The Community Industry Awards celebrate the achievements of the best in the community industry. These were the first ever CIAs and we were thrilled by the participation, passion, and support from our entire community!
First, we want to give a HUGE thank you to our partners, without whom these awards just wouldn’t have been as cool:
These awards were powered by Bevy, the company behind some of the best in-person
communities in the world!
Calm provided each of our winners with a free one year subscription to Calm!
We had almost 1500 nominations! We were thrilled to see the nominations pour in. There was such enthusiasm from the community. We took our nominees and whittled the list down to five finalists in each category. Finalists were chosen based on the number of legitimate nominations, relevance to the category, and specific information in the nominations regarding their community such as growth, strategy, and success in the last year. From here, we opened voting up to our community, and our panel of expert judges. YOU had your say, and we are thrilled announce the winners of our first annual Community Industry Awards!
The winners of the first annual Community Industry Awards:
CMX Connect Host of the Year
The CMX Connect program is our in-person events program that launched in April 2019. In that time, we’ve grown to 48 chapters in 23 countries around the world. The program is run by our Connect Hosts, an incredible team of volunteers. These people are bringing together community professionals in their cities, to learn, connect, and grow together. In the nine months since the program began, there has been one Host who has stood out from the rest.
Valentina Ruffoni, CMX Connect Host in Madrid, Spain!
Valentina goes above and beyond for her chapter; hosting regular events, inviting more people, growing the chapter. On top of that, she is an incredible resource for her fellow Hosts, answering questions and providing support. She also volunteered to run the CMX Connect Instagram account! She’s amazing.
Valentina also runs Eat Out Madrid. She is passionate about bringing like-minded people together in person to grow their networks & become more knowledgeable in their field of interest. Thought-provoking speakers, instagramable venues, and variety of sponsored food & drink attract a network that people want to be around. Her in-person events are the talk of Madrid’s international community, with members itching to know what’s next! When she is not building her own communities she works as a community consultant & spends her free time eating her way around the Spanish capital.
Community Professional of the Year of an Education Community
The winner is Liz Savage! In her eight years as an elementary school teacher, Liz saw first-hand the positive impact a community can have on teachers. Today Liz is the Community Manager for the CLASS Learning Community at Teachstone, an education-technology company that believes every child deserves life-changing teachers. Liz has been the Community Manager since the launch of the community in April 2018. She leads the programming, events, resource creation, and communication for the 25k educators who have a shared goal of improving teacher-student interactions. In addition to the online community, she manages the in-person events. This includes the annual community conference, which has averaged a growth rate of 30% over the last two years and is poised to continue to grow in 2020.
Community Professional of the Year for a DevRel community
The winner is Vishal Pathik Gupta! For the last 10 years, Vishal has led Google Developers Group Bangalore, currently one of the oldest and largest running chapters in the world. Vishal also headed the community at HackerEarth to help the company grow from 700,000 to 2,000,000 developers worldwide in less than two years. It was the fastest growth the company had seen since its inception. Lead 100+ partnerships, 200+ hackathons, 50+ meetups, and conferences in North America, Europe, and Asia. He helped several fortune 500 clients in developer marketing and crowdsourcing solutions.
Community Professional of the year of a Gaming Community
The winner is: Erin Wayne! Erin started her career in gaming as a personality/content creator in 2012. Though you can continue to find her streaming on various social media, she migrated from full-time creator to Twitch employee in 2014. Having officially joined the Community team in 2015, she’s now the Head of Community Marketing. She launched and contributed to projects like Twitch Ambassadors, Creator Camp, Community MeetUps, Twitch Unity, and TwitchCon. During her years in gaming and at Twitch, she’s focused on working towards educating content creators, increasing inclusion efforts, and supporting charitable efforts.
