Cultivating Communities And Building Connections

Reflecting on community building with key members of our global team.

Tanggal diposting: 13 April,2018
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Bringing people together and facilitating dynamic engagement takes time and expertise. We asked some of the key members of our team for their thoughts on the subject ahead of our community launch on April 17.  

 

Community has been an important word for The Executive Centre of late. Bringing our members together to share resources, learn from each other and connect through common experience is an important step forward for both TEC and our membership. On April 17 we will be sharing some exciting new functionalities on our App, a brand new online forum for members, as well as an ongoing suite of offline events designed to leverage the power of our global network. Ahead of this, we asked some of the key members of our Global Community Team to share their thoughts on the importance of communities, what it takes to bring people together and the value of shared connections and experience.

 

Patsy Li – Global Community Director 

Tell us about your experience building and supporting communities. 

Before joining The Executive Centre, I worked with The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai for 5 years. I was focused on supporting the AmCham community via marketing, branding and business development, and connecting members through more than 500 annual events and partnerships.

Why has TEC decided to foreground the development and facilitation of community? 

TEC has more than 24 years’ experience as a Premium Serviced Office provider and has supported over 100,000 individuals during this time. TEC Global Community is an opportunity to facilitate connections between members, alumni and partners throughout our global network. It is an opportunity for TEC to leverage resources, support our members in their day-to-day, aid member expansion strategies and offer tailored professional development opportunities.

How can members currently experience community at TEC and what are the plans for the future? 

All our members (individual) can enjoy exclusive access to TEC Global Community Forum, our events series and special Member Benefits. In the future, we will be developing industry-specific events, and partnership programs with our members that facilitates a 360-degree interaction; B2B, B2C and M2M.

What will your role be in this? 

As Global Community Director, my role is to build an executive business community by connecting members online, through our forum and offline, by engaging members with quality events and programs that ultimately expand the membership network. I’m really looking forward to bringing true value to TEC members and continually improving their experience as we grow together.

 

Steven Bielinski – Senior Community Manager 

Tell us about your experience building and supporting communities.

Before joining The Executive Centre I worked for The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, the largest business community in the Asia Pacific. For five years I was responsible for industry-based programming, as well as annual conferences connecting 4,000 members from 1,800 different companies.

Any community is bound to have both serious and silly, that is, business and social elements that tie members together. A shared sense of purpose and loyalty grows over time as trust and camaraderie develop. Once the members of a community start collaborating and sharing resources they become a powerful, positive force.

Why has TEC decided to foreground the development and facilitation of community?

With nearly 20,000 members across 28 cities, The Executive Centre is in many sectors, already the epicentre of business success. Tearing down some of the walls that separate TEC members will create exciting new opportunities to facilitate their success in the future. By encouraging members to connect and collaborate, both online and offline, the new business development and learning opportunities are endless.

How can members currently experience community at TEC and what are the plans for the future?

TEC members can already take part in events hosted in their local city. Once TEC’s Global Community officially launches, members will be able to log in via the TEC mobile app to share business insights, requests for vendors and partnerships, access special local and global member benefits, register to attend events, and connect one-to-one with members across our global network of 20,000+. There has never been a more exciting time to be part of the TEC family!

What will your role be in this? 

I will be working with Patsy Li, Global Director of Community Engagement to oversee the TEC Community. Our job is to ensure that online content and benefits, as well as offline events across all centres are timely, relevant, and suit both the business, as well as social needs of our members.

What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?

A community is more than just a group of people with shared interests and intent, it’s a place to call home.

I am looking forward to getting to know more of our members and finding ways TEC can better serve them. The collective knowledge and experience of our members is an amazing, untapped resource. By connecting everyone who works in a TEC space, our members will not only gain new professional and business opportunities, but our team will be able to better anticipate their needs.

 

Our team has participated in intensive training ahead of our community rollout. Patsy Li (Global Community Director) and Steven Bielinski (Senior Community Manager) at a workshop with our India and Sri Lanka teams in Mumbai. 

 

Jono Bacon – Community Strategy Consultant 

How would you define ‘community’ and why do you think it’s such an important concept? 

Fundamentally, communities are groups of people who get together to share an interest or take part in the same goal. As humans we are social creatures; collaborating with other people brings additional meaning to our work and often nets better results. When we build engaging communities, it brings the insight and experience of the wider group into a collaborative environment, and this generates a significant amount of value. There is a lot of value and opportunity in communities, and this is why I work with organisations to help them build their own.

What would you say are the fundamental benefits of belonging to a community? 

There are numerous benefits for participants in a community.

Firstly, they often add immediate tangible value such as access to knowledge, education and a network of people who can provide guidance, mentoring and connections to support your goals. For business professionals, this can be invaluable. I have seen countless occasions of communities delivering skills, awareness and knowledge that has delivered huge value to either a business or individual career.

Communities often generate content and material such as guides, events, technology, services and more which can be useful in expanding the world view of how you run your business and career. In short, the community produces additive value the more it grows.

How do you even begin to develop a community? 

Building communities is complex work. When I work with clients, my first step is to really understand their core goals and what they want to achieve. I then break this down into a set of key annual goals that ensures that the different teams involved are working toward the same core objectives. I then break this work down into tactical pieces such as setting up forums, putting incentives plans in place, creating content calendars and staff training.

This gets us to a position where we have the infrastructure and internal experience to launch a community. The next step is to measure engagement and adapt our strategy based on what we see. Communities are organic and at times unpredictable, so we need to grow and cultivate them based on the specific activity we are seeing. This results in natural, organic growth and comprehensive skills in the business.

Can you tell us a little about the kind of work that you did with TEC to establish the groundwork for the current and upcoming community program? 

When I started my engagement with TEC I first wanted to understand their goals. Part of this involved setting expectations around what communities can and can’t deliver, and what would be involved in TEC delivering this vision.

We then went into the strategic planning phase. This involved defining the value proposition, identifying and deploying infrastructure, producing internal standards of practice, recruiting and training, developing mobile apps, producing content plans and building up to a comprehensive launch.

We then invited a number of members to join our community in a closed beta and started optimising based on their feedback and activity. As usual, this was hugely insightful – we got to taste first-hand what our members will need. This is when we started tuning the machine in the build-up to launch.

In the most recent months we have continued this process of optimisation and as we launch, we will be continuing to make daily adjustments to our planning and team to ensure we are always able to offer maximum value to members. Importantly, we are eager for our community to play an active role in this work – together we can build THE world-class community for business professionals in APAC.

Speaking specifically about TEC, why do you think a focus on community is necessary or important? What do you think it will offer our members? 

I am incredibly excited about the TEC community. Across the many centres and businesses who are members of TEC, there is an enormous amount of experience, expertise, and knowledge. I believe TEC can be the premier place to tap into business insight in the APAC region and beyond. Without a community, TEC offers a valuable service to members, but with a community, the TEC membership itself become a hugely valuable part of the overall member experience.

TEC has a talented staff and a leadership team that is passionate about the success of this work and I am confident this will be a tremendous success.

 

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