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My back­ground is in com­mu­ni­ty build­ing and prod­uct man­age­ment. Three major phas­es in my career have brought me to this project: 1. My ori­gins in local jour­nal­ism, hav­ing worked for a hyper­local branch of Rheinis­che Post in Duis­burg Rhein­hausen for sev­er­al years (which has been closed for many years). 2. My years at Deutsche Welle, where I was lead­ing on imple­ment­ing the first Social Media strate­gies work­ing with 30 lan­guage depart­ments and inter­nal­ly pro­mot­ing Social Media as a new way to lis­ten to audi­ences and gain­ing a bet­ter under­stand­ing of their needs/questions while also cre­at­ing engag­ing for­mats for user reten­tion. 3. My years as part of the found­ing team at Changex.org in dif­fer­ent roles, espe­cial­ly as com­mu­ni­ty and con­tent man­ag­er as well as prod­uct own­er. ChangeX is a non-prof­it organ­i­sa­tion in Ire­land that has built a plat­form that makes it easy for peo­ple to find, start and invest in ideas that trans­form com­mu­ni­ties. This time has taught me the poten­tial of local knowl­edge and action to dri­ve change. But also how social inno­va­tions build com­mu­ni­ties to scale their ideas (like GIY groups, Coder­Do­jo or parkrun). It has also taught me about the chal­lenges in build­ing a start­up and the lev­el of resilience in a team that is need­ed to turn an idea into an impact­ful busi­ness. In beabee all those expe­ri­ences come togeth­er now. I’m dri­ven by the idea that we need more media organ­i­sa­tions that learn to oper­ate like the organ­i­sa­tions and change­mak­ers I met through ChangeX. That com­mu­ni­ty build­ing is not what I end­ed up doing with my work at Deutsche Welle, pro­mot­ing plat­forms like Face­book and Twit­ter that, look­ing back, have failed us, but needs a much more hum­ble approach focused on empow­er­ing peo­ple in a com­mu­ni­ty and col­lab­o­rat­ing with them. And the idea that for doing this we can build inde­pen­dent tech­nol­o­gy that serve the com­mu­ni­ties and give organ­i­sa­tions dig­i­tal sov­er­eign­ty over their data and busi­ness mod­els rather than out­sourc­ing those to prof­it-dri­ven plat­forms like sub­stack.

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