Mike Stuart, from community member to support expert

Françoise Facella
Communications & Events Officer

My name is Mike. I’m 21 years old, living in London and I’m one third of the wonderful community team here at The Mix.

I first came across The Mix about three years ago. I was initially looking for some advice around a pregnancy scare that my girlfriend and I were going through at the time, but ended up sticking around on the community after discovering what a warm and friendly place it was. I came to realise that there were some more personal things I could (and did) talk about, although I didn’t realise I needed to at the time. The community helped me through a difficult relationship, depression and long-term anxiety that I’d never properly addressed before.

About six months into joining the community, I started volunteering as a general chat moderator. I quickly started to realise that volunteering with The Mix was something I loved doing, and also that I wanted to make a career out of this kind of work. After taking part in some face to face workshops and doing a work placement at Mix HQ, I was approached and asked if I was interested in a nine-month apprenticeship. I jumped at the chance. Once that came to an end, I applied for a job and here we are.

“My role with The Mix is on the amazing community team. Primarily, I help oversee the discussion boards and live chat sessions, as well as looking after the volunteers’ teams helping us running these services.”

I find people skills are important for any kind of community management, but particularly a support community. When you’re communicating through a screen, you miss out on a lot of cues people are used to being able to read in person (body language and tone of voice, for example), so good written communication skills are essential. Being able to empathise with users is a bonus and it helps when forming relationships with community members. I find my personal experience sometimes helps me empathise on a very genuine level, which is one of the best parts about this job.

I have a lot of good memories of this place. Heck, I met most of my closest friends here. The growth in my confidence and myself more generally is showing right now more than ever, so if I could pick one highlight it would be where I am now and being able to look back at such a crazy journey. I owe it to both The Mix and its ever-changing community for helping me get to where I am today.

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Published on 23-May-2017