Leading Online Communities

A 4-week interactive online course and community where you will learn skills and strategies to navigate the most uncertain times with grace.

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Anxiety, stress, fear, stuckness, mental fog: we are all feeling it. But how do we lead others if we feel so depleted? How do we move with purpose in environments of frenzy?

Emotions are contagious - even online. As a current or aspiring online community leader, how you feel impacts how your members feel. You have a responsibility to lead yourself and those you serve somewhere better than where you started.

Even amidst chaos, you can be the leader the world (or your corner of the world) needs right now. You can be the leader you need.

Here's what I'm seeing a lot of right now: GO GO GO, frantic energy, and exhaustion.

If we charge forward and go go go in the midst of crisis, here's what happens:

  • You will launch dozens of shoddy, random programs and wonder why none of them "fix" things or feel complete.
  • You will waste time and energy beating yourself up.
  • You will get stuck in cycles of comparison and feel reactive to the problems in front of you.
  • You will take on the burden of solving everyone else's problems. That is not yours to hold, my friend.
  • You will lose the ability to think creatively.
  • You will not be open to listening, so you will never find your way back to serving those who need you.
  • You will tighten, literally: Your body will tense up. Your shoulders will raise up to your ears. You stomach will strain. And your breathing will become shallow. This is the perfect recipe for burnout and physical illness.

I don't want this for you. YOU don't want this for you. Let's choose something else. Something better.

It is time to step back, take a deeeeeeep breath, and become strategic leaders.

In this 4-week course and online community, I will walk you through research, practices, and practical tips for how to lead in the midst of a crisis -- all while doing so online.

I've spent my entire career building online communities. And I am no stranger to personal and professional chaos. I will not have all the answers, but I can guide you in discovering what leadership in the digital age - in the midst of chaos - means for you and how that trickles down into your community.

They say that people make what they need. And that is why I'm here with you. Please join me.

Here's what I'll be teaching...

A 4-week program, running from April 21 - May 13, designed for those leading online communities.

Each week, you will:

  • Reflect on the module's theme with key questions
  • Learn concrete concepts from lessons, research, and stories
  • Join a live call, in which we will hold brave space for one another's growth, challenges, and triumphs
  • Complete take-home activities to strengthen how you lead your online community - right away
  • Participate (as much or little as you want) in the online community

Module One (Starting April 21)  

Introduction to Leading Online

We will spend our first week together calming down from the go-go-go energy of the current crisis and then defining leadership. I will outline the basic theories of leadership and then we will translate them to an online context. This is no easy feat!

You will walk away with: Calm, Focus & practical advice for communicating online

Module Two (Starting April 28)

The practice of sustainable self-leadership

Let's get off the hamster wheel. We will take stock of resources, kryptonite, and energy-bringers. Operating on the principle of slow is fast, we will make a custom toolkit to define boundaries and self-care practices so you can hold space for others. This will serve you for the long haul, not just in the present moment.

You will walk away with: Clarity, Gratitude & a custom toolkit for when you feel frantic, stuck, anxious, or roadblocked.

Module Three (Starting May 5)

Online leadership and operations

We will look at the differences between management and leadership, emergent and designated leadership, and different models of leadership and shared decision-making Finally, we will envision how to move forward together, with concrete programs or new processes.

You will walk away with: Hope, Excitement & ideas for new online programs to serve in this time and the future

Module Four (Starting May 12)  

Communicating belonging online

We will talk about various theories of communication online, the importance and rituals of integrating new members, how to convey warmth online, and how leaders should deal with the downsides of online community.

You will walk away with: Integrity, Peace & tons of best practices for communicating online, backed by research and experience

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About Carrie

A 15-year veteran of leading communities, I have built and advised hundreds of online communities, from political campaigns to top consumer brands to tech startups. My past clients have included leaders from Patreon, Google, and Glossier.

As a researcher and graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I study online leadership communication and well-being, and I teach students online from all over the world.

I care deeply and personally about online leadership because I know great leaders can save lives. They have saved mine. I have dedicated my career to gathering people online to connect deeply, as a consultant, the former COO and Founding Partner of CMX, and now as your course guide.

“Carrie draws from a multitude of resources. I’m so grateful for her willingness to be direct, ask great questions, and ignite new thinking.”

― Erin Anacker,

Co-Founder and COO, WholeStory

Carrie's knowledge of community is like Beyoncé planning Coachella. Fully involved, knowledgeable on all aspects and able to give clear feedback.

