Bittersweet Goodbyes and New Trails

David Spinks and Erica McGillivray at CMX Summit 2018
David and me on stage and goofing around after CMX Summit 2018.

Every community professional knows: the hardest thing about job changes is leaving your community and team. Leaving the people you’ve met, interact with daily, and hopefully, have been able to help along their paths. Saying goodbye to your community, and to the team(s) you’ve worked with, is bittersweet because, at the end of the day, it’s the people who matter.

After two and a half years, last Friday, July 5th, was my final day with CMX/Bevy. When you work at startups — the incredible ups and downs — can feel even more impactful. In my time with two major programs, CMX Summit and the CMX Pro membership program, the team went from 0 to 100 mph, iterated in different ways, led with our hearts, and joined the Bevy crew.

I’ve been lucky and privileged to work in the most meta of communities: a community of community professionals. Which means putting together programs and working with the best minds in the industry — those tackling huge problems or on the innovated edges — like those at Amazon, the Coral Project, the Alzheimer’s Society, and more. They pushed me to be a better community manager.

One push, I remember being pretty thrilled at the releasing and reporting on the community health for CMX Pro. I shared it with the community, both to be transparent and to give a reporting framework members might use for their own community. Ben Leong commented on my post and gave a preview of his health tracking, and let’s just say that mine was multiplication tables compared to his advanced calculus. And graciously, Ben crafted an entire CMX Summit talk around it and answered every question (including the clueless ones from me).

Of course, I stayed with CMX because of the great team. CMX Founder David Spinks is really that extroverted, and he’s an idea machine, or as we affectionately started calling those ideas, Spinks’ Bombs. He’s always pushing for the expansion of community roles and the enhancement of the industry. David and I also spent a lot of time discussing and dissecting the various emotional and behavioral problems of our surliest family members: our cats.

I also had the privilege of working with Carrie Melissa Jones, an extraordinary community builder, now killing it with her Gather consultancy. I’ve had the great pleasure of her counsel and getting to spend time with her dog, Bruce Wayne.

The experience wouldn’t have been the same without Katie McCauley, Matt Roney, Dom Garrett, Charlene Ditch, Tawny Rose Case, and Sam Weber. Each of them brought their passions and whole-self to work, and each of them, I’ve had the honor of conspiring with, socializing, and seeing them grow and expand. I’m so glad for their friendships and joy.

And then with the addition of the entire Bevy team, wham-o, so many incredible people, all passionate about community. The first night I met Beth McIntyre in person, we sat in our Airbnb talking about the CMX Connect program and events for hours.

Okay — what’s next? (You can stop refreshing my LinkedIn and Twitter, as nothing’s been updated.)

I’m joining the startup, Permanence Labs, as a co-founder and VP: a big leap and a career path pivot. Permanence Labs builds products that solve evergreen business problems, and it reunites me with a former colleague, Tela Andrews. Our vision for 1Brand, the first product by Permanence Labs, is to be the source of truth for the world’s brand identities and is a software product. We’ll be launching 1Brand in a couple months, so stay tuned.

Permanence Labs isn’t the first time I’ve co-founded an organization, but the software industry is a bit different from a nonprofit. Though a fresh challenge I’m looking forward to, given my history inside software startups and desire to craft a new business bringing the best of what I’ve learned.

Don’t worry, wherever I go, community building will follow. That’s a given. It is, after all, about the people.

8 Replies to “Bittersweet Goodbyes and New Trails”

  1. Hey Erica, great post. It was great working with you! Best of luck with 1Brand. Thanks for helping to make CMX such a great community.

    1. Thanks, Lincoln! It was great to know you and work with you too. Can’t wait to see how the CMX community grows and changes. 🙂

  2. You did such an amazing job Erica! I was always impressed with your skills and calm approach to what I can only assume was somewhat chaotic at times. You’re leaving behind some huge shoes to fill. And you’re right about Ben, he great at blowing minds 😀

    1. Thank you, Travis! 🙂 I try to be calm as I learned a long time ago that if there was an actual fire to put it, it was best to call the fire department. Ben does that indeed! Always keeping us on our toes.

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