Meet Francesca Funayama, Community Manager for International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children Australia (ICMEC Australia).
Fran has been been a community manager for almost 10 years. She studied neuroscience and music at uni with the intention of becoming an academic. She finished her Grad Dip in Science (basically, Honours) and decided to not
pursue research. Fran got into community management simply by asking to: “I was already working part-time as a content moderator at a local startup. When I heard my manager was leaving, I asked if I could have her job (Content and Community Manager) and they said yes.”
She has built up her skills and knowledge from saying yes to the right opportunities, diving into the deep end and just doing the work. Some of the things she has subsequently said yes to over her career: tech startups, agencies, not-for-profits, gaming and fintech.
At Swarm this year Fran will talk us through her learnings from from creating a private B2B community of practice for the Australian child sexual exploitation (CSE) response ecosystem.
What’s unique about working on your community?
I’m currently working for a non-profit organisation with a mission to enhance the detection, reporting and prosecution of child sexual exploitation (CSE) facilitated online. We support financial crimes teams, law enforcement, regulators, child protection NGOs and tech platforms in their fight against this crime.
The ICMEC Australia Member Portal is unique because there is no other Australian-based community of its kind focused on bringing together stakeholders from multiple sectors to tackle CSE. The Portal is purpose-built and is restricted to invite-only screened membership to ensure that we are only engaging with people who are working to fight this crime.
What’s one important lesson you have for community managers working with sensitive topics?
One of the most valuable lessons for me since I started working in this space is that it’s so important to invest in trauma-informed awareness training. I’m very grateful to ICMEC Australia for organising a training workshop earlier this year as I didn’t know what the concept was prior. It has changed the way I interact with anyone, even outside of my community management work.
What’s your favourite community right now and why?
Sickick’s fan community across YouTube and Discord. It’s the only “sanctuary” community that I regularly escape to for a solid experience of good music and good vibes.
It’s easy to become jaded with the crap you run into on the internet so it’s important for me to remind myself that there are pockets of positivity.
What do you consider the most exciting thing about the community management space today?
I think the most exciting and simultaneously scary thing is AI. There’s so much potential for it to be used maliciously but at the same time, I can’t even begin to imagine how we can use it to improve our effectiveness as community managers.
What do you consider the most challenging thing about the community management space today?
I think the lack of recognition of the profession continues to be an ongoing challenge, even today. Community management is not a new profession compared to social media management or content creation. Not many people are aware of its history or its why.
In saying that, one of the few industries where this is less of a challenge is the gaming industry. Gaming companies and streamers alike understand the necessity and value of community management.
What are you reading/watching/listening to right now that all community professionals should read/watch/listen to?
I’m a long-term subscriber of James Clear’s 3-2-1 newsletter. It isn’t specific to community management, but I find myself regularly recommending it to everyone. It’s a great weekly newsletter for self-reflection and self-improvement. The points in it can be applied to any area of life but they work well in a community management context as well.
Why should community peeps come to Swarm?
It can be isolating being the sole community person in an organisation, even in cases where you’ve got wide buy-in. There are so many nuances to our profession that only another community professional will get. So, people should come to Swarm to be with their peeps ✌🏼