Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned veteran in the remote work space, your new office setup and virtual workflow isn’t complete without a good virtual community to tap into. And with over thousands of virtual communities available online, it’s hard to know where to start.
This article introduces some of the best virtual communities for professionals in every field, from marketing and sales to development and even leadership teams.
If you haven’t considered before how the internet can connect you with brilliant minds all over the world, you’re missing out! Because today, using technology to learn and grow faster is how smart companies level up. Virtual communities aren’t just good for staying current on industry trends and topics — they’re also a way to make meaningful connections with people who you aren't working right next to. And that can lead to a bunch of cool conversations. So let’s get started!
What is a virtual community?
Community, in the traditional sense, refers to a group of people physically living near each other. Think a small village or town, where regular social interactions between the members of the community were a necessary part of daily life.
And historically, communities have a lot of power. They helped us not only survive tough situations, but also provided us with the joy of human relationships.
Today, technology has enabled communities to expand beyond its original physical limitations. And that’s pretty much what virtual communities are all about.
While the medium is different — we message each other on Slack, make video calls on Zoom, and collaborate on tools like Notion and Figma — virtual communities share many of the same benefits as traditional communities. The main difference is that virtual communities gain the ability to reach an audience all over the world and function on a scale that would be impossible in person. For example:
- Anyone can join a virtual community at any time (no need to be in a certain area or free up a day of the week for regular meetings)
- Communication can be asynchronous and synchronous — this means members that are online can have relevant conversations while members that are busy can be confident they won’t miss any important updates or announcements
- Coordinating logistics between 10 people or 10,000 people gets much easier — forming groups around specific topics and interests is as easy as creating a Slack channel
Why join a virtual community?
Virtual communities are perfect for professionals interested in growing, sharing information, and making new connections with the best in their field.
Some immediate benefits include:
- Opportunities to meet and befriend with like-minded people
- Deeper and more meaningful connections (especially when working remotely)
- Knowledge transference by being in the same “virtual space” — just like how you would be able to soak in knowledge from people around you at the office
And the nice thing about virtual communities is that you decide how much you get out of it.
Don’t be afraid to look around. Start off small. Pop into a Slack channel. Tune into a podcast. Share your thoughts on a discussion topic. If you find yourself clicking with members of the community, that’s where the magic really happens. Think breakthrough ideas, professional friendships, company partnerships, collaborations, webinars, crossover audiences, etc.
And let’s not forget access to shared resources!
Whether you’re a founder wearing multiple hats or you’re managing a team with a mix of rookies and veterans, virtual communities mean we don’t have to go through our toughest challenges alone.
Stand on the shoulders of giants and learn from those who’ve been where you are. Because unnecessary trial and error is a painfully slow and potentially costly way to learn.
Virtual communities are also useful for supporting diversity in your teams and making sure they have access to the mentors, friends, and allies they need in their network. Aside from being the kind of cultural stance your employees will be proud to be part of, supporting diverse teams is the smart business move.
“A 2015 McKinsey report on 366 public companies found that those in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have returns above the industry mean.”
Bottom line: Virtual communities aren’t just good for expanding your horizons — they’re also a way to support diversity in your team and maximize performance!
Best Virtual Communities to Join in 2020
Ready to get started? Check out these communities for teams of all kinds. And if you know a community that should be on here, reach out! We’re always looking to update this list as a resource for teams like yours :)
SALES & MARKETING
RevGenius is an inclusive space for all revenue generating sales and marketing professionals, brought together to provide each other with everything needed to solve individual professional challenges. Members learn, share, support, and grow with one another—consider them your alt work family!
Join the RevGenius Slack group here!
Revenue Collective brings together revenue-focused executives to form a direct and honest resource to support one another’s careers. With almost 30 chapters internationally and a dozen on the way, members come from the most respected companies in the world.
Revenue Collective is an invite-only private membership for VP-levels and above. You can apply to become a member here.
A free Slack group started by David Berkowitz in 2018. Serial Marketers was originally born from a simple LinkedIn post David shared with his connections about creating a community for marketers based on the motto, “Learn. Try. Share.” Today, over a thousand Serial Marketers members chat together about job opportunities, recommended technologies, events, and more.
Request access here.
Controller Collective by Teampay
The Controller Collective network provides Controllers with the opportunity to share their perspectives on the challenges of their role, connect with peers in similar positions, and gain actionable insights from industry leaders. With multiple avenues for networking and problem-solving, the Controller Collective Slack group connects Controllers across the nation to share relevant information, ask questions, and offer advice. When available, the organization will also host in-person events to bring together finance professionals in a more intimate setting.
