An Unexpected Journey

January 15, 2013 — by Sherrie Rohde12



An Unexpected Journey

January 15, 2013 — by Sherrie Rohde12


In those days I was always respectable, and nothing unexpected ever happened.
—Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

Perhaps an ironic quote to accompany a picture throwing gang signs (also known as “The M” in the Magento Community). I saw The Hobbit last week and couldn’t help but laugh when the subtitle of the movie “An Unexpected Journey” is presented right after Baggins utters this quote.

Whether or not I ever was or am respectable is completely beyond the point. An Unexpected Journey; however, describes my story in the clearest of ways.

Community Managers have come from a variety of backgrounds but largely from studying either Marketing or Public Relations. My story begins with Graphic Design and Digital Media.

After four years of studying at a university smaller than your high school, I ended up back in my hometown. Since I was actually in my career path, with a job title of Multimedia Graphic Designer, I couldn’t complain. As fate would have it, my first task was to convert a catastrophe of web forms and plain text emails to an ecommerce solution.

Why does fate play a role? Magento, an open source ecommerce platform, had just been released in public beta eight days prior.

With enough knowledge to be dangerous, I simultaneously dove into their code and community forums. The Magento community was full of people willing to mentor those new to the code. As I continued to learn, I continued to get more involved by helping others.

My involvement in the forums led to a request to become a forum moderator. I accepted.

Shortly after that, Magento hired a Community Manager, Rhonda Rondeau. At the time I didn’t realize she was following standard protocol by befriending an active community member, but she did so flawlessly. As we became friends, Rhonda began to mentor me in community.

By the way, she totally hates it when I give her credit for this, but really she helped change my future and I’ll always be grateful for that.

Through a series of events I’ll never be able to fully comprehend, I now work in community and user experience for one of Magento’s Platinum Industry Partners, Sweet Tooth, a tech startup focused on Customer Loyalty for ecommerce.

It is really fun to combine customer loyalty and community management into one perfectly complimentary bundle.

My unexpected journey has led me to a career that I love while being surrounded by people that I couldn’t possibly be more thankful for and moving to a country I never expected to live in.

In honor of Community Manager Appreciation Day, let me just say: If you want to work in community management, go find a community and get involved. Take action. Now.

Sherrie Rohde

Community Manager at Magento
As the Community Manager for Magento, Sherrie connects people with resources and with each other, and, since she’s just a bit passionate about the topic, she also co-produces a monthly broadcast for community professionals called #CMGRHangout. An ENFP, Sherrie is obsessed with innovation, terrified of status quo, and motivated by adventure. Reach out on Twitter at @sherrierohde. 
  • bobschwartz

    Sherrie – You could and should write so much more on how you create energy around community and what you do  – get  to @rondata (RhondaR) co-author with you! 
    Looking forward to working with you again!  
    Bob, Past President of Magento 🙂

    • @bobschwartz  Aw, thanks Bob! It would be an absolute honor to work with you again down the road, love your enthusiasm! 🙂 
      As for co-authoring with @rondata , that would be nothing short of epic! 😉

  • Roshan Grossman

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Sherrie! Really interesting to read about your career path, and get to know you a little more through this post. Looking forward to connecting at the meet-up this week!

    • @Roshan Grossman Thanks chica! Learning people’s stories is one of the best parts of community management. Super excited for Thursday! 🙂

  • CedarBrown

    Very cool, Sherrie! Seems like there is no such thing as a simple apply and accept CMGR job story. There are so many unique stories, I love hearing them. Great advice too, just dive in! Keep up the great work 🙂

    • @CedarBrown Thanks Cedar! It’s true, I don’t think it applies just to Community Management but it does seem to be a common trend within our industry for sure. 🙂

  • MagentoCarly

    Sherrie – love your energy and passion! Thanks for posting.

    • @MagentoCarly Thanks Carly! Looking forward to seeing you in a few months at Imagine! 🙂

  • monocat

    Hey Sherrie. Great write-up and thanks for sharing your story with us all. As always, thank you for your continuous support and relentless passion to Magento. Looking forward seeing you again at Magento Imagine. Throwing “The M” back at you. 🙂

    • @monocat Thanks Mosses! As cliche as it sounds, Magento’s done a lot for changing my life, I’m always happy to give back! Here we come, Vegas!!! 🙂

  • Modified_Mama

    Well Sherrie, I knew from the moment I met you that you rocked. But this just reminds me of how awesome you truly are.

    • @Modified_Mama Aw, thanks Alex! As you can see from above, you’re a much better photographer! 😉