DevOps Institute

[EP31] SKILup Day Special: Memberships, Communities and Networks


This special episode of the Humans of DevOps Podcast is brought to you from SKILup Day: Value Stream Management that was held on March 18, 2021.

SKILup Day: Value Stream Management concluded with this fireside chat discussion on, “Memberships v’s Communities v’s Networks,” with DevOps Institute’s CEO, Jayne Groll, DevOps Institute Director of Membership, Jason Baum, as well as We Are The City’s Vanessa Vallely and Andre Pino of MediaOps.

Vanessa Vallely explained networks and communities help leverage resources between people and organizations.

The lightly edited transcript can be found below.

Narrator 00:03
You’re listening to the humans of DevOps podcast, a podcast focused on advancing the humans of DevOps through skills, knowledge, ideas and learning, or the SKIL framework.

Jayne Groll 00:17
Hi, everyone, it’s Jayne Groll of the DevOps Institute. And I hope everybody’s having an amazing skillup day today all about value stream management. For this panel, I’m really excited about the folks that are joining me today because we’re going to talk about human connections. And as part of this, we’re going to discuss networking communities, and professional associations, some of the differences, some of the similarities and why it’s important for the humans at DevOps to build those connections, whether in person or remotely for your own social, psychological and professional goals. So let me introduce our panel. So Andre Pino, who is CMO of media ops. The Vanessa Vallely of We are the city and Jason Baum, Director of membership at DevOps Institute. Hi, everyone.

Hi Jayne. Hi, Jayne. Hi. Oh.

Jayne Groll 01:17
So why don’t you introduce yourself to our audience? So Andre, why don’t you go first?

Andre Pino 01:22
Okay. I’m Andre Pino with media ops. And I’ve recently joined media ops from a company called CloudBees. And, of course, while I was at CloudBees, I had the privilege of working with one of the largest open source communities, the Jenkins community and gained a lot of experience in how open source communities work, and generally and in general, how the networking works within those communities and what really drives people to contribute and to cooperate in those in that type of community.

Jayne Groll 01:58
That’s awesome. Thank you. Vanessa, would you introduce yourself, please.

Vanessa Vallely 02:02
So I’m Vanessa Vallely, reside in the UK 25 years in corporate technology left around seven years ago to build my own community for women, to help them to access resources that can develop their careers. So do a lot of in the networking space, I speak about it as a public speaker. I’ve drawn together communities of women in tech women across a multitude of industries. But he also runs something called Gender networks, which brings together all of the chairs and the co-chairs of a multitude of different women’s networks, across 95 different firms, so very much different communities for different things, but the whole intention around bringing people together for the greater good.

Jayne Groll 02:43
Awesome, thank you. And Jason, why don’t you introduce yourself to our audience.

Jason Baum 02:48
I’m Jason Baum, the director of membership for DevOps Institute, I recently joined DOI back in December. Very excited because we are launching a brand new membership program at DevOps Institute. And prior to that, I’ve spent the last 15 years in the nonprofit sector working for trade associations, professional associations, if it’s an association, I’ve done it, I’ve served all aspects of the association, whether it be from marketing to operations to everything, but finance, I’ll say, then don’t ask me to do any calculations but and membership and Chapter Chapter work. So it’s something that’s very passionate to me, I’ve spent the better part of my career doing it. And prior to that I was in the entertainment field, because that makes sense. And I’ve worked for MTV Networks and the like. So

Jayne Groll 03:43
awesome, thank you. So each of you represents a different kind of community, a really distinct kind of community. You know, Andre, looking at it from more of a technical perspective and open source opportunity to connect engineers and others, you know, particularly in the Jenkins community, and I’ve had some opportunity, the NASA really connecting women, right, so looking at it from, from a professional perspective, but also trying to find a group that resonates with each other and I belong to several women’s group as well. And Jason, you represent more of a professional association, community, which again, has a little bit of a different spirit and a flavor but let’s level SAT. Alright, let’s talk about why it’s important to find a community or communities it isn’t just to find one, hopefully find more than one, to be able to develop that human connection. And while you’re discussing that, why don’t you give us your perspective on say the difference between an association, a community and and the importance of networking. So, Vanessa, you’ve run so many different communities. Why don’t you start there? Why is it important to connect with communities with assistance? Asians to be able to do that networking, how does it help humans?

