by Stephanie

A section dedicated to exploring the process of building the community that built this page.

Call to Action

This group is a subcommunity of Interact which is a community of young mission driven technologists. They sponsored this group with funding and a framework for recruiting members within the community.

I put out a proposal for this group explaining who I was, what I wanted to explore , and who I was looking for to join. This form was paired with the question “What community have you felt the strongest sense of belonging in? Why? If not, what has felt missing?"

I received 9 applications, interviewed 5 candidates, and selected 3 members. I wanted a smaller group in order to increase a feeling of accountability to the group, and only picked those who I felt most aligned with my mission.


Here are a few tools we used in our day-to-day:


I loved participating in and hosting this circle. I enjoyed the conversations we had and felt like I got along with the people I picked.

My Rationale for Selections:

  1. How their interests aligned with my vision for the circle. I excluded members who:
    1. talked about digital tools as a means to organize in person meetups
    2. wanted to explore increasing the reach of their network (quantity > quality)
    3. had too many other commitments
  2. People I didn’t think would work well with myself / other members I really wanted

Scheduling was a nightmare and people missed 3 sessions on average. I think this was due to two factors:

  1. Not prioritizing scheduling during the interview process. I didn’t ask for people’s schedules until after I completed interviews, at which point it was too late for me to see that there was almost no common availability
  2. Ineffective Leadership Strategy. I wanted everyone to have a good time and focused on having high quality engaging conversation more than reprimanding people for not coming / not completing work on time. I was approaching it as more of a circle of friends who talk about things we’re passionate about than maximizing effort. Its not my personality to be confrontational. However, our throughput was not nearly as impressive as other circles.

In my research I’ve found two leadership strategies that motivate high throughput by evoking the following feelings when expectations are not met:

  1. Authoritarian: Evoking guilt / shame
  2. Charismatic: Evoking fear of missing out

In the authoritarian leadership strategy, you set clear expectations of your group members and drive the importance of membership. There is clear hierarchy. If meetings are missed or work is not completed on time, there are consequences unless there’s a very good excuse. Members are motivated to not feel guilt / shame by adhering to the group contract. High quality work is a set criterion of membership.

In the charismatic leadership strategy, you motivate your group to attend by being a highly engaging and magnetic leader. People want to join and contribute to the group because they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment by being part of the group. They don’t want to miss out because they derive a sense of fulfillment from being part of meetings and naturally prioritize attendance. High quality work is motivated by other high quality work and the desire to belong to the group.

My preference (for both being part of and leading a group) is the charismatic leadership strategy, but its more challenging to get right. With the authoritarian strategy you just have to strike fear in your members — but you risk people hating your group and just coming out of obligation. With the charismatic strategy you risk (as I think I did) being too lenient and having your group be deprioritized. I need to work on becoming more confident in creating a space where people would love to be.

Interactive Graph