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Community Manager Spotlight: Wendy Schippers

Retired Community Manager

With Community Manager Appreciation Day this week, we wanted to put the spotlight on some community managers you’ve seen here. Today, we’re shifting the focus to Wendy Schippers, better known as @Wendy_S on the Lithium community. Wendy is a community manager at HP, and has quite an interesting story to share!



How did you become a community manager?

When I started working for HP over 15 years ago, I never imagined I’d become a Community Manager. But that’s where the road took me, and where I’m meant to be.


I had studied Tourism Education before coming to HP. While building their first European customer support center in Amsterdam, HP was looking for multi-lingual, technical customer representatives as their call volumes were rapidly growing. I knew little about computers back then, but I had a passion for people and for learning.


I went from customer support to 2nd level engineering to business application support, until I landed “home” in program management. For years, I managed HP’s email and chat support strategy and operations until this evolved into more of a Project Management role.


It was in this position that I was asked to help launch the HP Support Forums for French and German speakers in 2009 I joined the Social Media Organization to help raise and mature our support forums, which today, have truly grown into vibrant communities.


The best part of being a community manager is that every day is different. Community managers often wears multiple hats, so a typical day exists only up to a certain point, which is usually until your second cup of coffee



What does your typical day look like?

A typical day starts with caffeine and scanning through my email (in that order, please) to get a sense what my day will look like.

I’ll have a look at the forum notifications and do a quick scan into the community to see what’s pressing. Most of my mornings are spent responding to critical items, checking metrics, engaging with my super users, and helping my team of moderators with anything they might need. Then I get organized, and focus on strategy and planning.


Every community manager in my team has a side project or two that we are responsible for or participate in. What I love about this is how it enriches and adds to the core skills of a community manager. I get to work with peers from other areas, I can learn new disciplines from them, they can learn from me, and together we work to improve the customer experience. It’s great synergy.


What’s your favorite part of being a community manager?

 It is so diverse. and there’s never a boring day! I am a people person and, as a community manager, I work with colleagues from all over the world and directly with forum experts in my region. Being a community manager taps into my wide range of interests and passions. Through our expert program, I feel I can still be close to our customers and make a difference in their experience with our brand.


Being in the fast changing world of social media, I get to satisfy my hunger for learning new trends and developments in the digital world. It’s an exciting era we’re in and it is constantly evolving, rapidly.


What are your top 3 tips for community managers?

  1. Be authentic and transparent. There is no community manager like you! If you have your suitcase filled with passion for people, empathy, and a good dose of common sense, it is just a matter of being yourself.
  2. Keep it simple. Do what makes sense. We all know how it is to work on large scale programs and projects, but sometimes you just need to step away from it and take a moment to remember that it’s the little things that matter the most. Take a moment to thank an expert, congratulate them on a milestone, or send them a personal thank you card or birthday It’s often so much more important to them, and rewarding to you. And it helps to stay grounded.
  3. There will be good days and bad days. Sometimes the community runs like a well oiled machine, other times it feels like all you do is solve issues and deal with disgruntled people. Every period, good or bad, is a learning moment and an opportunity to make your community an even better place. And don’t forget, there are many resources out there to help you. You can easily find a community for community managers happy to share their best practices with you (like this one, *wink* *wink*).


What resources do you turn to to grow as a community manager?

My peers and fellow community managers for sure! I have an awesome team and each of my colleagues has very unique skills and a point of view that allows me expand my horizons. I am very fortunate to work with them. And then of course, I hang out in the Lithium Community quite often, where I connect with other community managers from all over the world. The advice and best practices shared there are extremely helpful for any community manager.  My family also helps me to grow as a community manager by helping me stay grounded.



Jenn Chen is the Community Manager for Lithium, and is responsible for developing the community's strategy and content. She has held previous roles at Google and Intuit. and you may also recognize her as x jchen, where she was recognized as an All Star in 2014 and a Rockstar in 2015. Jenn is proud to hold three certifications from Lithium in Community Management I & II, as well as Social Response. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, eating, and reading.


Follow her on Twitter @jenntothechen


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