Episode Thumbnail
Episode 9  |  39:46 min

Agents of Change: Champions Programs w/ Ashleigh Brookshaw

Episode 9  |  39:46 min  |  04.21.2021

Agents of Change: Champions Programs w/ Ashleigh Brookshaw

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This is a podcast episode titled, Agents of Change: Champions Programs w/ Ashleigh Brookshaw. The summary for this episode is: <p>Online community champions programs can advance digital organizational culture. The key to success for champions programs lies in the structure. In this episode, Heather and Alex are joined by Ashleigh Brookshaw, Manager, Community Engagement at the American Society of Safety Professionals. They'll discuss the key ingredients for champions programs and get tips from Ashleigh on how to make a champions program successful!</p>
Takeaway 1 | 01:00 MIN
Working Definition of Champions Program
Takeaway 2 | 01:00 MIN
How to be Most Effective
Takeaway 3 | 00:38 MIN
Audit your Champions Program
Takeaway 4 | 00:50 MIN
Incentivize Members
Takeaway 5 | 00:51 MIN
Thinking Strategically
Takeaway 6 | 00:29 MIN
Structuring Community

Online community champions programs can advance digital organizational culture. The key to success for champions programs lies in the structure. In this episode, Heather and Alex are joined by Ashleigh Brookshaw, Manager, Community Engagement at the American Society of Safety Professionals. They'll discuss the key ingredients for champions programs and get tips from Ashleigh on how to make a champions program successful!

Guest Thumbnail
Ashleigh Brookshaw, M.A
Manager, Community Engagement at American Society of Safety Professionals
Ashleigh Brookshaw, M.A. is a detail-oriented and digital change enthusiast with expertise in online community engagement, cultural & transformative change management through DEI, and strategic digital marketing communications to drive business results. She has worked with both internal and external audiences with a variety of organizations including nonprofits like Chicago Gateway Green, Fortune 500 companies like Allstate Insurance, and professional associations like the American Society of Safety Professionals. She's also the Founder and CINO of C2M Digital, LLC., where she consults clients on online community, diversity, equity and inclusion, and digital culture change.
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Alex Mastrianni: Welcome to the member engagement show with Higher Logic, the podcast for association professionals looking to boost retention, gain new members, and deepen member involvement.

Heather McNair: Throughout our show we'll bring on some experts, talk shop about engagement, and you'll walk away with strategies proven to transform your organization. I'm Heather McNair.

Alex Mastrianni: I'm Alex Mastrianni and we're happy you're here. Hello everyone. I'm so excited to be back with you for another episode of the member engagement show.

Heather McNair: So Alex being in marketing, when we talk about loyalty programs, what's the first thing that comes to mind for you?

Alex Mastrianni: This is very relevant to me at the moment, because on my way to this podcast recording, I stopped at Starbucks because today is double star day. I am holding it up the largest cup, a venti refresher for the afternoon here cause I needed a little jolt of energy and it's double star day. crosstalk looks delicious.

Heather McNair: That looks delicious.

Alex Mastrianni: Yeah. Yes. But it's double star day. I got my push notification on my drive home and was like," Oh, this is perfect timing." I need a little bit of energy. Got my stars. So Starbucks just happens to be top of mind at the moment. But what about you?

Heather McNair: It's so funny because I get sucked into these... I know what they're doing, we build these things and I still get sucked into them.

Alex Mastrianni: Yeah.

Heather McNair: I'll never forget. I was on a flight going by somewhere. And I got an email from, it was actually, it was Birchbox. And they said," You're only X number of points away from being a VIP." And I'm like," Oh my God, I have to be a VIP. What do I need to do to earn those points?" I had absolutely no idea what I got from being a VIP, but I could call myself a VIP.

Alex Mastrianni: Exactly. Yeah, it sounds good.

Heather McNair: crosstalk.

Alex Mastrianni: Yeah.

Heather McNair: Why wouldn't you want to be one?

Alex Mastrianni: I know it's that gamification. They get you with making it fun.

