Taking it to Heart

For the past roughly nine months, I’ve been the community manager for the American Heart Association on Facebook and Twitter (I hope you’re a fan/follower!). It’s been among the most gratifying experiences of my career, mostly because I’ve gotten to be the voice of the AHA. I’ve been able to be a cheerleader, a source of knowledge, a supporter, an advocate, an engager … for a cause I care very deeply about.

My ad agency developed the digital strategy, and our main goal was to educate and inform our fans about healthy eating, nutrition, diet and exercise so they could lead (or maintain) a heart-health lifestyle and, in essence, take preventative measures about the #1 killer of women, in particular: heart disease.

My colleagues that suggested I take this role on knew about my blogging background and my passion for health, and so without sounding like I love myself too much or anything, it was truly a natural fit and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.

Of course, we always knew it was a temporary assignment; that after a few months we’d turn the community management reins over to AHA … and, well, it’s that time. At the end of this week my duties will be over.

To tell you the truth, I don’t think I’ve ever been so sad to let something go in my career! I feel a great deal of ownership (the whole team does–we started with zero fans in January and have an amazing engagement level with the 32,766 fans we have to date!).

I’ve truly love hearing peoples’ stories about how they have changed their lives/gotten fit/lost weight/etc. And I’ve loved inspiring our fans to eat better, exercise, check their cholesterol and blood pressure, etc. I’ve also learned a lot about how our community works best; often this meant leaving some controversial conversations open for the fans to hash through on their own, without engaging them.

And while I know it’s being turned over to some very, very capable hands, I feel like I’m losing a big part of my work experience, as community management has been nearly half of my work-day for the past nine months. I love playing in the social spaces, and will still remain active in them for the agency (and there might be opportunity for another CM role with a different brand we manage) but American Heart’s messages really speak to the core of who I am and what I believe in, and naturally, I’m sad to see it go.

I think the other part is that as the PR manager responsible for agency promotion, I don’t typically do billable work … so maybe this is the norm (a sense of sadness when a client changes hands)? I think this hits particularly hard because my only other client is our local United Way, and it’s an account I’ve helped lead for the past two and a half years … so I haven’t experienced this type of loss yet. (And, even in that case, I’m a liaison … not actually the one making the day-to-day connection with fans/supporters as I do with AHA).

Alas, life goes on … The good news is, I can now go from being an admin of the page to an active participant! Gotta find the silver lining somewhere …

How about you? How do you handle personal or professional transitions and not take things to heart?


2 thoughts on “Taking it to Heart

  1. Good for you! When I was in an ED treatment program, we had a weekly session called “Fear Foods”, where the staff brought in a different food every week and we ate it and discussed our feelings about the food, eating it, what it meant, etc. It was one of the most difficult parts of the program, but really helped us to start to think of food as energy and not something to be feared.

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