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#ThankItForward – On Building Community and Finding My Place

By Shannon Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.

Once again we are celebrating the concept of #thankitforward at TheCR this December (learn more here) and I wanted to be the first to share my picks. At the risk of veering off track, 2014 was an exciting year both personally and professionally for me. I got married in January, am having a baby any day now (!?) and got to spend the year working alongside a passionate, dedicated team of people that truly believe in the power of community. My one year anniversary with TheCR was in October, and I can honestly say my first year here flew by. I know I am very lucky to have found a group of people that make it a delight to get up and work with every day, so without further ado, my 2014 #thankitforward picks:

#Thankitforward1. The whole team at TheCR: Rachel, Jim, Hillary, Maggie, Jillian and Ted

(At right – TheCR takes a break from building community to make snow angels.)

The team behind the scenes at TheCR is pretty small – there are just seven of just spinning the hamster wheels. With the amount of content we produce, partners we support and members we serve that could be a nightmare, but this team makes working hard a delight. I can honestly say I’ve never been part of a team where every member not just pulls their weight, but champions each other, lends a hand whenever needed and contributes to an overall feeling of “team” that makes each work day exciting, challenging and fulfilling. Sounds pretty Pollyanna – but it’s true. Certainly there are stressful days, but the other six people on my team make the challenges we face seem surmountable and I simply can’t thank them enough for just being themselves.

2. The Members of TheCR Network

I spend a lot of time sharing news, ideas and tips here on the blog, so you might not know that another part of my job is to work with our members to get them out in the wider community industry sharing their expertise and generally letting the world know how awesome they are. I am grateful to have such an accomplished pool of community talent to showcase. Over the last year I’ve been lucky enough to learn from a wide array of community folks and can’t wait to continue the work we’ve started to show the world what a unique, diverse and smart group of people that make up TheCR Network.

3. Jeff Ross

This is almost a 2b answer for me, since Jeff is a member of TheCR Network, but I couldn’t help singling him out this year. Jeff, in addition to his day job in community at Humana, founded #ESNchat and is one of the most passionate community builders I’ve met. Jeff was one of the first members I got to spend time working with when I joined TheCR team last year, and his positive attitude, willingness to share his time and knowledge and overall awesome attitude made him a no-brainer for this list. Recently Jeff handed the reins of #ESNchat over to our team, and I’ve gotten to work both with him to continue the amazing program he’s single-handedly built, but also interact with the dozens and dozens of community professionals around the world that make up the #ESNchat community, and without exception these folks have nothing but wonderful things to say about Jeff. So – thank you Jeff! Your hard work and passion is an inspiration to me!

I hope my #thankitforward list inspires you to take a moment to reflect on the past year and reach out to the people in your life that have helped you survive and thrive in 2014. We’d love to hear who inspired you, kept you sane or sparked an a-ha moment this year – just tag it #thankitforward!

Finally, I’d like to sneak in one final #thankitforward to you. Thank you for coming back and spending part of your day with us here on TheCR blog. Here’s to a happy and healthy December, I can’t wait for 2015!



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