Heather McNair: Yeah, exactly. It's funny when I was talking about we build these. I've been on the phone with customers. There was one in particular and there's something in the community that we have that it shows you what badges you can achieve. It's taken straight from game theory and I'm setting this up for them live on the call and so, the guy's points are changing. We're looking at his profile and his points are changing and it's showing now how many points away he is from certain things. And while we're doing this, he's like," Oh. Well, now I have to go in and do this stuff." I'm laughing and I'm like," Okay, literally you are watching me change this. Stop. You're telling me what you want to change and how you want this set up." And it's still working on him.

Alex Mastrianni: And he's hooked.

Heather McNair: Exactly. It's amazing the way the human brain works that way and how incentives can motivate us to do certain things.

Alex Mastrianni: For sure. For sure. So whether it's your Starbucks rewards program, Birchbox or right within your own community, associations can use the same theory to motivate and get people active and engaged. A lot of times at associations, they're called Champions Programs. And today we're really excited to have Ashleigh Brookshaw. She's the manager of community engagement at the American Society of Safety Professionals. And she's joining us to talk all about Champions Programs and how you can get started with one, or if you have one, how to get the most out of your current program? So welcome Ashleigh. We're so excited to have you here.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to talk about Champions Programs. I'm so passionate about them. I just can't wait to get started and dive into the conversation.

Heather McNair: That's awesome, Ashleigh. I feel the same way. Before we dive into the programs, why don't you tell the listeners a little bit about your background and what led you to be so passionate about these programs?

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah, absolutely. So as you guys stated, I currently work for the American Society of Safety Professionals. And my background really is a mix of integrated marketing and communications. I went to Loyola University, Chicago and I majored in advertising public relations with a minors in marketing and Spanish. And then my offense degree is a Master's in Multicultural and Organizational Communication with that concentration in training and development. And one of the things that I've noticed throughout my career is I have a very particular passion for people and technological systems, really kind of creating that environment where people are able to not only connect with each other, but get the resources to get things done and really be able to impact and make change wherever they are. I also have a change management certification and part of my approach to online community management and engagement really comes from change management methodologies, really taking a look at how the people and the systems are intersecting to really impact business results.

Heather McNair: That is a fantastic background for building something like this.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Thank you.

Heather McNair: But also on a completely different tangent, I will say, you have a perfect voice for podcasts.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Oh, thank you.

Heather McNair: We're going to have to have you back if you don't do one of your own.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: You know what? I love it. Thank you so much. It's interesting. I feel much more at home behind the screen than on TV. It's just easy to be here and have great conversations, so thank you.

Heather McNair: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for joining us. So change management, perfect because that's a lot of what Champions Programs are about- crosstalk.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yes.

Heather McNair: ...is getting people motivated, getting them to kind of, and this sounds bad, but do what we want them to do or get them to an end goal. So for those people who aren't familiar when we're talking about Champions Programs, can you give them a little bit of background about how you define them and why they're important in your association or associations you've worked with?

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah. Absolutely. So my working definition for Champions Program is that they are either a formal or informal way to leverage your online communities most engaged users towards a specific goal or objective. And that particular goal and objective is going to be largely contextualized and defined by your organization. I have seen Champions Programs, not only in the association space, but I've also seen them done a little bit more, well, I guess, formally and informally at the corporate structure as well through employee resource groups. Part of my background as well is in diversity equity and inclusion. And I like to really think of those types of groups and individuals within those groups has really advocates and champions for either that demographic, for that ambassador program, if you will. Either one of those groups, I would say, are really important in effecting change. And as we talk about why they are important, the level of importance really is dependent on what are you trying to achieve? One of the things that I really strive for as an online community manager, and even as a consultant through Diversity Equity and Inclusion is getting a sense of what is the why, right? You have to start with why, and then take a look at the appropriate people that: A, you're trying to reach and who will be impacted and speaking to them in a language that they can understand in order to advance, whatever it is you're trying to advance their culture change.

Alex Mastrianni: That's amazing. And you're answering my next question, but before I go and dig a little bit deeper into the why maybe for your current Champions Program that you run or that you've set up, I just want to say, I think it's really great how you described what a champions program is because they can be really specific to a Champions Program within a community. They can also refer to a larger advocate program at your association, but it sounds like the way that you look at it is it's a mix of both almost where you're taking those community champions to inform or be the voice for larger goals at the association, so that's really interesting.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah. And kind of just to build on that a little bit is, I know we're defining kind of online community in the terms of the technological infrastructure, but just kind of how I look at community building. I mean, I know that COVID has completely transformed the way that we're doing our work, but there are communities and subcultures just in every organization, just in person as well. That's where my dual kind of ability to look at things come from. It's like in the online community itself, advancing that digital culture change, but I've also seen it done around the localized localities as well. And I think that that lends itself nicely to associations because some associations, if not all, have chapters.

