Hi everyone! As the director of CMX, I would like to acknowledge the conversations, experiences, and feedback that the CMX community has been sharing. First, Thank you to those who are sharing their stories and experiences - both privately and publicly of the harm that has happened and the healing that is needed going forward. I will first summarize some of the main pain points and then will share some of our plans for improvement:
1. Past CMX leadership and the experiences being shared by individuals in the industry
2. Current Organizational Relationships - Feedback has been received that members aren't clear on how CMX and Bevy work together, how the team is structured, and where the boundaries are between the brands.
3. Our Plan Going Forward - Team Processes and Operations and our efforts around DEI in our community
There are several individuals who have publicly shared that they don't feel they've gotten sufficient credit for their contributions to CMX in the past. These individuals are not named here out of respect for the pain they are feeling, and they have not explicitly given permission to be named in this post. David Spinks, who led the team at that time, shared in the CMX community that he has contacted each person directly to offer to talk with a third-party mediator, work toward repair and reconciliation, and ensure credit is given where it's due. We're awaiting updates from all parties on how CMX can support, and are also aware that these types of processes can take time, so will continue to pay attention and look for ways we can improve going forward.
While these experiences happened in the past, before I took on this leadership role, I recognize that they have an impact on the community today.
CMX is a community of community leaders, and I believe it is vital that we find and practice reparative processes that will allow us to grow better together. My team has been watching and learning from these conflicts. We are more committed than ever to learning how to build a more transparent and restorative process for moments when we could have done better.
In my role as the leader of CMX, I commit to make CMX a more transparent, inclusive, and equitable community, which I'll be talking about in the rest of this post.
CMX was acquired by Bevy in February 2019. Over the past few years, our team has worked hard to ensure CMX remains a valuable education space for all of our members to learn and connect with their peers in the industry, and that CMX provides a venue to showcase Bevy’s platform. The CMX team lives within the Bevy organization with Beth McIntyre as our current Director of Community leading the team. On the team is Luca Albertinazzi, Marketing Manager, SueJean Kang, Sr. Events Manager, Ana Levidze, Content Manager, and Ismael Branco our Sr. Visual Designer. We work with the CS team to help create content and resources for Bevy customers. Getting access to Bevy’s extended team gives us product, design, data, and engineering support we otherwise wouldn’t have, and gives these teams an insider look into the workings of a community, and specifically our community-led programming.
As a team, we’ve always worn two hats: the community manager hat - intentionally engaging with our members in meaningful ways, building programs and events that serve our mission and our members, and creating content and educational resources that grow the industry. The other hat we’ve worn is the business hat - proving the business value that our programming drives for the company. Wearing both of these hats authentically and honestly can be challenging and this challenge is not unique. Many (maybe the majority of) brand communities know the difficulty of proving business value of their community. What we can do with our position in the industry, is be more transparent about the relationship between Bevy and the CMX Community.
Right now, the management of each program is led by the corresponding team member, and programming decisions are made by the CMX team, led by me, Beth McIntyre. Our team works openly with each other to build our programming out cohesively. Budget decision making, as well as decisions around CMX Summit are made collectively by the CMX team, the Bevy HQ team, and our CEO, Derek Andersen. CMX is ultimately funded by Bevy, and so Bevy will show up in CMX programming. Our team will commit to working on more clearly defining how and when Bevy will show up in the community, and to set expectations with our members going forward.
We want to thank everyone who is sharing their story and experience. Whether they are CMX’ers or not, believe me when I say, we are listening and learning where we fell short and/or disappointed some or many of you. It is clear that you all care about this community and this industry the same way we do, and we’re grateful for your passion and your promise to hold us accountable.
We’ve heard about some negative experiences some speakers reported having with being put on panels at CMX Summit last year. We are also hearing feedback from our Communiteer team about their program being handed off multiple times in the last year and a half.
The continuity of programs and operations as the CMX team and leadership changed over the last year and a half, was less than ideal. We’ve heard stories from members who have been directly impacted by this broken continuity. Thank you to those folks who have shared this feedback with us, and we apologize for the experience you had with us due to these changes. There are clearly some additions that can be made to CMX processes and operations that will ensure the longevity of the community throughout inevitable leadership and team changes. Our team is implementing a formal goal-setting process as well as a focus on documentation, to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to planning, so that we have fewer opportunities for the ball to be dropped.
Our hope is that with proper documentation and team-wide accountability, the CMX Community will continue to thrive no matter who is at the helm of the ship.
The last Community Health and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI&B) survey we ran in the greater CMX Community was in March 2021. I can already see room for improvement on how long ago this was and how this should at minimum be a yearly survey. The information we collected back then was incredibly valuable. We learned about the health of our community and its programs and gathered more accurate demographic information of the community who responded. It gave us a chance to hear from even more of our members, and gave us the breadth of feedback that we couldn’t collect through one-to-one conversations.
To prepare for a second survey, we have already kicked off individual interviews with members. A link has been shared in the CMX Community, for members to book time for a feedback conversation with the CMX team (you’re also welcome to send a DM or an email to Beth to share feedback, or to set up a call). We will use this direct feedback to help inform our plans and programming, as well as inform what will go into the Community Health Survey which will be kicked off again in Q2/Q3 2024. We will be sure to include questions about our values in the health survey, so we can hear from more of our members about their experiences in relation to these values.
Our hope with kicking off the health survey again (and committing to running it more consistently) is that we will identify specific areas where we have room for growth and make a plan around those areas. We also commit to sharing what we learned, and publishing our findings again.
In 2022, our team worked with our community members to redefine our values. We collected feedback and input from members to build out values that everyone felt like they identified with, and that would create the kind of space people not only wanted to join, but felt safe to stay in and be themselves. It’s become clear that the values of CMX need to be more prominent and more intentionally upheld in the community. We will be revisiting the current values, to ensure that they, and our community guidelines, are up to date and still feel relevant to our community. We will also revisit how, when, and how often our values are shared in our community, to ensure they are always at the forefront of what we do. Again, thank you to the folks who have shared their experiences in our programs. Our focus moving forward is to ensure the CMX Community is a place where people feel safe voicing their opinions.
My last commitment when it comes to the CMX team’s efforts around DEI in our community, is to invite more voices to the table. We are looking to work with an equity consultant to bring another perspective into our decision making and processes.
This is not an exhaustive list, because this work takes time, patience, and doesn’t have an end. Right now, we are getting a lot of feedback and it’s loud and clear that CMX can do a lot of things better. I am committed to moving forward with all of you and to being more transparent about our team and programming. We are excited to be on this journey and are looking forward to a better CMX.
Thank you for your trust, candor, and transparent reflections on this organization, both in the past and present. While this is a painful time of growth, it is also a time for hope that we are building a healthier culture of inclusivity and accountability going forward.
Please keep your concerns and suggestions coming so we can keep improving how we serve each of you. If there are any questions you have that are still not answered, please share them. And lastly, if you’d like to have a conversation directly with me, please send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m keen to hear from you!