I’m Serena, an online community professional based in London. Over the last 14 years I’ve been building and managing online communities at some of the UK’s leading health charities. Bringing people together to empower, connect and inform means the world to me.
I recently changed focus in my career to spend more time on Good Community, a consultancy I started in 2021 so I can share the breadth and depth of working full-time in online community management for over a decade!
My aim is to share my experience and good practice in community management, to help non-profits and charities to thrive. You can find out more about my experience below.
Working with me
I work primarily with charities and non-profits to provide advice on community strategy and community management and have delivered training and coaching to empower and enable community teams to thrive.
I’ve designed and facilitated training and workshops in: the how and why of content moderation, online empathic communication, self-care for community teams, safeguarding community members, and motivation and skills for online community volunteers.
I’ve provided advice and information about: migrating community platforms, developing employee or volunteer roles, hiring and onboarding people, community profession trends and challenges, developing community strategy, and demonstrating buy-in and impact.
I’ve spoken about: burnout and community building, self-care for community managers, how to listen to your community, the advantages and challenges of online community building, and how to manage emotional labour.
My work at Alzheimer’s Society
For 11 years I worked at Alzheimer’s Society, a non-profit in the UK and spent 7 years overseeing Dementia Talking Point, an online peer support community.
In that time the community grew from 20,000 to over 85,000 members and as we scaled, I helped to introduce a new volunteer team, increase employee headcount, and to recruit, train and lead a remote and distributed team.
In the role I led three teams of volunteers and employees in different countries and with different roles, as well as overseeing product management and service development, creating community policy, securing buy-in and funding, leading on moderation, demonstrating impact, delivering strategic impact, and raising the profile of the online community internally and externally.
I also planned and led a complete community redesign and rebuild project, moving the entire online community to a new software platform!
As part of my role, I received training from the Helplines Partnership and Samaritans in Safeguarding, Emotional Resilience, Empathic Communication and Managing Difficult Contacts.
I have spoken at charity sector and community professional events, on podcasts, and at community management conferences about this work (see below for more details).
Community industry experience
In 2022 I was invited to judge the Non-Profit category of the Community Industry Awards, and in 2020 I was a finalist in the Community Industry Awards in the Executive Lead category.
In 2019 I co-founded CMX London and spent time building the professional networking community until March 2022. I have also been active in the Knowledge and Community Network and the Guild Community Collective.
I have helped to support Modbods, a community of practice for people running peer support online communities at non-profits and charities in the UK and Ireland. As part of this, I’ve facilitated online and offline peer support events, and actively contributed to group discussions.
Speaking and writing
Hear me speak about the work I do and share insights on community building:
- I share insight on the truth about community building and burnout at a video event for Disciple Media, sharing insight on how to understand burnout, recognise its impact of burnout and how to prevent it
- I share insights on the advantages, challenges, and top tips for community building in a video event on fostering community engagement
- A helpful written summary of my keynote talk on managing emotional labour as a community professional, learning how to ethically and self-protectively manage emotional labour when community building gets tough.
- In this episode on Community Signal you can hear me speak about running a community for people with dementia and user-led services.
- Read my advice in Third Sector on how to support frontline online staff and develop procedures to look after their mental health.