Alex Mastrianni: Yup.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: And some of those chapters are centered around that local level engagement and activity.

Alex Mastrianni: Yeah, no, that's a really great point that there's all these different sub- segments of your membership. And then when you look at things in terms of the digital communities and those natural groups, that form, it's just a perfect match up there. So going back to what you said about the why, I thought that was really interesting. When you were setting up the Champions Program at your current role at the American Society of Safety Professionals or any previous program, how do you go about defining the goals of what those programs are?

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah, absolutely. So my approach, again, from an organizational perspective is taking a look at what are the goals of the overall online community and the organization itself? I think in order to be most effective, not only as an online community manager, but to really showcase the success of your Champions Program is to structure the Champions Program so that it can provide that tangible ROI or key performance indicators that you're already tracking. I know that executive stakeholders, whether that be directors or CEOs or a board of directors, they really care about the, why are we doing this? Why are we spending resources doing this? Because I don't know about all of you on there, but I have had some conversations with individuals still trying to reinforce the purpose of an online community and the business value that it can provide. And Champions Programs are an additional way to do that because it leverages those stakeholders, those users, those members that you're trying to reach to be able to demonstrate using data that our online community is thriving. The purpose of this Champions Program can lead to increased loyalty with the association, increased volunteer, retention, things of that nature. So I just always recommend where you can, structuring the Champions Program to support metrics and key performance indicators that you know that your stakeholders care about currently and what they're tracking.

Heather McNair: Ashleigh, I think you have touched on key components, the holy grail of community. So many people, as much as we wish they wouldn't, still question the value of an online community.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Right.

Heather McNair: You're mentioning a lot of stuff at a high level. Can you talk about specifics with ASSP? What metrics you're tracking to have the specific goal of why you implemented the Champions Program there? What you were trying to accomplish?

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah. So initially did the Champions Program as a pilot, but like I said, it's really about contextualizing the Champions Program, any Champions Program, and metrics that are most important to your online community. So some sample KPIs that we were currently tracking was the number of discussions, the number of the replies, the number of log- ins and taking a look at, has that increased since the inception of the Champions Program? Taking a look at the most active users within the community, do any of the champions show up in that dashboard? How many? Those types of metrics I think are the best kind of metrics to start with when you're thinking of either starting a Champions Program or reinvigorating it, making sure that whatever you're doing, you can always defend it and provide that why.

Heather McNair: And ASSP right now is totally focused on community activity that isn't, you've mentioned KPI, volunteering, which I have seen other Champions Programs intersect with those as well.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: So it's interesting. So as it relates to the online community for ASSP, we currently have three member communities. We have the chapters, we have practice specialties, and we have the common interest groups. The common interest groups are ASSP, what I like to call the diversity equity and inclusion groups. Now, what is interesting about those particular groups is that they are virtual only communities, so they're predominant manner of engagement and connecting with people. Their colleagues within ASSP is through the online platform. They have specified and dedicated pages where their members are able to talk and connect and share resources around different topics and issues that they may be facing. But yes, what we are currently tracking as it relates to the Champions Program was related to the overall community. So how many people are logging in? How many people are having discussions and how many people are replying and really tracking? What is that average reply rate? Does it increase quarter over quarter? Et cetera.

Heather McNair: Excellent. All right, cool. Yeah, I think it helps make things more concrete for our audience when they're," Okay. That's, that's what she's looking at."

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Of course.

Heather McNair: That's what she means.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Of course.

Heather McNair: So I think that's really helpful. Thank you.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah, of course. And like we just said, all of that is going to look different depending on what your organizational use cases for online community. So I encourage all of you to listening to kind of take a look. If you're thinking about Champions Programs, or if you're having one, maybe a good time to do an audit of your Champions Program. Are we tracking things that are centered around what's most important to the organizational KPIs at this moment? I mean, as we know, from just the pandemic and the digital transformation of work things may have looked dramatically different in the past 12 months or so. So it might be a good time to do an audit or kind of as you're thinking if you're just starting out, thinking with that end in mind and being, this may be a new reality for some people, this may be a new normal, and making sure that you're crafting and setting yourself up for success, as well as your champions as well.