Vanessa Vallely 05:04
I think I mean, first of all, it’s integral to your career, we need people, right, you’re not going to get ahead without people, we need people for a multitude of things. You know, if you’re just going to sit at your desk all the time and be trapped in the doing all the time, you know, you’re not getting out there, and you’re not making those connections, you know, how do you plan your future around that. So I’m a true believer in and again, the net word networking scares people, you know, it’s just the art of me building a relationship with another human being. So creating safe spaces or spaces where people have a common commonality or a common goal, or, you know, it’s around a certain industry. You know, I think that breaks down the fear of being in the room with other people, when we’ve immediately got something in common, we both work in the same sector. So from that perspective, you know, absolutely, I think, incredibly integral to all of our career journeys, to make those connections and to see where we can help other individuals, but obviously gain opportunities for us to learn from them. So I think back to my own kind of first community, there was a few people that were in that room at the time that went on to become mentors of mine, for example, there were nuggets of information that I picked up in that community that I was able to replay back to my organization, there were other connections in the room that perhaps weren’t necessarily useful to me at that particular time. But they were really useful to people that I knew that were seeking those mutual connections. So, so from that perspective, you know, it’s an absolutely fantastic way of learning new things and meeting new people.

Jayne Groll 06:36
And I think you’re really you’re really hitting on it from, for example, you’re sitting in the UK right now I’m sitting in Florida, right? We’ve never met in person. Right. But but we have a connection, that, I think, you know, extends beyond this panel today. And I think that’s, that’s one of the coolest things about virtual communities is that you can meet people from all over the world, while you’re still sitting in your office or in your living room. Let me follow up with a question for you about that. Because from your introduction, you are building a community of communities, which I also think is really interesting talk a little bit about that,

Vanessa Vallely 07:15
too. For example, with gender networks, I 11 years ago, when I was back in corporate, I’d gone to an event where this particular investment manager had invited all of its clients to come and show and tell what they were doing for women. So this is quite progressive because gender wasn’t really on anyone’s agenda. But 11 years ago, and diversity wasn’t even. So there was about four companies in the room that were talking about various different events and initiatives they were doing to help attract, retain and develop their female talent. And at the end of that meeting, all of these companies got up ready to leave. And that was it. And I thought, well, this is crazy because we’re all trying to solve the same problem. So I decided to create what was then called the network of networks. So a mothership that would sit across these four organizations would keep them together. So I would do the admin to make sure that we kept talking and making sure that we had meetings where we could share best practices, and kind of be a sounding board. Because sometimes running a network is a really lonely space. You know, it’s something that you do, you know, you don’t have it’s, it’s generally a side of the desk for a lot of the women that were kind of in that room and their day jobs. And that grew, and it grew to 40 companies, it grew to 50 companies as my agenda become kind of more on people’s agenda. And today, it’s 95. So the biggest part of that is hearing what everyone’s trying to do in the leverage that those companies get. So for example, one company wanted to do a reverse mentoring program. And they came to the group and they said, Look, we don’t know how to do it, but we know that consultants are going to charge us 20k, you know, you could reach bounds, in order to put a program together and there was like five companies went, we’ve done it, we’ll help you, we’ll give you the model, and save the company 20k. So it’s, it’s all of that kind of leveraging of experiences, leveraging of, you know, we’re all trying to achieve the same goal. So I’m a big fan of Anthony that that’s what we do on we are the city and on we are tech women, because we promote for all the different networks. And for an example, there are 2000, very money UK is tiny compared to you guys. But there are 2000 Women’s networks that we know of alone, that are multi-industry and each of them have communities of 1000s. So bringing those all together, so that anyone who comes to my websites, for example, or comes to us can make an informed choice about what community they join. And that’s outside. Other things that we’re going to talk about, like membership organizations or professional associations and stuff like that. But they have a safe space where they can network with people that are in their industry that have got common sets of goals.

Jayne Groll 09:46
Awesome. Thank you and thank you because she’s segwayed me really great to Jason to talk about professional associations, professional membership associations. So Jason, why do or should people join professionals? associations and again, knowing that there are dues that may be associated with it that it’s a little bit of a different flavor, but still a safe space. Why do or should people consider joining professional associations?

