This is unlike any Year in Review post I’ve ever done.
As I wrote the wrap-up for CMX Connect 2019, I remember grinning ear to ear, so proud of the CMX Connect Hosts and the program we built together. As I reflect on CMX Connect 2020, my heart feels different.
The numbers from this year would have shocked me a year ago — but that’s not what feels different. Yes, I will share those numbers at the end of this article (because they are incredible). But first I wanted to share the story of the CMX Connect Hosts.
“The CMX Connect program has had such a huge impact on me, in so many ways. It has allowed me to hear incredible local professionals in the industry talk about their experiences; enabled me to learn from best practices of other communities; broadened my network of local community rockstars in industries different than mine; and my co-hosts that were once my colleagues in the field are now my friends and partners for life!” –Andreia Tulcidas, CMX Connect Portugal
We began 2020 with 63 CMX Connect Hosts. This team of passionate community builders had volunteered to host events in their local CMX communities. In the first two months of the year alone, we had 27 new CMX Connect Host applications!
Then came March. News of lockdowns began to surface, and states of emergency were declared around the world. Slowly but surely, our March events were cancelled. I shared resources for the Connect Hosts, offered as much support as I could, and made space for them to ask questions and seek advice. But I still had a moment where I thought, “well, that’s the end of CMX Connect.”
But then, in April, something amazing happened. I think of it as the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, after he’s stolen Christmas (spoiler alert) and there is silence in Whoville. But at that moment, we start to hear singing, and we realize that nothing can destroy the Whos’ spirit. In April, I felt like I could hear that singing.
Through the challenges and uncertainty, the CMX Connect Hosts rallied and showed their resilience. The CMX Connect program migrated to virtual events — and the results were nothing short of incredible.
“It’s a great privilege to organize and facilitate events as a CMX Connect Host. The overall experience of getting on board with the detailed playbook, connecting with fellow hosts, getting help from the community, learning from community professionals is top-notch.” –Preetish Panda, CMX Connect Toronto, Canada
Our CMX Connect London and CMX Connect Madrid chapters continued to host events every single month this year. Our CMX Connect Portugal chapter teamed up with multiple chapters in Brazil, and even hosted a global Portuguese-language event! We had speakers from the USA at European events and CMX Connect Hosts from Pakistan tuning into virtual events in San Francisco. The CMX Connect Recife team in Brazil even translated CMX resources into Portuguese for their members, while CMX Connect Lagos continued strong even as protests rocked the country.
Left: CMX Connect Lahore, Pakistan, October. Right: CMX Connect Portugal, September. Cover image: CMX Connect Madrid Spain, in May
The entire global team was having conversations, sharing advice, and solving problems. They picked each other up, learned from each other, and teamed up to host incredible events locally and globally. This year, they connected people, taught community builders, and gave the CMX community a safe space to be themselves and build meaningful relationships.
I think that’s what’s different about this year. This year, I saw the hearts of the CMX Connect Hosts, who are so full of passion they create spaces for other people to learn and grow even in the most challenging of times.
“To be a CMX Connect Host is an amazing experience and I am glad that this opportunity was given to me. It is great to meet all the inspiring community professionals and learn about community management by organizing CMX Connect events.” –Tereza Krpcová, CMX Connect Prague, Czech Republic
CMX Connect 2020: By the numbers
The three goals of CMX Connect continue to be:
- Connect: Meet awesome people, and get to know your peers in the industry
- Learn: Walk away with an actionable strategy you can implement into your work today
- Advocate: Grow the community industry.
This year, the CMX Connect program hosts hit these goals out of the park! In 2020, CMX events reached more people in more countries than ever before. These numbers do not include any CMX HQ events, like CMX Summit or CMX Global — it’s powered solely by our incredible hosts. Overall, this program:
- Hosted 251 events — that’s almost 5 per week!
- Had more than 10,000 community professionals RSVP to their events
- Checked in 5,625 people to their events
That’s 5,625 people who had a chance to connect, learn, and grow with each other. When I say the CMX Connect program is life-changing, I mean it.
“Being a CMX Connect Host is an invaluable priceless opportunity to grow and give back to the community at large. As the premiere Community organization, being a part of CMX is already amazing but taking it to the next level as a CMX Connect Host has been one of the best experiences I’ve had as a community professional.” –Blake Ethridge, CMX Connect Research Triangle Park, USA
What’s next for CMX Connect?
Nobody knows what’s around the corner right now. But if 2020 taught me anything, it’s that the hardships and challenges we faced this year made us a stronger, more resilient community as a whole. I know that the resilience of the CMX Connect Hosts will continue into 2021, and you can still count on CMX events coming to a timezone near you.
For more virtual event stories from the CMX community, check out 24 Virtual Event Stories From the CMX Community in 2020.