Masters of Community with David Spinks
Helping Women in Tech Thrive with Cadran Cowansage
January 24, 2022
In this episode of Masters of Community, we speak with Cadran Cowansage, CEO and Founder of Elpha. Our host, David Spinks, VP of Community at Bevy and Co-Founder of CMX, moderated the conversation. Cadran was an engineering lead at Y Combinator, where she started a community for female employees. Eventually, they opened it up to other entrepreneurs and created Elpha, a community of over 60,000 women who work in tech. Cadran shares the entire story of how she built the Elpha community and why she thinks it's important to create your own platform as a community builder. Who is this episode for? Community builders, community managers, women in tech, women entrepreneurs. Three key takeaways: 1. From engineering to a community builder: Cadran worked as a software engineer in various organizations. She started learning about community building at Y Combination, which eventually led to building the Elpha community. Elpha is a professional network focused on helping women succeed at work. To manage it, Cadran built its software from scratch. 2. Built by women for women: Building a community for women requires creating a safe, welcoming, and well-moderated space where women can speak openly. Thus, a great focus of the Elpha community is anonymity, effective moderation, and facilitating engagement. The community offers various office hours with featured guests, long-form editorial articles, monthly lives on Zoom where members can meet, and other types of events. 3. Elpha's monetization strategy: Cardan started working on revenue-generating early after they spun out. They monetized their creation of a high-quality and valuable service for their community members. Through this service, members get a talent profile on the Elpha platform, where companies can find and contact candidates about jobs. When building a community, think about monetizing it early. Notable Quotes: 1. “I'm introverted, so I never thought of myself as a community builder” 2. “You evolve with the community and learn how to manage it as you go” 3. “I believe that software built by women for women will inherently be different. You have all sorts of biases and opinions, like going into software subtly without even realizing it.” 4. “Make sure that you're happy and fulfilled building your community” Answers to rapid-fire questions: 1. What's the book that had the biggest impact on your life? What's your favorite book to gift to others? And what book are you reading right now? The Parable Books by Octavia Butler Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood 2. Who in the world of community would you most like to take out for lunch or interview on your podcast? Lenny Rachitsky 3. What makes Elpha weird? It’s our members that are unique and they say so many different and interesting things. 4. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would that food be? Japanese sweet potatoes
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