Heather McNair: It sound related to that, yes, that we definitely saw behaviors change over the last year.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yes.

Heather McNair: Which has been fantastic.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yes.

Heather McNair: Maybe it's the flip side of the metrics, what activities are you promoting for the champions? We've seen people do everything from help answer unanswered questions and- crosstalk.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Absolutely.

Heather McNair: ...even when it starts getting outside of the community help speak at events, help us host a webinar, write blogs, that kind of thing. What kinds of things do you include kind of in addition to that? Which ones have you seen to be most successful for you guys?

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Sure. I think all of that is great. So I want to contextualize for our listeners and you guys, as well as that, our Champions Program was also created as a pilot, as that micro volunteer opportunity. So it was really centered around the community moderation. So going through the different discussion forums and our global discussion forums and making sure that people are getting answers to their questions or acknowledged that they've asked a question, really creating that welcoming environment, the Champions Program, as it relates to our online system currently does not extend outside of it. So to your point, you were talking about speak at this event on behalf of us, or host a webinar. Those are all great things as well, but I have not done that with our Champions Program just yet, but yes, I love the fact that you brought that up as something to share forward, because I think that that's amazing. It's all about, again, what is most important to your organization and where is the... Excuse me. Where can the champion provide the most value for their time and what can the organization also get? So highlighting that what's in it for both as I like to say from a change management perspective.

Alex Mastrianni: That's great. So how do you structure your program? What kinds of asks do you currently have and how do you incentivize your community members to follow through with some of them?

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah, absolutely. So I really approached the Champions Program like I would approach any other volunteer or job if you will, which you'll know about me is that Ashleigh is really into her structure. Right? First and foremost, I created a job description. Yes, I did. With the time duration on it, with what they can expect the purpose of it. I think when you're doing a Champions Program or you're asking someone to volunteer and or donate their time, setting forth clear expectations on not only the time commitment, but the benefit to them, I think is really important. I also did a in quotations, an application form. Not only sourcing the community to see who was already active, but kind of creating this kind of invite only, or kind of a little bit of this exclusivity," Oh, you have to. You've got to apply for this." And literally the application was what? First name, last name, how long have you been a member? I mean, just very basic information, but kind of pushing it through an online community campaign as well, because we do monthly marketing communications promoting what's going on in the online community and encouraging people, if they haven't logged in to sign up and take a look, but yeah, I was really structured about it. So having that application process again, and application process sounds fancy, it was literally one form. And it lived within our current volunteer structure. And then, this is a great opportunity for you guys listening, if you are in an association and you don't have a cross- functional community team, Champions Programs are also a great way to engender a stakeholder trust and engagement with other departments to be like," Hey, marketing, we're starting this Champions Program. What kinds of things are you looking to do? What are you interested in? What are your objectives? Maybe our champions can help fulfill some of those objectives." I kind of did my ragtag team from other departments to be like," Hey guys, we have all of these members that have applied. Let's take a look and take a look at how we want to really set up this first cohort." In terms of incentivizing them, I recommend leveraging the technology of your community. Like you had guys alluded to earlier, everybody loves badges. Everybody loves gamification. Totally random, not all the way off topic, but I just got my Peloton. Peloton has so many different badges, right? I get excited by seeing those and that's a different type of community, but the premise is still the same. You know what I mean? So incentivize them through special badging and exclusive access to test things, a private only collaboration group where they can connect with each other. So there's lots of different ways to be able to not only structure the program as we go back to our working definition that I provided earlier on, Champions Programs can be as formal as you want or informal as you want. That's going to depend on you and the resources available and how you want to set it up. But I always just recommend those key foundational pieces of just, write it down, document what you want them to do. How long you want them to do it? What support that they're going to get? Because as a micro volunteering opportunity, it was really about and an easy way for them to engage. I think it was six months that I'd had the first cohort and then you had to kind of reapply, but there's so many different volunteer opportunities within associations. This was a small kind of nugget and or carrot to get people into volunteering without having to do an elected volunteer leader position that's a year or two years, or sometimes three, depending on what that is.