Jason Baum 10:15
Yeah, I think Vanessa just summed it up so well, I mean, it really it’s the same could be said, for, you know, societies that might be centered on gender, or organizations that are meant to or clubs or things that are centered around maybe like interests that could be applied towards business goals. And I’ve used this quote before, so people who know me might have heard this before. Luckily, many of you don’t know me. But JFK said it really well, a rising tide lifts all boats. And it’s, that’s probably the number one reason why these organizations exist is to empower and whether that be if it’s for women to empower other women, or if it’s for like-minded career interests, whatever that might be. That is the end goal of these organizations, these associations, the societies, unions, you name it, there are a million names, and there are 1000s of them. And they exist for all different types of interest groups, or professional organizations or professional industries. And I think this model has been around for a long, long time. And it’s because it works. It’s because when you find out when there’s power in numbers, that’s when things get done. So for professional organizations or trade organizations, it might be on the advocacy front, there might be issues that we need to push forward as an industry, because it’s something that’s impacting us. I mean, just recently, I have some experience with tariffs that I never really had thought about until these past few years. It could be in the healthcare industry, trying to push forward certain things. I mean, there’s a variety of reasons. But at the end of the day, it’s if you’re professional, trying to join an association, it’s for yourself. Number one, what’s in it for me? How am I going to benefit? And that could be in a multitude of ways. But at the end of the day, it’s probably trying to find that next career leap. It’s, it’s your career goals. It’s where do you see yourself in five years? Who do you want to attach yourself to? Who’s that network? What does that network you need to build? And to Vanessa’s point, networking is a scary word to many people. I never realized that I’m, I’m a social person by nature. There’s the Seinfeld joke about the number one fear of people is speaking in public. And number two is death. So that means you’d rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy. And I always think about that, and it’s it for me, it’s not something that I really thought about before until, you know, I started to network and people were telling me, I’m so afraid of networking, but really, the same people who were telling me that might be at a conference with like, 10 people at a table having coffee, because these are people they’ve known for years. That’s networking. But people don’t like that word. And they tell me that they’re they’re not networkers, but we all are, we all have that. In our nature, it’s just finding your right tribe. And that’s when association is all about.

Jayne Groll 13:29
But you know, it’s interesting, because listening to the two of you speak, to me, there is a little bit of a difference right now, again, probably because of what you represent. But in a professional association. You know, Jason, you once told me, before we started recording, that you would join an association early on in your career, because you wanted to network with people that were more advanced in, in their careers so that you could grow yourself that way, to professional associations to me anyhow, and we can debate this seem to be more industry or role specific, where as what Vanessa is describing, and I’m going to get to Andre with the Jenkins community is is more finding a community regardless of industry, regardless of vertical regardless of, of, you know, who you are, where you are, and what you’re trying to achieve when connecting with women, retired people or connecting with retired people, right. So, so it it isn’t that one is better than the other but from a professional association, it’s usually because from a career growth, you were looking for finding a niche or multiple niches, we may belong to multiple professional associations. What do you think about

Jason Baum 14:48
I think getting into them is probably the difference why you got into it. But I think once you found the right one, I think that’s when it kind of all comes together and you get those the benefits that I was talking about, and that Vanessa was talking about, because you might be in involved, like your example of what I told you about my reason for joining an association for Association Executives. When I first got into associations, it was a lofty, lofty goal for myself. But, you know, I knew what I wanted, professionally. And I knew to get there, I needed to build my network. And I knew I needed to meet other people who are involved in associations professionally, and learn from them and find out why they were as passionate about it as I want it to be and just roll up my sleeves and get involved. And that’s the key to associations is your level of involvement. You can belong to an association doesn’t mean anything unless you’re doing something in that association and meeting those people. So there is a key to that. And then once you do, that’s when it kind of all comes together. And the similarities between what Vanessa was talking about and what I’m talking about. It’s it is finding that tribe at the end of the day, and your reasons for joining us, is usually the difference.

Jayne Groll 16:03
And it’s usually because you’ve chosen a career path like I wouldn’t have joined the association, I wouldn’t join AICPA. Right. The Association of Certified Public Accountants my husband belongs, right, but I’m not an accountant. So I wouldn’t even consider joining that I wouldn’t join the American Medical Association, right. But I would join DevOps Institute because again, I’m in the IT space, or I belong to several others, I probably would join Vanessa’s communities, because women connecting with women. So I do think there is I don’t know if we want to call it a commitment, but part of it. But Andre, let’s go to the Jenkins community is a really great example of almost an organic community, right people that are kind of focused on either the same product or like user groups, things like that, that people join because they’re looking to peer to peer connections on in a particular technology or area. What how did that grow? And kind of what’s the secret sauce there?

