Celebrate Black History Month by recognizing Black community builders

February is Black History Month, a time to reflect and celebrate the significant roles that Black Americans have played in shaping history.

Community can be a powerful tool for social change, and creating environments that celebrate diverse perspectives is important to building a more inclusive and equitable world. But there’s still work to be done to proactively manage diversity, equity and inclusion in community spaces, and to bring more Black voices to the table in community roles.

To celebrate Black History Month at CMX, we’re highlighting influential Black community builders shaping the future of the industry. These community managers, thought leaders and experts are working to build better and stronger communities, laying the groundwork today for a more connected, more inclusive future.

We’ve included links to resources from these incredible community builders on a range of topics including building value-led organizations, developing emotional intelligence, and community moderation. Be sure to follow these experts for more inspiration all year long.

Kebone Moloko 

Co-Founder and CEO, Queer Women in Business + Allies

Kebone Moloko is the co-founder and CEO of Queer Womxn in Business + Allies. At QWB+A, Kebone leads a community of 1000+ queer African womxn founders. Her mission is to harness the power of community building and technology to drive more equity and inclusion in business.

Tamar Blue 

Founder and CEO, MentalHappy

Tamar Blue is the founder and CEO of MentalHappy, a community that helps people improve their emotional well-being through positive peer support. Tamar is an outstanding community leader whose passion is helping people live more fulfilled lives.

Her advice for promoting inclusivity in communities? Conduct inclusion training for every person involved in creating brand content. Include members of your internal team, outside contractors, and the leadership team. Everyone must share the responsibility of promoting inclusion.

Ashleigh Brookshaw

Founder, C2M Digital

Ashleigh Brookshaw is a digital change enthusiast and an expert in online community engagement and cultural change management through diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) that drives business results.

She is the founder of C2M Digital, where she consults on organizational change management through DEI and online community building.

On February 23, Ashleigh will lead a workshop for the CMX community focused on creating an equitable member experience through online community. This workshop will teach you how to manage member experience against strategic DEI priorities and build lasting equitable and inclusive member experiences.

Register to join us today!

Angelica Coleman

Former Senior Community Manager, Snowflake

Angie Coleman is a community builder extraordinaire who transforms communities from generic support-focused forums to multi-functioning engagement platforms.

A former Senior Community Manager at Snowflake, Angie created the 5 Es of Community for her talk at CMX Summit 2020. These Es determine the reasons for building your community, and can help power your community strategy.

Osioke Itseuwa 

Technical Advocate, Discourse

Osioke “Sprime” Itseuwa is a community and growth consultant, and a technical advocate at Discourse. He’s a pro at researching consumer habits and analyzing qualitative data to build engaging consumer experiences, as well as a problem-solver who improves the world around him. Check out more resources and current projects on Osioke’s website.

Shana Sumers 

Principal Marketing Manager, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Community Programming, HubSpot

Shana Sumers is the head of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Community Programming at HubSpot. She’s also co-host of the Bad Queers Podcast and formerly worked to build community spaces for the LGBTA community as head of community at HER.

Shana recently sat down with CMX to dive deep into how to build a moderation team that not only supports a diverse and inclusive community, but brings the voices of underrepresented groups to the front. Check out the full Masters of Community episode below for more.

Kobie Fuller

Partner, Upfront Ventures

Kobie Fuller is a partner at Upfront Ventures and the founder of Valence, a networking platform that unites and uplifts Black professionals. In a fireside chat from CMX Summit, Kobie shared his thoughts on the increasing trend of companies focusing on community, and his advice for how community managers can articulate their impact on core business products.

Gordon Bellamy

Visiting Scholar, USC Games

Gordon Bellamy is a seasoned gaming professional with extensive experience building community in the gaming industry. His views on how community can power social movements and lead to social change should inspire anyone building communities aligned to social movements — or really, anyone who believes that community can make the world a better place.

Leah McGowen-Hare

VP, Trailblazer Community and Trailhead Evangelism at Salesforce

Do you know Leah McGowen-Hare, VP, Trailblazer Community and Trailhead Evangelism at Salesforce? You should! Leah’s an accomplished thought leader and master technical trainer with 20+ years of experience. She’s an educator, a speaker, and a specialist in developing programs that make tech accessible to everyone.

Travis King

Host, The Community Builder Show

Travis King is an expert on bringing people together and building community through human connections. At CMX Summit 2020, he shared his view that being able to meaningfully connect with yourself is the first step to building community — and his advice for how to be more emotionally curious, unpack your emotions, and equip yourself to take on new opportunities.

For more, check out Travis’s work on The Community Builder Show.

Maryella Marie

Virtual Event Moderator, PowerToFly

Maryella Marie is a renaissance womxn with expertise in developing inclusive brand awareness. Her work focuses on raising emotional intelligence through by collaborating with provocative creatives to integrate our common ethos and instigate social change.

She currently interviews diverse leaders on PowerToFly, while curating social impact initiatives on The Positive Force Team. Sign up for The Positive Force Team’s newsletter to schedule a free emotional intelligence training demo, participate in EI-focused virtual events, workshops, and discussion groups, buy original artwork, get loose for a cause.

Vanessa Mason

Research Director, Future of Belonging

Vanessa Mason is a Research Director at the Future of Belonging, a nonprofit that helps individuals, organizations and communities think systematically about the future. Her research explores and reimagines wellbeing and belonging.

Join the Future of Belonging community for their 10-week collaboration to envision transformative stories and objects for building belonging at work over the next decade. RSVP for any or all sessions here.

Kat Vellos

Author, We Should Get Together

Kat Vellos is the author of We Should Get Together: The Secret to Cultivating Better Friendships and Connected from Afar: A Guide for Staying Close When You’re Far Away.

Her background is in user experience design, and she’s now a speaker, educator, and facilitator who helps others transform disconnection and platonic longing into authentic connection and fulfilling friendship. A prolific community convener, she’s also the founder of the group Bay Area Black Designers and the creator of Better than Small Talk.

Kat delivered an inspiring and insightful talk during CMX Summit 2020 about actionable steps that adults can take to start having better friendships right away. To learn more about Kat or to bring her to your company, conference, or community as a speaker or facilitator, connect with her at katvellos.com.

Miki Toliver King

CMO, The Washington Post

Miki Toliver King is the Chief Marketing Officer at The Washington Post. Her passion for community values and linking a brand’s core beliefs to its business outcomes and marketing campaigns has led her to transform communities and businesses.

Here’s how she brings The Washington Post’s core values to its readers:

  • Being vocal to readers about the company’s values
  • Amplifying the voices of those who cannot tell their story
  • Leading campaigns with core content and values
  • Partnering with organizations with shared values

Do you know someone we should add to this post? Drop us a line in the comments!

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