Alex Mastrianni: Yeah, no, I absolutely love what you said about setting clear expectations, because just with- crosstalk.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: inaudible.

Alex Mastrianni: ...any sort of volunteer position, whether it's a community champion or you're volunteering for a board role or something like that, anything that states what the expectation is will only make things better for everyone involved.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah. And I did onboarding. I did," Welcome. Here's why you're here. Here's what the community is for. Here's how you can have own a piece of it and kind of effect change." So I did kind of a whole onboarding thing as well. That goes back to the training and development background that I have as well, because I think it's really important. And I got to be honest, nothing disengages me more than not understanding what I'm doing or why I'm doing it or not having some sort of reference material. We all have busy lives. And I think just creating a resource toolkit will go a long way and not only reminding the individual why they're volunteering their time, but reminding you as well as the manager of the program, why you have the program and what expectation has been set? So if there's a subtle shift that needs to happen, you have the document to say," This is what we agreed on initially. Should we need to make changes its fluid, let's go ahead and have that conversation." I like tangibility where I can get it.

Heather McNair: Well, yeah. And this kind of goes back, you mentioned job descriptions and I've used to run a volunteer program at an association in a former life. And it was one of the things that I was taught going into that volunteer program is that you treat volunteer opportunities just like you would hiring someone for a job, job description, onboarding, you hit all those key points because it holds each side accountable to it and makes each side understand what the expectations are. And especially with volunteers, with your members, it's so key that no one walks away from that engagement, that opportunity disillusioned, feeling unsatisfied about it. You'd be, you want to make sure that both sides get rewarded out of it.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Absolutely. And making sure, too resourcing I think is very important. So also what I would recommend is having, whether you're just starting out or revamping your Champions Program, really spending a moment or two thinking strategically on how many champions can we realistically support? Is there enough work and or engagement opportunities for the champions? So for the first cohort, I think I did 15 to 20, but that's just something I wanted to share with the listeners as well is, everything that we do as it relates to online community management and engagement, and Champions Program is no different, spend some time thinking about the strategy. That's again, just coming back to, why do we want the Champions Program? What's the goal of it? Who are we going to target? Have a plan for engagement. So I had, like I said, that duration of about six months, so having the regular touch points. Who do they go to if they have questions? What resources can we equip them with? Kind of thinking through just a quick strap plan. I mean, I know people think that strap plan, sometimes people are like,"Well, I don't want to do another plan." But I got to tell you, Ashleigh loves her plans. I love my tangibility so that when we have conversations with people, I can be like," Oh, no, no. Wait. Have the plan for that." And it's a great way to collaborate with other individuals as well because marketing may have a different thought, so we can throw some marketing pieces in there. Communications or professional development may have a different thought, put that in there so that you can really build a cohesive program that will provide value for a lot of different people.

Alex Mastrianni: For sure. You have to start somewhere. It's always good to have it documented where you're starting from, and that'll just help with that buy- in across the organization as well, showing that this is a serious initiative and we are taking time to think through this. And it's really important and we're excited about it and there's something in here for everybody.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah. And it affects change, so 100%. I like to think of the champions as the stewards of the digital culture guided by me as that kind of unseen hand, because part of... This is just my personal and professional opinion. I think the best online communities are where the community manager speaks very little. It's about the community really talking to each other, members helping members. I got tell you, I get so excited when someone answers the question. I'm like," I don't have to prompt anybody to answer. You're answering each other's questions." You put a resource, they're like," Oh, here's this and this other thread." That just makes me really happy. And it shows the health of the community and the importance of bringing those people together to be able to advance whatever goal your community is supposed to be advancing.

Heather McNair: Absolutely. I agree with all of that, 100%. I wanted to jump back to something you mentioned a few minutes ago now about engendering trust across the organization and you were mentioning internal stakeholders, and I agree with that. I've had a lot of success with the same thing. One of the other things, and I forget what you just said, but I'm like," Oh, that's exactly it.", what you just said. But I guess I like the stewards of the digital culture, which is a fantastic catch phrase, by the way.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Oh, thank you. Feel free to use.