Andre Pino 17:05
Yeah. So I think Vanessa, hit on it earlier. It’s common purpose, right? Everybody who joined the Jenkins community had a common purpose of how to make their job easier, and more streamlined. That’s how the whole Jenkins community got started, you know, over 10 years ago, developers, were writing a lot of code, but then to get that code, you know, where it was ready for production, took a lot of mundane tasks, and work and took them away from writing that, that next bit of great code, and, you know, the, the the amazing cosca Kawaguchi started the Jenkins community to solve that problem, how can we automate a lot of those mundane tasks that we all spend a lot of time doing so that we can get back to the real job of writing great code. And that became the center point, right, I became the Guiding Light of the Jenkins community. And from there, you know, the community got formed. And, you know, with a common set of goals, and everybody understood those common set of goals and objectives of the community. And I think that that is what Foster’s that, that contribution, which is another important aspect of a community, you can’t, you can’t just have, you know, people in a community that are just there to receive, you got people that are contributing, not going to get everybody to contribute. But the larger portion of the community that you can have contributing, the more active and vibrant communities going to be, and the better the quality, and innovation that’s going to come out of that community.

Jayne Groll 18:47
And it’s really interesting to me, when we look at communities like the Jenkins community, or some of these user groups, very large user groups that have grown up over time, part of the goal, part of the objective is to learn from each other. I learned so much from you know, the your implementation or you know, have been hearing from others how they’re doing it. So you’re right, it’s a given take, right, here’s how we’re doing it, or I have a question. Can somebody else answer if you look at these community forums that have grown up?

Andre Pino 19:19
Yeah. I mean, you know, more specifically, in the Jenkins community, you know, there there were, like, you know, a small percentage of highly active contributors, then you had a larger percentage of generally active people. And then, of course, you had people who are just they’re working, but you know, each of those groups have a role to play, right. And so people are contributing code, and then maybe others are simply reviewing that code, trying that code testing that code, how’s it working for me, you know, providing feedback. So, you know, different folks with different levels of contribution to the community can all play played a role

Vanessa Vallely 19:58
something That’s just on the point, I just think that I like Andres community and my community are very, very similar. When Jason was talking about earning money from a UK, I’m going to just give you a UK perspective, people tend to join associations here in the UK, because it’s almost like a bit of a badge of honor as well to say, I’m really serious about my industry, and I’m really serious about my career. And obviously, you have the benefit of knowing when you go to that association, you are going to, you are guaranteed to have people in your industry, you know, in your sector, whereas, and I think the same is with Andre, where it was with mine, you I could meet all sorts of people that the only common denominator is that we’re all women, you get to have like, a multitude. So I just wanted to point out the kind of the difference and, and how we see an association. So I remember when I first started off in banking, I looked for a Banking Association, because I wanted to tell my boss that I was waiting, you know, I was a member of the banking because there was a prestige, announced that, you know, it doesn’t have the same kind of gravitas. As when you say I’m part of a network, that just means I’m interested in it. And I think the association badge means I’m really serious about this, you know, I’m kind of doing it, because often I’m not as well, with the network side. It’s, it’s we don’t have to pay, unless it’s a big event. But with the Association, there’s fees, right, which is what you want to get the benefit out of that association or that membership. So just to kind of, you know, it’s just interesting listening to the different ones, but just to give you a UK perspective on, and I don’t know if it’s the same as with you guys in the US, but that tends to be why we join associations, because, you know, we want the badge to engage with our sector.

Jason Baum 21:43
That’s a really good point. And yeah, we had membership dues. And the dues is a great difference right there. Right. So there’s, there’s the value proposition of association membership. And the value is to the person who is joining, to their employer, usually, and then to the association as well. So in the greater community, so every time someone joins because it’s building up that community within that industry, for the employer, they’re hoping that they can build their talent within. And for the employee, it’s building their own career. So yeah, I agree with you. 100%. Your Enterprise

Jayne Groll 22:19
join? Right. I’m sorry to jump in. But Jason, some enterprises choose to join associations on a corporate level.

Jason Baum 22:27
Well, yeah, I mean, trade associations. Yeah. I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s really for the good of the industry at that point.

