I sat down with Katie Needs, who is a community manager at Gidsy. Katie is a great cook, a very happy person, and likes helping people. Katie joined Gidsy a few months ago, and it was about time to introduce her to the world. She hates nerf guns and close-by flying birds, but loves a lot of other things. Keep reading…
Hey there, how’s it going?
Pretty good. How are you?
So, lets start from the beginning. What got you here in the first place?
I’m from Toronto originally, born and raised. I have always wanted to come to Europe, and I was so lucky to meet a lovely gentleman who got into his Master’s Degree in Berlin and he asked me to come with him, so I came! As for Gidsy, I had done a project for SoundCloud over the summer of 2011 which introduced me to the Berlin startup tech scene, and so that’s sort of how I found out about Gidsy. I applied and I got the job and here we are.
Cool. How do you like Berlin?
I really like Berlin a lot. It’s different from home, but it’s a very cool city. People here are really friendly, there’s a lot to do, it’s cheap, it’s exciting, it’s good for young people. It’s perfect.
What did you study?
I did my undergrad in Music Education - 4 years of intense classical music training - and after that then I did my Masters in Information, so I focused on Library and Information Sciences, as well as Archives and Records Management.
Is there anything you learned at University that you can apply to your job as community manager?
Yeah! Community management involves people and questions and helping them find what they’re looking for, as well as outreach and engagement. Librarianship is a lot of that, especially the aspect that I’m really interested in, which is reference, outreach and community building, so a lot of those skills I picked up in school are helpful in my job. I also think that, in many ways, librarians are the ultimate community managers. I’m still learning a lot, but I like to think that the foundation is there.
What does your day normally look like?
I get to the office, check my email for support requests. I think of things to write for our blog. I think of people that are involved with Gidsy to talk to, or people that should be involved. I meet with people on the team and come up with different strategies about how to do things, or brainstorm cool new ideas. I drink a lot of tea.
What the most rewarding thing about your job?
Well, the team is a pretty fantastic bunch, so it’s really rewarding to interact with very smart innovative people all day. But the community that I’ve met through being involved with Gidsy is also pretty amazing. Everyone is really, really interested in what we’re doing and very enthusiastic about it. I’ve met a lot of really cool people.
What’s your first Gidsy activity that you organized?
I organized a pancake Tuesday party, and that was very successful. Now, I have to think of something else to do. I have some ideas, but I have to think about them a little bit more. I do a lot of cooking myself, so I might do something with that…or maybe a Jazz History class!
What do you do besides Gidsy?
I cook and bake a lot. I write a blog. I hang out with my friends and my boyfriend. I try to get to know Berlin a little bit better in my spare time. I take care of my little balcony garden.
What would you like to see on Gidsy?
I’ve been trying to find someone to do urban beekeeping. That would probably be the coolest thing to see on Gidsy, for me. Also maybe something more hands on? I really wanted to do the glass beadmaking workshop, but I couldn’t find time to do that. There’s still one coming up though - so fingers crossed!
What do you think is the most interesting part about Gidsy?
What I find really cool is all the different ways that people use and interpret Gidsy. While of course there are likeminded organizers and an understanding of the whole concept across the board, it’s cool to see that the idea of what makes a “good Gidsy activity” changes with each organizer. I think that’s what makes it really different and unique - which also accounts for the many amazing activities you can find!
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading “Heat” by George Monbiot, which is a book about climate change. It’s pretty academic and I’m finding it very difficult to get through, but also incredibly interesting and eyeopening.
Do you have any travels coming up?
I am going to Amsterdam pretty soon to visit my boyfriend who moved there, and hopefully back to Canada soon to see the family.