Meet Jess Erhart, Community Manager APAC for Asana.
Jess has worked as a community manager for 12+ years with a focus on building brand communities in the tech industry. Her experience is mixed across in-person and virtual community management, and always working to find the sweet spot between community needs and organisational goals.
Currently at Asana, she manages the Asana Together Ambassador program for members across the Asia-Pacific region, hosting events and training programs for Asana’s biggest fans – passionate about productivity, efficiency and collaboration.
Previously, she spent over 6 years at Microsoft leading community and philanthropy programs in Australia, established Virgin Australia’s social media customer service program and managed social communities for Microsoft’s European HQ.
At Swarm this year, Jess will be talking us through Building a thriving global community: working cross-culturally and thinking globally.
What’s unique about working on your community?
The volume of different touchpoints combined with the global reach Asana Together is pretty special; encompassing a forum, program of events and a membership program.
What’s your favourite community right now and why?
I love STEMMinist Bookclub set up by Dr Caroline Ford at the University of New South Wales. What started as a goal to read more in the new year has evolved into a wonderful online and offline community, with participants interested in STEM, feminism and reading – with meetups happening all around the world. Check them out on Twitter!
What do you consider the most exciting thing about the community management space today?
I’m most excited by communities that drive real impact and change – be it commercial, social or both. In the past, stories of impact have often been the driver – but I love that the community industry as a whole now has a greater set of tools to analyse and showcase the impact of community programs.
What do you consider the most challenging thing about the community management space today?
From my experience of building community in larger software companies – finding the right internal collaborators. Not everyone ‘gets’ the importance of a strong community, and it can take time to build a network of engaged internal stakeholders and collaborators.
What are you reading/watching/listening to right now that all community professionals should read/watch/listen to?
I love to read so have many book recommendations.
For community – I have a much-highlighted copy, frequently referenced copy of ‘Building Brand Communities’ by Carrie Melissa Jones and Charles Vogl.
For leadership and management – I often refer back to ‘Followership’ by Barbara Kellerman.
For building tech literacy – I’ve been recommending ‘The Atlas of AI’ by Kate Crawford to everyone.
Why should community peeps come to Swarm?
Our industry shifts so quickly; adapting to changes of both the interests of organisations we represent and the communities we build and advocate for – conferences like Swarm are uniquely placed to offer a ‘finger on the pulse’ of our industry!