Transformation

Meet the flag-bearers: Insights and inspiration from Slack Community Leads

Building connection and community from the ground up

By the team at SlackJune 8th, 2021

As a technical recruiter at Miro, an online whiteboarding tool, Alla Pavlova’s job is all about relationships—finding people with great talent and connecting them with the right position.

She saw the opportunity to establish a new Slack community chapter in Amsterdam in much the same vein, a way to build relationships among her fellow tech workers. “It felt like a very natural step,” she said.

Pavlova has taken the chapter from zero to more than 100 strong, relying on the support and mentorship from her fellow community members and honing her leadership skills in the process. Among the many things she has learned: how to tailor outreach to attract the right type of audience and how regular touchpoints are necessary to nurture a fledgling community. “As soon as I plan events, I already advertise another one,” she said. “Just to keep people going. I already have the plan for my next, actually. I have a plan for the whole year.”

Pavlova is part of a close-knit group of leaders across Slack’s 89 community chapters worldwide. They support anyone using Slack, from complete beginners to long-time experts, developers and admins.

Community chapters began as a way to connect our users organically, recognize innovative work on the platform by customers and share knowledge among our passionate user base. As part of its growth and evolution, every community chapter has access to professional community organizers and a set of guiding principles to ensure a meaningful experience. Those principles are:

  • Helping one another thrive
  • Inspiring curiosity in others
  • Giving back to one another
  • Connecting with the community

Joining a chapter is easy, free and flexible. Search for your city, country or region to see future and past events and to get to know your chapter leaders. Don’t see a chapter near you? Why not apply to lead a new one?

Alla Pavlova

“You might be surprised by how engaging this community is and how supportive it can be. You can even find friends and work on projects together.”

Alla PavlovaTechnical Recruiter, Miro

Matheus Bitencourt, a technical leader at IBM, has long valued the creative sparks found at hackathons and technical meetups. Those experiences ultimately led him to start the community’s Rio de Janeiro chapter.

For Bitencourt, the rewards come in the form of helping members improve their careers. Case in point: He recently ran a Slack bot-building seminar, with a handful of students in attendance. Ultimately, the apps they conceived of and built, plus their connection with Bitencourt, helped them land internships and jobs at companies like IBM, changing the course of their lives.

“I love to share knowledge because I believe technology is all about this—giving opportunity to everyone.”

Matheus BitencourtTechnical Lead, IBM

Anthony Del Campo, a co-leader from the Charlotte, North Carolina, chapter, works in education tech at Discovery Education, overseeing and administering his company’s Slack workspace.

His journey as a chapter lead started as a participant. “I found it on Meetup. Brandon, my fellow and peer chapter leader, posted something. I like to get involved in the community around many different aspects of technology, and participate in other tech get-togethers. So I found Slack, and I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll give it a try and show up.’”

From that serendipitous moment, the Charlotte chapter has grown and thrived. The payoffs are both professional and personal for Del Campo. On the professional front, the opportunities to share knowledge with other admins has been welcome assistance. Person-to-person, the gains have been equally lasting.

“I think any time that you bring people together to share great moments, it just makes you feel good,” Del Campo said, encouraging anyone on the fence about joining a chapter to check it out. One recent well-attended event focused on training attendees on how they could all get Slack certified, but beginners are very much welcome.

“It’s a great community to be a part of. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s a no-judgment zone,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure to meet other people in our community, and I love the way people share personal practices and network in a way that betters all of our professional lives.”

Alexandra Sunderland, the co-lead of Canada’s Ottawa chapter and an engineering manager at Fellow, a company which started as a Slack app, said lessons learned from its community workspace are helping her do better on the job. For example, to aid in new-hire onboarding, she set up an automated greeting that guides new hires to company resources and their workplace’s most important channels.

For the chapter, Sunderland plans events, books speakers and develops programs, which has allowed her to make a personal impact in many ways, including creating an inclusive environment for all.

“One of my favorite things about leading this community is that I get to make the tech events that I want to attend,” she said, recalling an event they hosted pre-pandemic at Shopify, taking over a cafe space in freezing conditions.

“The place was packed. We had 60 people show up in the middle of the Ottawa winter at night. Everyone was talking to each other, everybody was introducing themselves to people they didn’t know. It wasn’t just people sticking within their groups and sitting silently. It was a super social event,” Sunderland said. “There were so many people there that weren’t developers as well, which is what we were aiming for. Anybody was free to join and everybody could feel like they’re a part of it. Seeing the community come together like that was really, really great.”

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