Jayne Groll 22:34
Yeah, or for the good of their employees. Right. So, therefore, they offer their employees, that’s great. And so what were you gonna say, I’m sorry, at that point,

Vanessa Vallely 22:42
it was exactly that point around, you know, you’d very rarely get organizations to pay for you to have a membership to a network. But you definitely get your organization to pay for, you know, for for that kind of different for a membership kind of community, especially when, you know, the prestige that comes with saying that you’re a member of that kind of organization. So corporates are more likely to pay for you to do that to develop their teams in a membership form, rather than I’m just going to pay for you to go networking.

Jayne Groll 23:14
But but but let’s not, let’s not, you know, let’s not minimize the importance of communities and networking. And for each of you, I want to kind of now kind of pivot, we talked a lot about the career growth that’s associated with that. And that’s important, but there’s a very social side, to communities and associations. I mean, some of my closest friends, my former business partner, I met, because we stood up a chapter together of an association that we both belong to. So there’s a social and psychological I think, Vanessa, I think you really kind of pointed out the psychological but what about the social side? Andre, looking at the Jenkins community? Right, you know, what was the social benefits of participating in in that community?

Andre Pino 24:03
I think that it was a sense of belonging, right. So you know, they, they, they all understood each other because they were all had similar roles in their own organizations. I think also on a social side. They love to get together and really be able to share what they were each doing best practices because I think that it was specifically in the technology world, one of the great things about various communities as you get to accelerate either your knowledge or you get to avoid pitfalls that others before you have, have hit. And I think that the social aspect helps you to build trust amongst your peers, and for them to share and I think that sharing aspect that is so important in communities, relying on the members of the community to share with others, you know what they’ve learned and That’s how people can avoid some of the pitfalls, that others who have come before them may have fallen into. But others now can avoid those pitfalls.

Jayne Groll 25:13
And you said something, I think particularly important about people liking to get together. Right. So one of the nice things about communities and associations is local, right? local chapters, local events, learn

Andre Pino 25:24

Jayne Groll 25:30
Beer, pizza and a willing venue, right? Like, that’s an important hot topic. Yeah. And the topic, but But truthfully, most of the reason people go there, at least in my experience, is you bring in an amazing speaker, and that’s great. But people talk to each other. Right? And they, they, they, you know, you eat together and you know, what is it break bread together, you are now friends. So there is a need, there’s a human need to, you know, to be in the same place and to fulfill that. And I think the growth of local chapters. Even in the pandemic, we’ve seen it even a DevOps institute that virtual chapters, as much as they’re not as fulfilling as as beer. And there’s, you know, you have to bring your own beer and pizza. But, but that human connection needs on a social a psychological and professional perspective is absolutely there. And I’m hoping next year, we can see more about that. Right? Jason talk a little bit about chapters because I know from experience in that

Jason Baum 26:33
I there, I’m so passionate about chapters, that’s how I got my start in associations. That’s why I’ve 15 years later still involved in association work is because of what I experienced on the chapter level, I’ve had the luxury of, of my first position within associations, I worked for eight different chapters, building them up. And then my second position in associations was actually building out a chapter program of 17 chapters throughout the world. I think that at the end of the day, chapters are really the heartbeat of associations. They are the feet on the boots on the ground, they are the true pulse. Andre said the best I mean, it’s beer, pizza and good conversation. And it’s funny, because it depends on the industry. I’ve worked for financial organizations, where we cater to strictly just CFOs and controllers, and, you know, high level finance. And then I’ve worked for for bank associations and and each one has a different chapter experience. You know, one might be more to golf outings, and one might be more into really high end holiday parties. But at the end of the day, what they all have in common is, they’d want that, that in face, you know, the in person. And I know that there, the virtual chapter is a thing. It’s been evolving over the past few years, it was a thing 15 years ago, it just we didn’t really know how to do it right. Now, I think we’ve got it. Certainly, the past year has taught all of us how to live in isolation, socially, which is a strange concept. But we’ve kind of nailed that at this point. But now I think, with the hopefully, hopefully, hope on the horizon. And I think the in we’re going to have a big mass returned in-person gatherings. And I think the Chapter format is going to be really important in that, and then is going to be successful again, because people want to get together, they want to break bread. And like you said, they want to see a really great speaker too. And have that side conversation with people that they might not have known for years. Or if it’s your first one, you’re probably petrified of going and you’re hoping to find someone to latch on to while you’re at the bar. And then that fosters a relationship, hopefully over the next few years. And it’s just the cycle that just keeps going. And the association world we have the the saying you don’t reinvent the wheel. And and there’s a reason for that. And it’s because it has proven to be successful for over a century.

