Hi. I’m Tabby.
I joined the Community Team at cPanel in March 2019 as a Community Manager. I couldn’t be more excited about it if I tried, and I’ll tell you why; my entire career has led to this role. I’ve done so many weird and disparate things that from the outside, I’m sure when I tell folks that I was an award-winning music educator before I was a Community Manager, it makes no sense how I got here, but I’ll connect the dots for you.
I started my professional life as a teacher. I have a strong need to nurture others and help them to learn and expand their horizons. I like to garden, too, because it’s immensely satisfying watching things I start grow and thrive. I studied music in college, specializing in preschool music education, which led me to a position where I built and presented professional development conferences for early childhood music teachers around the globe, helping them learn how to use social media to their best advantage in business. At the same time, I worked in IT doing support for over a decade because helping people find solutions to technology problems is just another kind of teaching job. At my last support gig, I was working for a video game developer and was the liaison between our team and Community, and realized that was where I wanted to be next. In my spare time, I have always been passionate about nurturing social connections between people with common interests. I’ve run many online communities, from massive MMO guilds to Facebook and Meetup groups for local events. I saw Community Management as a way to blend all the things I’m good at into one, and so, after 18 years of successful small business ownership, I retired from teaching piano lessons to join the team here. I’m eager to bring my enthusiasm and expertise to the table for the cPanel community.
Who am I?
Like many of the folks here at cPanel, I’m a little bit eccentric, mostly in ways that I think are good and fun. My hair changes color like the sky, in all shades of the rainbow. For a while, everything I owned or wore was blue, but I’ve opened back up to good ol’ Roy G. Biv these days. Don’t be surprised by the number of blue phone boxes you come across in my wardrobe and decor – I’m a huge Whovian, and even my bedroom is TARDIS-Themed. I enjoy playing games of all kinds, but especially party card games (Monikers is a current favorite) and cooperative video games like Minecraft and Fallout 76 are my jam. I’m a sucker for furry critters (I have a menagerie at home) and I’m a registered bottle baby foster with a cat rescue in Houston. My teenage kids keep me on my toes and tease me about old memes, but they also help keep me current on the hottest new trends in social media, and I appreciate that cultural bridge.
What does Community mean to me?
Since I was brought on at cPanel, I’ve had a lot of my friends and colleagues ask me, “What exactly does a Community Manager do?” This is a complex answer, with the shortest version being “social media,” but it’s so much more than that. Community is providing the best of all worlds – the one-on-one interactions and the larger group support systems are both integral to the position. Working at professional development and pop culture conferences behind the scenes allowed me to see two sides of the same coin with very different audiences. Providing a bridge to knowledge for professionals on the one hand, and providing opportunities for networking and making connections with peers on the other, and both leading to the amazing development of unique communities was almost a kind of magic. A community team is made stronger by the sum of its’ parts. As a Community Manager, I am a bridge, a spotlight, a friend, a fan, a colleague, a mentor, and more.
For the users of cPanel, Community is an advocate in their corner, ready to go to bat for them to make sure the right folks get their eyes on issues that are important to the users. For the developers at cPanel, Community is the personification of our user base’s needs, a squeaky wheel in times of need, but ready to sing their praises for the hard work they do when we share updates about new features and products.
How can we work together?
One of the best parts about having a Community Team is that our entire purpose is to engage with the user community and find better ways to do things. So what are the ways that our Community Team is working to connect and engage with the cPanel community?
You may have seen my furry orange avatar around on the Feature Request site, where I’ve been getting to know the community through your requests and comments. I’ve been ramping up my understanding of the processes in place for communication between the dev team and the user community. My personal goal is to make sure that process is as streamlined as possible, and that the feature requests are easily understood by folks of all skill levels.
We write blog posts and update the Release site. We share relevant information about the product and the company on all the normal social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. We help recruit new folks to join the cPanel family. We plan and orchestrate a stellar annual Conference in the fall for folks in the hosting industry to connect with people, not only with cPanel’s Community team, but our developers, and with other cPanel users, building a powerful network of contacts in the industry. We have real-time chat interaction in Slack, and Discord, and forums on our website and on Reddit. These are great tools to connect, but sometimes, the best is just an old fashioned email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.