Shining a Light on the Future of Community: A Deep Dive into the “Shine” Theme for CMX Summit 2023

Ana Levidze
April 4, 2023
April 2, 2024

Are you ready to shine at the CMX Summit 2023?

Building on the success of last year's "Thrive" theme, we're excited to continue our journey of growth and impact with this year's theme of "Shine." This year, we're focusing on three essential pillars of community building: the future of community, co-creation, and building sustainable communities. And in this article, we're diving deep into the first one - The Future of the Community.

As the community industry continues to evolve, it's crucial to consider what the future holds. Despite countless discussions on the state of the community industry, there's still a long way to go in terms of growth and change. Are we thriving? Has the industry shifted from Community 1.0 to Community 2.0? If not, why not? And what can be done to drive growth and change?

Numerous thought leaders in the community space have pondered these questions, and all seem to agree that the industry is still in its infancy. For instance, Rosie Sherry from, shared her perspective on Community 2.0 in her recent article. She argues that our understanding of community is confusing, and we struggle to articulate it concisely. Leadership may embrace it initially, but they may view it as non-essential or directionless when times get tough. Rosie proposes that Community 2.0 can provide us with the clarity and understanding we need to elevate the industry. To achieve this, we must reimagine, reinvent, and re-inspire ourselves.

We also had an interesting conversation with Nikki Thibodeau at CMX, who shares Rosie's view that the community industry is not thriving. According to Nikki, the industry is at a turning point similar to digital marketing in 2008, and it's only a matter of time before it reaches its full potential. Nikki believes the first step towards this is standardizing language in the industry. The more we can define what a community is and how it can be leveraged, the clearer our understanding of the industry will become. This clarity will drive a more standardized language and core agreements which, in turn, will help the industry to grow and thrive.

The world of community building is continuously evolving, and it's up to us to shape its future. As we look ahead, we must consider the latest trends and insights into how communities impact business goals and revenue and explore new community health indicators. Moreover, we must work towards building a shared language and standardization across communities so that we can all elevate the impact of our work.

At CMX Summit 2023 "Shine," we want to continue the conversation around this and explore what the future of community holds and how we, as an industry, can collectively get there. That's why we chose "The Future of Community" as one of our main pillars. To explore this further, we reached out to some thought leaders in the community space to get their insights on the future of the community. So, let's ask the big question: 

In the current climate of layoffs and uncertainty, what actions do you see the community industry taking to come together and support one another? Furthermore, how can standardized language and practices be established to enhance collaboration and promote a shared vision for the industry’s future?

Milly Tamati, Founder of Generalist.World

Milly Tamati CMX Summit 2023

In testing and tumultuous times, community means even more. The market has seen a rapid and significant shift, leaving many uncertain. Layoffs, inflation, and war - 2023 have thrown a lot at us already.But we know one thing to be very true - community is essential. There's a saying I always come back to, it's from my home country of New Zealand.

He aha te mea nui o te ao - What is the most important thing in the world?He tangata, he tangata, he tangata - It is the people, it is the people

So how can we support our people, our friends, our colleagues, and our community of builders through these tough times?

  1. Peer-to-peer supportI hear the conversation changing. As our friends in the community hear the dreaded news that their job no longer exists, we turn to each other to offer an empathetic shoulder. Whether it's a 1-1 chat, a friendly DM, or resharing the 'looking for work' post, I've seen firsthand how fast the community industry will jump in to help each other out. I can't understate the importance of surrounding yourself with folks who get you and get the situation.
  2. CollaborationThis is the time to come together. To explore, ideate, and action our next steps. Getting involved in the cross-company and cross-community collaboration.
  3. Crowdsourced solutionsIn a similar vein, encourage folks to share their unique challenges and brainstorm solutions together, and then leverage the collective wisdom to tackle common problems. Whether you publicly share your journey on socials, via a newsletter, or at an event, being open and honest about the ups and downs of the industry at the moment gives permission for others to do the same. As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one.

How can standardized language and practices be established to enhance collaboration and promote a shared vision for the industry's future? 

There are many different ways to answer this. For example, we could start by sharing (and agreeing) on a common language or collaborating to create best practice guidelines for community management. 

However, a more important angle might lie in our DEI practices. How do we make room for everyone? How do we make sure DEI is baked into our hiring, leadership, and community outreach? Having diverse voices every step of the way can help us reimagine what 'standardized' means in the first place. It opens doors for new ways of thinking, leading, and building communities that shine and sustain. 

In today's uncertain world, we need innovators. We need diversity. We need collaboration. And more than ever, we need community.

Evan Hamilton, Director of Community at HubSpot

Evan Hamilton

In this tough economic time, we need to both cheerlead and grow. I, and many of my peers, are amplifying every community pro looking for work that we can find. (Max Pete is doing great work here with We have to stick together to see this thing through. At the same time, we also need to be thinking about how we communicate and deliver the value of community so that companies WANT to invest in us in the long term. We need to get serious about measuring outcomes, talking about how we're aligned with business goals, and being of service to other teams. Community is a *fantastic* tool for these things, so it's not a huge stretch - but we need to make the extra effort right now; so on the other side of all of this, companies say, "Wow, Community really helped us pull through that."

Nikki Thibodeau, Founder & Head of Community of The Community Community

Nikki Thibodeau CMX Summit

In The Community Community specifically (a community for senior community professionals), folks are coming together through book club meetings to level up their acumen, support meetings for people who have been laid off, meeting with each other to work through problems, creating shared resources, and more. 

The key component is first being there to support each other, then the next line of business is to further the industry. 

Furthermore, how can standardized language and practices be established to enhance collaboration and promote a shared vision for the industry's future? 

There are numerous benefits that come from a shared & standardized language. 

Imagine that you are a community professional, and you report to a not-community professional (most of us can relate.) If you had a standardized language, you would not only feel more confident about what you are building, but you would be able to better articulate it to who you report to.

When that person you report to inevitably moves from company to company and ends up having community professionals reporting to them - they will be able to speak their language immediately. There will be little downtime in getting ramped up, and community teams will be more agile as a result. 

It's a benefit to everyone who touches the "community," not just the community professionals doing the work.

Let’s Meet at CMX Summit 2023: Shine!

Are you ready to join the conversation and shape the future of community building? Don't miss out on the opportunity to learn from thought leaders and connect with like-minded community professionals at CMX Summit 2023 "Shine." And with early bird pricing available now, there's no better time to secure your spot. So, what are you waiting for? Join us at CMX Summit 2023, and let's shine together!

Ana Levidze
Community Content Manager
April 4, 2023
April 2, 2024

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