Jayne Groll 29:11
And it’s social, right? It’s social, you go to a local event because you do get to know people and chapters that meet every month or every other month, you really start to look forward to seeing familiar faces and asking about their families and finding out how their job is going. Or you know, venting, right? Oh my god, I had such a horrible day. But these are people that you have a brain trust with but you’re also safe. I think Vanessa, you said that really well. And I’m going to turn to you on the social side of it, that it’s safe, you feel that it’s it is an environment where you can you know, obviously you don’t want to disrespect your employer you know, you don’t want to do anything that is but it is safe and there are people that care about it. Other there is a social, a social side to that. Vanessa, talk about the social side of communities, particularly a community like yours, where women are connecting with women, and they’re talking about successes, but maybe some challenges and maybe a little bit of venting, too. I mean, I know I’ve done did in the past as to some of my peers, male and female. But but understanding that, you know, I feel safe doing that.

Vanessa Vallely 30:26
First of all, we don’t really do beer and pizza, we do cheese and wine. Oh, yeah. And but yeah, I mean, obviously, there’s, I mean, there’s a thing at the moment, obviously, we’re still in lockdown, and things like that we can’t wait to get out. It’s like, we’re planning like mass group cuddle events where you know, whatsoever, let’s just get in the room and kind of cue the fat. So I think and especially being in London, I mean, there, you can go to the opening of an envelope every night, there are so many different events to attend. So we’ve really missed it. And I think people will be. And with Jason, I think there’d be a mass kind of push around those physical events for good 12 months before it kind of pulls back a little bit. But it is that community space, it is a place to vent, it is a place to share challenge. And I know even within my community friendships have been formed, jobs have been given, you know, mentorships have happened as a consequence of that, you know, there are sounding boards. And even when I think back, another sub kind of community we have is called careers club. And it’s just a three-month, every three months, it’s a meet-up listen to a speaker, and the ladies that come to that are my award winners on the website. And we have guests that can buy tickets as well. But they will come along and sometimes they fly through the door when I’ve been promoted. And um, you know, they’re upbeat, and then we have some that turned up and they’re in tears, they’ve, you know, they, they’re looking for advice for lawyers to kind of help them in their job to situation, you know, it, but it is that then that’s where they come and we never put pressure on them to come to every single one they come when you need us. You know, so whether it’s a skill that you want to learn or whether it’s you know, that place where people are going to put their metaphorically speaking their arms around you and go, you know, we’ve got this, but on whether that’s elevating you up, because you’ve had a success, or whether that’s kind of pulling you close, because you’ve had a failure, you know, so whatever that is, and I think as humans, we need that interaction, it’s the main thing that we’ve missed, you know, from, from my perspective, this time last year, I think it was just as kind of the Gates came down. But I had like 15 talks booked to do for International Women’s Day. And literally, they just fell out, you know, and then since then doing talks, virtually, it’s fantastic. And you can bring the energy, but there is nothing like being on a stage and getting off and getting in the crowd and talking to people. So I think virtually, we’ve been able to do it. And I truly believe an element of that will remain. Because it’s enabled. Mike, for example, companies like mine to be global overnight. And I love that, you know, we’re seeing different people. But I think that physical face to face connection, you just can’t be that just being presence.

Andre Pino 33:05
And just want to pick up on I think another aspect of communities that’s related is diversity. Right. And diversity in in religion, gender and color. But also, in terms, also geographies, right, one of the most amazing things from the that I experienced the Jenkins community, when we get together for the Jenkins user conferences or Jenkins world is brought together this global community, we’ve virtually had every country represented around the world, and to be able to recognize that you’re part of a community, a global community, right. And we talked about chapters, and that’s, you know, geography geographically, you know, pretty close to you, but when you get together in some of these global conferences, and see the amazing people coming from around the world and different countries and, and hear the differences, but also the similarities and in what they’re facing and challenges they have, it opens your mind, really, to, to the fact that, you know, there are many other peoples of many other types that are all contributing to this community. And I think that, you know, that also leads to another important aspect of probably both communities and associations, and that is the need for governance, no need to, to establish statutes and rules and, and governance of how, you know, governance of conduct and so forth to ensure that, you know, the diverse audience that you have is protected, and, you know, and that if someone gets out of line, there’s a there’s a ways to deal with that. So I think those are really important aspects of communities and associations as well.

