Learning in a Community

Gina Romero 

Serial Entrepreneur & Co-founder of #connectedwomen

Communities are burgeoning everywhere. With the support of technology and globalisation, it seems all too easy to join and start a community.  Communities play a powerful role in society. Social interaction among members facilitates learning by having discussions, expert sharing, Q&A, amongst others. Through communities, members are able to discuss, reflect, synthesis and contribute to the knowledge and experiences of the community.  

However, participating in a community can take a lot of effort and time. While communities may start with good intention, some communities evolve and some become silent.

What does it take to start and keep a community going? How can communities help one’s learning? 

About Gina Romero 

  • She is a community builder who harnesses technology to drive the success of women entrepreneurs.
  • She is on a mission to enable more female entrepreneurs in APAC to startup and grow successful, profitable, purposeful businesses, regardless of their geographic location, race, education or financial standing.
  • Working with corporate partners, local organisations and government agencies, she creates initiatives that strengthen the regional startup and SME ecosystem.

Podcast Episode Highlights

    What got you into #connectedwomen and what motivated you to start this?

    • I’ve been a part of the women’s community for the last 13 years.
    • It started when I joined a women’s network  in the UK.
    • I was new to business at the time. A community of women helped me find my feet in the business world. It was crucial and helpful.

    Why is it important to join a community and how does the community help your members?

    • I believe that there’s no such thing as too niche in communities.
    • The more specific you are about what community you are looking for; the more value you can add.
    • For example, the Athena Network catered to women who were at a certain stage of their business, at a certain stage of their lives, and they have very similar challenges and values.

    Besides training events, what else do you do to build skills of the women in your community?

    • We had the idea to run training for women who wanted to work online in the Philippines. We created and facilitated a platform to match then with women entrepreneurs who are looking for certain skillsets in their business. The community evolved into a job matching platform.
    • In our community, we want our members to meet and connect with each other organically.
    • We touch on the softer aspect, rather than the machine learning aspect of business.
    • We focus on skills that are in demand and helps create location independence for the women.
    • We also focus on creating conversations around soft skills for the future and how women can stay relevant in the workplace as a lot of automation comes in.

    Challenges in Creating a Global Community

    • We didn’t have a real solid plans for the meet-ups as it was just a suggestion from members of the community. When the meet-up happened, it sort of took over everything else (we had planned for 2018).
    • The main challenge in Singapore is that it is small and there are a lot of events.
    • On the other hand, in the Philippines it is bigger and there are fewer events in the less urban areas. More people there are attracted to something like this as they don’t get much opportunity to connect.  
    • Another challenge would be attracting the right type of people and keeping it diverse.

    How do you decide on topics to talk about, or the theme of the meet-up?

    • The community members are encouraged to share their interests or what they would like to learn.
    • We listen to the general trends and the community needs and try to meet their needs based on that.

    Advice

    • Start small, and then grow it slowly over time.
    • Focus on adding value.
    • The best community I’ve created are the ones I have nurtured.
    • Community building is a service. With the mind-set of creating something in order to give back, you tend to see it grow organically.

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