Meet Tessa, San Francisco-based Happiness Lead for CloudPeeps, an online community of social media freelancers looking to make a tangible impact for their clients. Read on to learn more about Tessa's recent transition from Atlanta to he West Coast, as well as her experience working for a new startup.
Q: What is your background in communications, and what led you to find your current role as Happiness Lead at CloudPeeps?
A: My background in communications started when I decided to study English Literature. While I didn’t realize it at the time, my studies prepared me to work both in community and communications in more ways than I could have imagined.
I didn’t find my role at CloudPeeps as much as it found me. About a year ago I was looking to grow a bit more professionally and started doing a bit of freelance work. I stumbled across CloudPeeps and sent in an email asking for more information about how they matched freelancers (Peeps) with customers looking to hire. Before I knew it I was working with my first customer! I fell in love with the work they were doing in the freelance space, and very naturally shared my thoughts and opinions with the team as they grew. It was a complete surprise to me when one of the co-founders Shala Burroughs reached out to me and asked if I would consider coming on with them full time. It was a risk to join a company that was barely six months old, but I knew in my gut that I was ready for a change, and the rest is history!
Q: In addition to your new position with CloudPeeps, you also just moved from Atlanta to San Francisco! What was that transition like when it came to your career, and what do you love most about working in your new city?
A: Moving from a traditional 8-5 job into my role at CloudPeeps has been one of the most amazing and challenging shifts I’ve experienced so far in my career. I went from sitting at the same desk every day working on the same tasks fairly repetitively, to working as a part of a small distributed team that is building a company from the ground up. The dynamics of working in a startup environment are completely different from the role I had previously, and have pushed me to grow both professionally and personally.
Moving from Atlanta to San Francisco was a direct parallel to my career shift. I felt myself leaving the safety and comfort of the city I began my career in to embark on a completely new adventure. The energy of the startup scene in San Francisco is contagious, and has empowered me to grow professionally. I can’t describe how inspiring it is to be surrounded by so many incredible entrepreneurs.
Q: You're very active on social media, which we love. What do you think are the top 3 necessary skills to excel at managing social media - whether for yourself, or for a brand?
A: Compassion has to be the number one skill to excel at managing social media. Whether you’re managing your own account or one for a brand you’re likely to be in touch with any number of different personality types. It’s crucial to be aware of your community and how you communicate with them.
The other two skills I would look for when managing social media are attention to detail and a quick response rate. Those two tend to go hand in hand as social has become so rapid fire. Many community members expect near immediate responses, and while you need to be able to be quick on your feet, it’s also important to take the time to stop and think about the message you’re trying to convey to make sure it aligns with your brand identity.
Q: What does your role as Happiness Lead for CloudPeeps entail, and what would a snapshot of your workweek look like?
A: Being the Happiness Lead for CloudPeeps means that I get to interact with our community of Peeps and customers on a daily basis, making sure that their CloudPeeps experience is always delightful and streamlined. What that looks like changes constantly, as being a part of a startup involves a high level of agility. Some weeks that means that I’m focused on creating content to inform our community of marketplace updates, and other weeks that means organizing online events to build our community. I love that I don’t have a “typical workweek,” as it allows me to constantly grow and learn.
Q: What advice would you have for fellow working women who are looking to make a huge career and life change? What can they do to overcome the initial fear of taking the leap?
A: If you’ve already decided you want to make a career or life change then the next step is to just get up and do it. It sounds so simple, but once you commit yourself to making the change you’ll find that you will do anything in your power to make it happen. As far as fears are concerned, I suggest identifying what you’re afraid of and figuring out if that fear outweighs the risk of staying where you are. The timing will never be just right for you to upend your life and shake things up, you just have to get out there and do it - and trust that everything will fall into place.