Jayne Groll 34:55
I think you bring up a couple of really interesting points. First of all, the sense of belonging I mean, they There’s a theme from all of us that humans need to belong. And you’re right, Andre, when you go to these, you know, national or international events. Vanessa, you said like one big hug, right? Like the first day of some of these events is a little bit of a hug-fest. And in my space, we used to call the dysfunctional family reunion. But most importantly, we were family. So I do think that there’s a sense of belonging. And when you actually see how big a community that you belong to, it really does make you feel special. But on the other hand, Andre, I think you bring up a good point about codes of conduct, right, that while we would like to believe that everybody acts and behaves the way that they should, you know, particularly vendors, practitioners, individuals, right, you want to make sure that there is a governance that says, Listen, this is amazing, but you’re expected to behave a certain way. And if you don’t, there are rules and policies that potentially will affect you. So let’s talk a little bit about governance. So from an association perspective, Jason, governance is is important and codes of conduct are significant, right.

Jason Baum 36:16
Yeah, I mean, governance, jeez, that’s a whole topic we could spend on a separate, separate webinar or but yeah, I mean, governance is important. I mean, it’s, it’s important not just for the structure of what you’re trying to achieve, keeping the common goal that everyone shares at the top of the light making, like keeping that up there as your center of importance because we could go all over the place when it comes to like-minded interests. So keeping things in mind, antitrust, making sure that what you talk about isn’t shared, making sure that your ideas aren’t stolen, making sure that it’s a safe space, getting back to kind of goes back to what Vanessa said, at the very beginning, making sure that you have a safe space to share what’s going on, especially in a professional or trade associations, because you have companies in there, it is generally for business. And, and then with regards to the makeup of these associations, I mean, I’ve worked for associations that are 100 plus years old. They were formed potentially, for different reasons. Maybe those reasons have evolved over time, who did you let in? Generally, what I’ve been told is, you know, we want to be inclusive with associations, when in reality, associations were created, in some ways to keep people out. So loosening the reins sometimes is important and re-establishing what those articles are of why you created the association in the first place. It’s important to look at your governance, year over year. And then also succession planning and how you’re going to be reaching out to volunteers. Because associations are generally only as good as the volunteers who lead them, you know, their staff, and staff is great. You know, I’m a hired gun, at the end of the day, for the association, what’s going to keep an association alive are the volunteers and those who are members, they’re the most important people that you have an association. So being able to make sure that it’s sustainable over a long period of time, you don’t want to build an association or have an association that’s here for just today, you want the associations that are here for forever, I mean, you have some associations that I don’t think are going anywhere very fast. So and they’re the ones that have a great value proposition, and then also have a value proposition for their volunteers. And making sure that there’s a succession plan to keep them for years over years.

Jayne Groll 38:48
So and again, we’re gonna run out of time. So I kind of want to wrap up with two things. First of all, Jason and Andre absolutely right, because one of the things about associations is we have to respect diversity in many, many different ways, including diversity of opinion, right? So we want to respect the fact that people are coming in with different perspectives, different goals. And sometimes we have to agree to disagree. But let’s wrap up with just a summary. So in today’s environment, you could be invited to join umpteen million different communities, and it can be a little overwhelming, right? Where everybody wants you to subscribe, they want you to become a member, they want you, you know, to attend an event, or whatever. And so there’s, there’s a point where it can be so overwhelming that it becomes paralyzing. Right? Because you’re just not sure which way to go. So how do you kind of sift through that? How do you find communities and by the way, such as one, right, I belong to multiple associations that belong to multiple communities, but I tend to pick based on what I’m looking for, not what everybody else thinks I should have. How do you sift through that, Andrea? How do you find your tribe is, as Jason put it, or how do you distinguish How do you choose?

