Sofía Rodríguez is the Director of Community at Venafi and is currently on the board of advisors for Techqueria, which is an organization for Latinos in the United States to help them in their tech careers.
Sofía opens up a window, giving us a little glimpse into her usual life as a Community leader and the small parts that make up her day. You would never guess what would she be doing if she wasn’t into building communities (or maybe you would). And she loves video games, so there’s that.
See for yourself👇
01:38 - Sofia’s favorite part about being a community manager.
02:38 - What fuels her throughout the day?
03:07 - How does she unwind after a long day of work?
03:26 - Her music taste does not disappoint.
04:52 - Sofia’s hack for building great communities.
Hritika: So, hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of the community show. Here, we'll have the most amazing community managers from across the globe join us for a quick and fun conversation. Our next guest is Sofia. Welcome Sofia, would you like to introduce yourself?
Sofia: Absolutely, and thank you for having me. My name is Sofia Rodriguez, I'm the Director of Community at Venafi.
Hritika: Anything else that you want to share with the audience?
Sofia: Sure, I have been doing community management for like years now. I'm also currently on the board of advisors for Techqueria, which is an organization for Latinos in the United States to help them in their tech careers. And outside of that, I am just a bit of a geek. I love video games; I love arts and crafts and I love reading.
Hritika: Amazing, that sounds perfect. So, we'll just start with our questions now. So, our first question is - If you were not a community manager, what would you be doing?
Sofia: I would probably be an artist.
Hritika: What kind of artist?
Sofia: I would illustrate and paint. So, what I would love to do is have an art gallery, that's also a coffee shop. So, I can show my artwork, but also have people there all the time, having conversations and just having this kind of home for people to be at.
Hritika: What is that part of your job that you absolutely love?
Sofia: I love speaking with people. I love hearing about people. So, just whenever they start talking about their lives or their interests or their passions that's the moment that I feel the most happiness.
Hritika: And what do you hate the most about your job?
Sofia: Sometimes it's a lot of hours. It's definitely not a job that is for everyone, and I've actually known a lot of people who have left community management. So do know that it is going to be maybe sometimes an emotionally exhausting job.
Hritika: What is the most common stereotype that you've heard about your job role?
Sofia: A lot of people say that we are social media managers, we are always on our computers, coming up with hashtags, or that a lot of the work that we do is just fluffy and easy.
Hritika: What is the one thing that keeps you going through the day?
Sofia: I think knowing that the work that we're doing has a deeper meaning than just what you got to see with working with a new product or tool. We have the opportunity to truly connect people and get them to form deeper connections in a world that is very quickly becoming more isolated, more separated.
Hritika: That sounds fair enough. What is your favorite snack to munch on during meetings? Obviously, with the cameras off.
Sofia: This is a terrible answer because it's usually not a snack. It's actually an ice coffee or ice macho. I should be healthier.
Hritika: That's all of us. A community manager that you want to give a shout-out to right now?
Sofia: I would love to give a shout-out to Jasmine. She is working for Techqueria the organization that I mentioned earlier. She just has an absolute passion and dedication for the group and she's really been stepping up. So, shout out to her and she's doing amazing work.
Hritika: How do you unwind after work?
Sofia: Ooh, good question. It completely depends. I'm very lucky that I live near a beautiful sort of trail and it's very calm. So, sometimes I like to just take a very long walk and just disconnect from a computer or a phone. And sometimes I'm going to be totally honest, it's just watching a new show.
Hritika: And what is your go-to song on a very difficult day?
Sofia: So, I listen to a lot of electronic music, whether it's house, techno, psytrance. I love a producer who's called Seven Lions, but sometimes when I'm in a funk, just you know, a bad mood, I go back to listening to early 2000’s pop. So, I'll do like Black-eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Shakira, just music that brings me back.
Hritika: Quick this or that, coffee or protein shake?
Hritika: Early morning meetings or late night events?
Sofia: Night events.
Hritika: Work from home or work from office?
Sofia: Work from home.
Hritika: The Tv show Friends or the Tv show The Office?
Hritika: Slack or discord?
Hritika: What according to you is the most important thing when it comes to building a safe space in your community?
Sofia: It's really hard to answer in a couple of words, but I would say if you're looking to build a safe space, you have to make sure that it is truly an inclusive space for everyone. So, it's like having that understanding of who is in your community and understanding what they need in order to tailor that space for them.
Hritika: And how do you do it in your community, at least try to?
Sofia: So, my community is interesting because they are in cybersecurity. So, we have one aspect which is technical safety, ensuring that their data is safe. But then there's also the human aspect and a great way to do that is just really simple. It's actually talking to your community members, who are your customers, and asking them out front, like what is important to you? What is something that's a priority for you?, What makes you feel like this is a place that you want to keep coming back? That is that safe space.
Hritika: What does that one community hack that you would share with us? That one little secret that you have?
Sofia: Don't underestimate the power of talking to your people. Whether that's, when they're first getting started or they have become experts, things are always changing. We are always changing. So even if you already spoke to them the first time when they were starting out, things have changed for them. So always keep a pulse on your community members.
Hritika: What is your mantra for life?
Sofia: I wouldn't say I have a mantra, but I do believe that you should always be kind to people no matter what.
Hritika: Spoken like a true community manager.
Sofia: That's true.
Hritika: What is that one piece of advice you have to the younger community managers or people who are just getting started in the space?
Sofia: Don't be afraid to ask questions or to reach out to people that you might idolize. You might think that they are perhaps too in their career or too popular or too legendary. Most of the folks that I have met in this industry are very welcoming. They welcome those questions, so don't be afraid. Just reach out, ask questions, do your reading. There are a lot of resources out there for you and a lot of support.
Hritika: And this is the last question. The question is, What is that one community that you would recommend joining apart from your own?
Sofia: This might be because of the stage of my life, where I'm at, but I would actually say, join a community that's purely for you. Not because you're looking to advance your career or professional development or because everyone else is in that community. Do something for fun. So, if you love knitting, look for a community that’s specifically for knitting and I think that’ll really reinvigorate your passion and also show you another way to be a community manager.
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