Heather McNair: I will. I will. I will shamelessly steal that one, Ashleigh. But with the engendering trust, I've found with Champions Programs that it also helps engender trust with your members because they know that a group of members that they are leading the community, they have a voice. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And I think, yeah. And I'm guessing you're feeling the same thing and being the stewards kind of touches on that.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah, absolutely. With associations, they're predominantly member- led organizations, right? As we talk about different value propositions of online community. Our online communities like that exclusive member benefit. You have to be a member of ASSP in order to log in to the community and get access to things. So by having the Champions Program, it lifts members up as well to be," This is an exclusive member benefit. I'm volunteering my time. I get a special badge that shows that I am kind of a subject matter expert as it relates to whatever forum I may be taking a look at, whatever forum I may be watching." So as we kind of talked about earlier the structure of your online community, I think will also impact how you set up your Champions Program. So for example, our online community, we have some global discussion forums that every member can get access to, whether that be the safety technical talk, the regular chatter one, the help and feedback. And then if you remember I alluded to earlier, we have the virtual communities, the diversity equity and inclusion groups, so those technical communities, those are paid products additionally within ASSP. So in order to get access to those particular pages, you have to be an additional member of those communities, right? So when you think about Champions Programs, I also went through some of the applicants to get a sense of who was a part of which online community space to help provide some additional support for leadership in those areas as well. So I say all that to say to everyone that's listening, again, kind of having that strap plan, or just kind of thinking not only who you're trying to impact, right? So, who is the target audience? What are the organizational goals that Champions Programs can help effect? But also thinking through, how was your online community set up and how is it segmented? What's that user experience in making sure that you're thinking of all of those things as you're crafting? How do I want to do this Champions Program? How can I make the best experience for these people that are taking the time to volunteer their time to assist with this while making sure that people are seeing the value on both ends?

Heather McNair: Wow. That was incredible. And that was a lot of advice. And that was incredible advice. It did.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: I provide value where I can.

Heather McNair: I don't know. I don't even know where to go from there. Obviously, you've thought through the details, you had your strap plan. I can't imagine that you ran into any roadblocks and trouble along the way being as thorough as you obviously are. But were there things that you ran into that surprised you that you would do differently going into it again?

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah, absolutely. I would say that as much as culture can be a blessing, culture can also be a bit of a roadblock. So when we were talking about the reinforcing the value of online community, really taking a look at how the community is structured. Sometimes if online communities are super matrix and they're just a lot of different entry points that can, again, inform how you set up the Champions Program. So I don't like to necessarily call them roadblocks per se. Just more things to be aware of, I would say. Yeah. And as an online community manager, the best advice I can provide to fellow community professionals is the necessity to be flexible and innovative. You're going to be traveling down the road and you might fall through a trap door, right? I'm kind of thinking of a video game. There might be this random kind of wall pop up and you have to figure out what's the best way to pivot in a sense. So, because to your point, I thought, I think through things so strategic ways in as much detail as I can. And working with other people, working with other departments, because really that diversity of thought and perspective can assist in the Champions Program as well. So letting everyone know to not only use their resources, the technology as incentive as a resource, but use your fellow colleagues, if you have a trusted friend or partner at work or someone else in another department, run your strap plan by them. I think that that's the best way to do it too, because it depends on where online community lives in associations, but it really should be leveraged as an organizational asset to maximize the time that the champions are putting into it as well as the time that you're putting into it, if that makes sense.

Alex Mastrianni: Yeah. That makes total sense. And it's almost, they're not roadblocks per se, but you know that there will be things that you can't plan for just quite yet until you start doing it. And then the more people you have involved, whether it's internally and then also your champions who you can't exactly anticipate how they might participate with something or react to something.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: That was going to be my next point. Yeah. That's why I think the job description, or just kind of setting those clear expectations on what the time commitment is for them, because you may get excited. Some people, they apply for everything and everything. And then when they see how much time it takes or kind of what it is, or maybe," Oh, I may not have time for that." or" Oh, that was not what I originally thought." And to be perfectly honest, be prepared that some people just like to apply for things just to put it on their resume. I mean, you will always get transparency for honesty from Ashleigh, I'm telling you. So just as you know, the online community manager check in with people that you may not be hearing from, or seeing them to be," Hey, just checking on your continued desire to continue to be engaged." or" Maybe now's not a great time for you." So just kind of keeping a pulse check on what you see and who you see showing up in the community that have applied for the Champions Program, but understanding it is volunteer and sometimes competing priorities tend to emerge, if you will.