Andre Pino 40:02
That’s great, great question. I know for me personally, you know, I have to, I have to segment things in my mind. And so I picked communities that are important to me for different aspects of my life. Right? There might be marketing communities, that helped me keep abreast of what’s going on, in marketing, right, I pick technology communities that can help me keep abreast of what’s going on in technology. But I try not to have too many that are similar because, again, to be effective, and be a good community member, you have to contribute. And that takes time and takes, it takes resource, right. And so, and I’m personally one who can get pretty overloaded if I’ve got too much information coming at me at one time. So I personally try to limit the various communities that I do associate with just so I can keep them segmented and organized in my mind. And I understand which one I’m going to go to, for which topic or purpose. And that’s, that’s the way I deal with

Jayne Groll 41:11
it. Interesting, Vanessa, how do you choose how should people choose their communities or their associations, I

Vanessa Vallely 41:20
think it depends where you are on your journey. So when I look at the kind of associations that I chose early on in my career, then as I got kind of more mature, I built up my own networks. So I didn’t really feel I needed the association part as much as I did when I was finding my feet in the industry because then some of us kind of split out and created our own mini-network. So I think it’s very much what works for you at the time. I definitely, you know, think professional memberships are a good thing, as you say, Jane, you know, you’ve created friends for life and, and things like that. I mean, I suppose because I’ve come out of my industries, now I would have to go to too many, in order to service all the industries. But I think you just got to see what works for you. And to also factor in that Sometimes life happens in the middle of all this. And you may not necessarily have the time to devote to some of your associations or your networking. And you know what, that’s okay. Because that they’re always going to be there, right? You can always go back and build relationships and rekindle connections and things like that. But I think, you know, to not necessarily sometimes be that prescribed with it, because who knows where life will take us to many variables?

Jayne Groll 42:32
Yeah, absolutely. I absolutely agree with you. And it’s funny, because I like Andre, I try to segment professional communities, social communities, right to fill that need, even some psychological communities in terms of like, you know, my, my, my girl network, right, where, you know, there’s that safe space. Jason, how do you choose particularly on the association side? Because again, you could be asked to not only join, but pay. Yeah, lots of different associations.

Jason Baum 42:59
Yeah, I look at for my myself, how I join Association, how I choose an association, it’s, at the end of the day, it’s how granular do I want to get with my career? How specific do I want to be when it comes to my career goals? Because there’s an association for literally everything, I think right now. So like, for example, I could join a Banking Association, a lending Association, or an asset-based lending association. So I could get super granular depending on what my interests are. And that’s okay. And that’s just for yourself. It’s a very personal thing to ask yourself, Do I know exactly where I’m going my trajectory, and kind of hit yourself to that. And I agree, I, personally, I’m one of those who I like to join one. And, and mainly because I don’t want to spread myself too thin. And if I’m going to get involved, I know I’m getting involved. And I only have so much time commitment. And I work with volunteers. So I know how valuable time is. And I never tried to overload someone. And I choose to do that for myself. So when it comes to associations, and where you’re going to spend your money, it’s where do I want to be? Where’s the network of people who I’m trying to network with, and then go all in and learn from them, learn from the programs the association has to offer and go that route.

Jayne Groll 44:19
So Jason, we’re going to wrap up with tell us a little bit about DevOps Institute’s new membership association, that we’re rolling out our new membership tier that we’re rolling out next week. In fact,

Jason Baum 44:31
it’s time for the shameless plug. Yeah, well, it’s exciting. I mean, being part of a new association, membership that doesn’t come around too often. Like I was saying these associations exist for years and years and years. So it’s exciting to be part of a brand new association membership. The premium membership for DevOps Institute is basically taking what we do and just raising the bar, providing savings because we know at the end of the day When you’re looking at your professional growth, sometimes we don’t invest in ourselves enough. And an association is really trying to push, you do need to invest in yourself. And it’s important to invest in yourself and you know what your company is probably going to support you’re doing it because right now more than ever, competition is super high, it costs more to attain new talent, there’s new talent coming from all over the place, it’s much easier to retain the talent you already have. So now’s a great time to go out and invest in yourself or for a company to invest in your talent. And with the DevOps Institute membership, we have a great certification program, we have a new DevOps capability assessment tool that is available for Premium members, and a whole slew of other benefits that’s available for 199 US dollars, which is a drop in the bucket. I mean, if you take that and divide it by the number of days, I think it’s it’s less than a cup of coffee a day for a membership that who knows where it’s gonna take you professionally.

Jayne Groll 45:58
Awesome. Thank you. Thank you, all of you. I think this has been a really great conversation and, and I’m confident that people listening will come away with inspiration, right inspiration to belong, inspiration to grow their careers, inspiration to find communities that resonate with them. So very much appreciated. We’ll, we’ll see you soon. So thanks very much.

Narrator 46:26
Thanks for listening to this episode of the humans of DevOps podcast. Don’t forget to join our global community to get access to even more great resources like this. Until next time, remember, you are part of something bigger than yourself. You belong


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