- Shana Sumers

Head of Community, HER

"Carrie is the very best community strategist and leader who guided us to be better at a high level. She gave us grounded confidence."

- Michelle Salomon,

Sales Director, Mobilize

Change is hard, even for the most experienced organizational leaders. Add to that the challenge of leading online: you can't see people's facial expressions, organize in-person meetups, or control how experienced your members are with social technology. And everyone is (eventually going to get) sick of agenda-less Zoom calls.

In the face of personal and professional uncertainty, it feels like the most useful thing to do (other than physical distancing if you can) is to wait, watch, and listen.

That can work for a time. Until it doesn't.

Whatever else is true of crisis, we can never know how bad it will become or when it will end. That's why we need each other.

As leaders of online spaces, we are in a unique position to serve, connect, and soothe our members. Unfortunately, that means we are also in a unique position to experience anxiety, stress, overwhelm - all of which can lead to burnout.

That doesn't mean we must rush to find a way to "fix" things. That creates more anxiety, not less. Instead, it means we must step back and get clear about what we need, what our leadership should look like, and how to make it sustainable.

Here's some good news: there are timely, research-backed insights that can guide how you lead your community and trust yourself in times of change.

This course and community will help you navigate the most uncertain of times.

I created it because I need it too. After 15 years of leading online communities, I still don't know everything there is to know. This present crisis hit me unlike anything I've ever experienced. I still feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overburdened from time to time.

But, together, we can form a coalition - to pool our strength and resources as we learn new skills and ways of being to serve in a time of deep need. These are the leadership principles I have found through my research, studies, and years of practice. I will share with you what I have gleaned so we may get through this together.


This course comes with a 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee.

If you put in the work and don’t see real, exciting change in your leadership skills, well-being, and groundedness, I insist that you email me and ask for a full refund. I’ll even cover the credit card processing fee.

Let's Do This

Enroll for Only $97!

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?

Our live cohort calls (there will be four at 10 AM PT/1 PM ET each week) will start on Thursday, April 23 and end on May 14, 2020. You will have access to the course content a day or two before the first call through the end of the course, so you can download the content you need to keep up the work.

What if I can't attend one of the live sessions?

That's okay! I will need to get everyone's explicit consent prior to recording, but even if you miss one, you won't fall behind. They are just an added bonus. I hope you'll join us for all of them, but I will leave that decision up to you.

How long do I have access to the course?

You will have access to the downloadable materials from the course forever. The online community will continue even after the course is done!

How does this course run?

I have studied pedagogical methods and attended numerous teaching and learning trainings, and I have chosen a teaching and space-holding method that works best for engaging existing knowledge and retaining what you learn. It works like this.

Every week, you will go through the flow of the following:

  • Reflection
  • Learning concepts
  • Live discussion
  • Practical activities
  • Rinse and repeat

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone who builds online communities. You need not do it "professionally" (i.e. for pay), as financial exchange is not the only way to value our work - especially the emotional aspects of it.

If you take your work building online community seriously, you belong with us.

Still concerned you're not the right fit? Email me at carrie@gathercommunityconsulting.com and I'll tell you honestly.

How will I apply what I learn?

There are crucial "takeaways" that you will come back to again and again. First, we will create a unique picture of the kind of leader YOU want to step into becoming.

You will learn practical ways to embody that leadership. Second, we will create rituals and toolkits you can turn to for self- and community-care.

Finally, you will learn to acknowledge uncontrollable power dynamics and biases in your communities and control what you can, surrendering to or resisting the rest. In that way, you will gain freedom.

How much time do I need to set aside to be successful?

Frankly, any amount of time you spend reflecting on the course concepts - whether that is through simply reading along with us, asking questions in the online community, or doing the activities after watching the lessons - will make a difference.

ANY amount of time you invest in your leadership growth will pay massive dividends. It is impossible to know what opportunities you may be missing by NOT learning open-hearted leadership and self-leadership.

If you were to complete all the activities and attend all the calls, you may want to set aside 2-3 hours per week. But, truly, I can't be prescriptive about this. You can and should take what you need and leave the rest. All of it will make a difference.

I am going through this with you. I feel it too.

And even though I feel like I'm on an emotional rollercoaster, you know what else I feel?

Relieved. Supported. Ready to support you.

We can slow down a bit, be deliberate, and use the internet for connection. You have the key to change the world (or at least your corner of it.)

I am honored to steward your deepening leadership journey.

Let's do this, loves.