. I can’t say I loved any of these jobs and I dreamed of being able to work from home (mostly because I hated driving in Minnesota winters). Finally I found a job where I could do just that, though I had two jobs at the same time to make ends meet.

I was hired at ICUC, a social media services company for big brands, as a content specialist. I spent 3 months moderating content on social media pages for a large entertainment company and then 1 year moderating comments for several online newspapers. At the same time, I ran an eBook conversion company for my brother.

I really wanted to move into the marketing and social media department of ICUC because I loved writing. So I started volunteering to help out and in a month was hired full time for the position of Social Media & Community Coordinator. I gave the eBook business back to my brother and happily settled into my new position writing for ICUC’s publications and managing their social media accounts. I am also responsible for our internal Google+ community as well as the CSR (corporate social responsibility) Champion for the company.

All this to say that I have found my career and my passion after 12 ½ years of wandering (after my return to the US). Even though this position came to me after I turned 50, I feel I have been preparing for it my entire life. When I think back to my childhood, teen years, college, family and mission field, I realize that I have experienced and practiced community management in all these areas.

Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote on LinkedIn about learning community management from childhood on up:

  • Family: I grew up with 4 brothers and 1 sister, all of us in a span of 11 years. If that wasn’t practice for community management I don’t know what was! I ended up being the stabilizer and peacemaker in many ways.
  • School: This presented a whole arena from playground to lunchroom to classroom and most of it was determined by peer pressure. You belonged or you didn’t. I was not one of the “cool” kids and it helped me be compassionate, empathetic and wanting to make sure others felt included and accepted.
  • College: This is where you get to start the journey as an adult. I learned to interact with respect, listen to others and form opinions. I learned to discuss without attacking. It’s a time of learning and practicing what you learn.
  • Missionary: I spent 15 years in Mexico. I learned to appreciate a different culture and adopt it. I learned how to mentor and teach. If you don’t embrace the culture you find yourself in, then you will never feel settled and at home.
  • Jobs: My various jobs are where I learned to work as a team. We all work together for the common goal. Collaboration, communication, respect, time, and patience: these are all needed for the workplace to run smoothly.
  • Friends: This is the goldmine of community management prep. I am real with my friends. Transparency, honesty, kindness, generosity, helpfulness, understanding…the list goes on and on. I learned to bring out the best in others and encourage good feelings and actions. I learned to trust and be trustworthy.

We learn the art of managing communities throughout our entire lifetime and I consider myself fortunate to not only continue learning but have it in my title as well. We all have a story. What’s yours?

Teri Kojetin

Social Media & Community Coordinator at ICUC
Teri is responsible for creating content and engaging on ICUC’s social spaces and publications. Passionate about social media and CSR she strives to motivate and inspire action. When not posting photos of her granddaughter and food, Teri can be found enjoying time with family, reading, writing and cooking.
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