Episode 56 ~ Creating Intentional Communities


In this episode of the Social Lights Podcast, podcast host and Social Mediology founder Kate vanderVoort chats with Venessa Paech, Australia’s leading expert in online communities and community management.

She has led community for Lonely Planet, REA Group, Envato and Australia Post, and her private clients include: ABC, AASW, Teach for Australia, QUT, University of Sydney, SANE and Woolworths.


About Venessa

Venessa is Co-Founder and Director of Australian Community Managers (ACM), the national centre of excellence for online community management training and resources.

She started building intentional communities, with a mission of helping people connect, generate new value together and making better lives together. She teaches online community management for post-graduates at the University of Sydney and she is the resident Community expert for the Future Work Skills Academy.

Venessa is a published academic, and a PhD Candidate researching AI and online communities.


“We want to make sure that all voices are represented.” (13:20)

Venessa talked about the importance of diversity and inclusivity in communities. Community management is female dominated by a landslide of 75% and every year that goes up, partly because of the industries that community falls in Australia. She said that finding great women is not so challenging but increasingly she wants to make sure that all voices are represented. She talked about how she had really phenomenal indigenous scholars and practitioners sharing first nations community building techniques and knowledge, and in ways that is permissible and suitable for non-first nations and indigenous communities to use and apply because there's so much incredible ancient knowledge.


“The distinction between social media and community marketing is complicated because it is layered and there's a lot of natural overlap. Both practices can compliment one another.” (16:30)

Venessa defined and distinguished the difference between social media and community marketing. She said it’s important to understand that what each is trying to accomplish is quite different and how you measure success is quite different. There are clear distinctions and both practices can compliment one another. If you're an incredible marketer who creates great content, that's a really useful skill if you're a community builder as well. And likewise, if you're going to go and work as a social media marketer, knowing how to handle a crowd, how to moderate knowing how to really kick off and spot great conversations is a great way to generate engagement.


“The insights being generated from your community can be applied to every single aspect of the organization or business to enrich everything” (30:10)

Venessa emphasized that this is actually a very sculpting and enveloping concept. Managers describe community management as a central nervous system or air traffic control. There's a shift in thinking on community building from some sort of a title to being a little bit more wholistic and thinking about how do our relationships with these people, how their insights can be generated to create new products, new ideas, innovation capability.

The insights being generated from your community can be applied to every single aspect of the organisation or business to enrich everything. Community building maybe a lot to take on for an organisation or business at the early stages but that kind of potential awaits.

Episode Links

You can find Venessa Paech at:

Australian Community Managers: www.australiancommunitymanagers.com.au

PeerSense: www.venessapaech.com

Swarm Conference 2021:  www.swarmconference.com.au







We’d love you to join us for future episodes of the Social Lights podcast, produced by Social Mediology.

You can connect with us on Facebook at @SocialLightsPodcast and find future episodes at socialmediology.com.au/sociallights.

Thanks for your time and stay inspired,

Kate vanderVoort

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