Heather McNair: Yeah. With the certain programs I've run, we've built in gateways, if you will, certain expectations that you have to meet to maintain that champion status.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Alex Mastrianni: Well, this has been an incredible conversation, Ashleigh. You have dropped so many insights here today and one liners that we'll be using in the future, I'm sure. But I want to ask you one final question that we ask all of our guests and free to tie it back to a Champions Program or anything that comes to mind, but what is your favorite engagement tactic?

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah. So I love the gamification and the badging, and the reason I love that so much is because I'm a little bit of a... just a tiny bit, not much, of a competitive person. I like to go to profiles and see all of the badges, or I'm always," What else can I get?" or" What else can I do?" And I would imagine that there are a subset of people who are just like me. So I tried to take a look at how can I utilize gamification within the system, whether that be through badging, some sort of special status, the points again, tied to organizational objectives and KPIs. I always have that in mind to get people more excited. And I love to run contests as well. And we're blessed to have a bit of a budget where I've been able to do some community swag. But one of the things that I think is really interesting is that, I say you have to have a profile photo to be considered. If we send out a link to something- crosstalk.

Heather McNair: inaudible.

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yes. And I say," Make sure that your ASSP membership is in good standing. You must have a profile photo to be considered." Some of the photos that people will upload for kicks and get... I mean, I had someone upload a picture of their receipt just because I just said,"If that's your visual representation and that's how you want to be identified. I mean, you do your bill." Those are the types of things I like to see where it's you give people a little bit of flexibility and guidance at the same time and then you kind of see what pops up. But my favorite by far is the gamification and the points and then when I run contests with the current profile photo. I love to see these random photos come in. I've seen everything, like I said, from a receipt to sports logos to people with their kids. They just really, I think reinforces the sense of community and helps that connection between people.

Heather McNair: Yeah, absolutely. I'll never forget working with an engineering group. And one of the engineers, we kept pestering him about uploading a photo and he finally uploaded a picture of a graph. I was like," Well, that's perfect for an engineer."

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah. That works. Definitely. That's perfect. Yeah. I had somebody be a little reluctant to add a photo, but they finally just did a hard hat with their last name on it. That counts.

Heather McNair: That works?

Ashleigh Brookshaw: That counts. It doesn't have to be of your face, whatever visual representation you want. Yeah.

Heather McNair: Ashleigh, you have shared so much incredible information with us at our audience today. I'm sure people will have some follow- up questions. If you don't mind them reaching out to you, where is the best place for them to find you? Where can they find you on LinkedIn, Twitter?

Ashleigh Brookshaw: Yeah. Absolutely. So the best way to get in touch with me is just to find me on LinkedIn. And my last name is Brookshaw B- R- O- O- K- S- H- A- W. I encourage you guys to send me a message, connect with me. I'm always happy to talk anything community.

Alex Mastrianni: Well, thank you so much again, everyone. And before we wrap up today's episode, I just want to share one quick housekeeping note. For those of you who haven't heard, Heather will be leaving Higher Logic, but we're really excited for her next step in her career journey. And luckily, Heather will not be leaving the podcast and she'll be staying on as my co- host for a while. So, Heather, do you want to tell us a little bit about your next steps?

Heather McNair: Yeah, absolutely. And Alex, I'm very excited to be staying on with you.

Alex Mastrianni: I know, we've just gone in the group here.

Heather McNair: Exactly. Exactly.

Alex Mastrianni: Nine, 10 episodes in.

Heather McNair: Yeah. So my next chapter, I am starting a new company with several former colleagues. The new company is called Cloud Generation. We will still be serving the association space also with software, so stay tuned. We'll have more information coming out about that within the next few months. But yeah, super excited to still be part of the podcast and still be staying part of the Higher Logic family.

Alex Mastrianni: Awesome. Well, we look forward to learning more about the company in the future and excited that my co- host, my fearless co- host will be here along with me for the future. So we'll see everybody on the next episode.

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