Community Professional of the year of a Nonprofit Community
Winner is AbdulKabir Sulaiman. AbdulKabir Sulaiman is a Community STEM Champion, passionate about getting more people involved in STEM. Currently, he is the Community Manager of TechQuest STEM Academy; a nonprofit organization that helps make STEM education, ICT, and Digital literacy more accessible to young Africans. In 2019, he led the TechQuest Educator Community impacting over 10,000 kids and young adults into STEM.
Community Professional of the year of a B2B Community
Our winner is Amanda Newton! Amanda is passionate about community, purposeful innovation and strategic thinking. She believes that people are the heart of great businesses, and that most people have untapped potential, a desire to be of service to others, and to feel a sense of belonging. She understands the role of developing, nurturing, and growing meaningful connections between people, and prioritises building trust and empathy, as they are core to good communication, and good communication is the foundation of genuine connection.
Community Professional of the year of a B2C Community
Steven A. Rodriguez, Startup Programs. Steven A. Rodriguez is the Techstars Startup Programs Regional Manager for US/Canada, from Alaska all the way around to Toronto and Texas, including Washington. Steven comes from Ohio, and he’s lived in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Bogotá, Colombia. He is a serial Community Builder, having a penchant for launching various local Washington, D.C. community programs from CMX Connect and 1 Million Cups to Techstars Startup Week and Startup Huddle to fill in gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Executive Leader of a Community team
Andrea Middleton, Open Source Community Strategist at WordPress. Andrea has advised, trained, and supported WordPress community organizers for the last nine years. In that time, the WordCamp program grew from 52 volunteer-organized conferences in 2011 to 143 conferences in 2019. In her current role, she develops, supports, and oversees volunteer-staffed initiatives and programs for the WordPress Global Community Team. This program is made up of 3,000+ open source enthusiasts and volunteers focused on organizing and managing over 800 monthly meetup groups in addition to all those annual WordCamps.
Community Professional of the Year of an Online Community
Ed Giansante, Senior Community Manager at Vmware. Ed Giansante is the Senior Community Manager at VMware, responsible for its supportability programs globally. He’s also the founder and CEO of E-Dublin – the largest channel of information for Brazilian expats based in Europe. While he builds the strategy and programs for VMware globally, the E-Dublin community continues to grow delivering delightful experiences to Brazilian expats.
Community Professional of the Year of an Offline Community
Sofia Rodriguez Mata, Community Manager at Salesforce and Latinoforce (internal employee group for Latinx employees and allies). As a Community Manager at Salesforce, Sofia is passionate about educating, empowering, and enabling others. She’s empowered 70,000+ members via content campaigns fuelling offline meetings, rally 170+ community voices at 7 conferences, and shape a content + speaker hub for 1,000+ user groups. In her spare time, she co-leads an ERG for Latinx employees (2,000+ strong!), fights her nerves on the main stage, and studies for her MBA.
Community Professional of the Year
Paras Pundir, Founder at Community Folks. Paras is a community enthusiast & currently working as a Program Manager at Microsoft Reactor Bangalore which is a tech community space. He started with a Community for Community Builders in India called Community Folks which now, also consults in the Community & Content Management for brands along with training & upskilling Community teams. He is on a mission to create awareness about Community Management & bring importance to the Community Managers in the Indian Ecosystem.
The Community of the Year
The Atlassian Community! After rebranding the Atlassian User Group program in April, they are continuing to make meaningful improvements to the Community Events program. They have onboarded over 150 ACE Leaders in the last year, over 800 community events were hosted, and over 17,000 people attended a community event. In the online world, the Atlassian Community averages 22,000+ posts per month! The online community is a high-volume, constantly refreshing source of customer insights… a literal gold mine for anyone who is working on a customer-facing project. These insights come in the form of questions, workarounds, group discussions, and more.
This has been such an incredible display of the passion of our community members. Thank you to everyone who nominated someone, voted for someone, and shared the CIAs with their network. To those of you who were nominated, thank you for the incredible work you are doing to make our industry an incredible place to be.