Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Getting My Hands Dirty – I Just Joined Autodesk

The topic of reinventing one’s career—and, in essence, one’s life—seems to be on the lips of every life coach and media darling lately. From Jane Pauley’s new video series “Life Reimagined” (a collaboration between her and AARP and The Today Show)  to Marlo Thomas’ new book “It’s Not Over Till It’s Over” and her partnership with The Huffington Post, one thing seems certain: the typical career trajectory of much of the working world is being turned on its ear. With growing numbers of Boomers working later into their retirement years to their younger counterparts in search of a better balance between their work and family lives, more people are trading in the corporate ladder climb for more fun and fulfilling work, often mid-stride.

And as of today I proudly place myself in that proverbial category.

Throughout my post-college career, I have had the great fortune of landing right-place-right-time professional opportunities; roles that helped form the tapestry of my marketing background. And today I’m thrilled to announce that I’m returning to my marketing roots—sort of. After a series of roles where I focused on helping companies broadly adopt social marketing techniques and tools, I am coming full-circle; This week I joined the famed design software company Autodesk (they make AutoCAD) as a community manager—Senior Community Manager of Emerging Products and Services, to be exact.

Once-upon-a-time the role of external community manager was, at best, not understood. Even today many companies fail to realize the potential importance of this function, often relegating it to interns or someone with only partial responsibility for the community’s success. Thankfully Autodesk has long understood how customer communities can benefit both the community and the company. Which is why I’m so excited to join one of the most respected and innovative software companies in this pivotal role.

Ok, truth? Autodesk’s continued investment in customer engagement and communities isn't the only reason I’m excited about this move. I have long been a fangirl of my new boss Bill Johnston, Autodesk’s Director of Community and Customer Experience for the ISM MFG 360 product team. Bill and I traveled in the same circles back when he was responsible for driving community at Dell and I was part of Intel’s Social Media Center of Excellence. It’s not every day you find yourself in the position to work for someone you've respected and admired and who shares your passion for driving change. I jumped at the chance.

The coolest thing about stepping back into a community manager role for me is that I’m being given the chance to practice what I've been preaching for years. I get to leverage what I've learned about managing and growing technical communities from pros like Bob Duffy, Eric Mantion, Josh Bancroft, and Carolina Velis from Intel. I can build on lessons I learned about engaging and rewarding technical influencers from the work done by super smart women like Laura Whalen and Perrine Crampton while at Citrix and Amy Lewis at Cisco.

In essence, I will no longer be merely a social media pontificator; I am putting my social media practitioner pants back on. Said more plainly I get to plan, strategize, write, engage, advocate, meet, share, learn, experiment, test, track, Tweet, blog, fail, report, refine, present, participate, optimize, benchmark, analyze, partner, build, develop, convince, create, and defend —all while exploring some of the most important technologies and solutions helping to drive the exciting imagine>design>create movement. And I couldn't be more excited to, once again, get my feet wet and my fingers dirty.