🎙 Now, a departure from our regularly scheduled programming:
Some of the most interesting conversations happen in the world of podcasts. If you’re interested in finance and high-performance, check out these recommendations from our CFO Artem Mashkov:
Equity by TechCrunch
Equity is TechCrunch’s venture capital podcast. In each episode, you’ll hear the stories behind the money that runs Silicon Valley. Join TechCrunch reporter Alex Wilhelm as he teams up with Danny Crichton and Natasha Mascarenhas on a journey through startup land.
Odd Lots by Bloomberg
Take a not so random weekly walk through the latest hot topics in markets, finance, and economics with Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway.
a16z Podcast by Andreessen Horowitz
Tune in to this podcast produced by Andreessen Horowitz (aka “a16z”), a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, for insights on tech and culture trends, news, and the future – especially as ‘software eats the world’. You’ll hear from industry experts, business leaders, and interesting thinkers from all over the world.
Join Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics books, on this podcast for a peek into cool ideas from the economics of sleep to how to become great at just about anything. Discover the hidden side of everything as the show tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do).
Product Manager HQ is the world’s largest Slack Product Community with over 7000 members and growing. Its community members come from more than six hundred of the world’s best startups and companies, including Google, Facebook, Netflix, and more.
Notable product leaders are featured in the group’s #ama channel every few weeks for live ‘Ask Me Anything’ discussions so that members can ask anything on their mind and learn the best answers.
Join Product Manager HQ here
With over 1000 members, women in product is a Slack group created by Merci Grace for females in product management and leadership roles. Noticing the rarity of women in product management roles, Merci created the community to help connect women in product roles for networking, advice, and jobs.
Request access to Women in Product here
Product Hunt is a popular online community for product enthusiasts who love seeing the newest cool ideas, every single day. The site itself is made for community interaction as members upvote posts they like and find interesting, effectively surfacing the best products to the top of the feed.
Free to sign up, Dribbble is well known as a popular online-hang out for creatives of all kinds. Share creative work, get inspired, and chat with the community of the world’s best design professionals.
Produced by Adobe, Behance is another popular online platform for showcasing and discovering creative work. Similar to Dribbble, Behance is also free to sign up. Users upload their work in the form of “Projects” which can consist of images, videos, and other digital content.
Join at their site here
Muzli Magazine on Medium
Muzli is a free-to-use browser plugin that curates design inspiration through interesting stories and creative works. The Muzli team has also set up a publication on Medium for those in the design community to read interesting ideas and share their own thoughts.
Check it out here
Stack Overflow is a public platform with the bragging rights as one of the 50 most popular websites in the world. This is probably because the platform is a helpful virtual community for anyone interested in development and technology, sharing knowledge, and getting better at code. A large part of the value is in the platform’s simplicity of asking a question, then sourcing an answer from the best developers in the world.
Join at their site here
Home to the world’s largest community of developers and their projects, GitHub is a platform for simplified code collaboration and project management. Benefit from an open source community. Developers can use GitHub to host personal projects and learn from others; business teams have the confidence of security for their software throughout the development process.
Join at their site here.
This subreddit is great to explore for both rookie and veteran teams. The community describes themselves as a place “dedicated to all things web development: both front-end and back-end.”
Join the subreddit here
Lattice works with People teams across the globe to turn managers into leaders, employees into high-performers, and companies into the best places to work. Join Lattice’s Resources of Humans, a free Slack community of over 9,000 HR leaders designed to help HR professionals connect, share advice, and ask questions.
They recently started adding regional channels, allowing you to connect with HR professionals in your area; real-life meetups will begin soon so you can meet those you’ve been talking to online!
Request access to Lattice’s Resources of Humans Slack group here!
People Geeks is focused on building a community of people with similar values and ideas; they can work in People Ops, Recruitment, HR, or as CEOs at fast-growing companies. While in-person People Geekups held around the country are currently on hold, you can stay connected through the People Geeks Slack group, where topics run from the specific (like advice on a new performance review plan) to the broad (articles people liked or sharing an open role).
Another way to stay informed is through the People Geekly newsletter, which brings top people and culture stories straight to People Geeks each week.
Request access to the People Geeks Slack group here!
A global community (81 international chapters; 35 located in the USA) of HR and business leaders, practitioners, consultants, technologists, and many others, Hacking HR is passionate about the intersection of the future of work, technology, people, and organizations, believing that HR can be the trailblazer that guides people and organizations to thrive in the new world of work.
Hacking HR also features special programs, such as:
- CULTIVATE, a 6-week immersion program for HR students. Through online meetings, global and group mentoring, networking online events, and other additional benefits, HR students can be connected with real-case HR challenges, opportunities, and stories. Themes include: People Analytics, Design Center Thinking, Agility, Cross-Functional HR Roles, How to land the perfect HR Career, and Marketing/Branding. Apply here.
- GROW, programs developed for HR leaders getting ready to become CHROs/CPOs and HR leaders getting ready for VP/Director of HR. Over 12 months, GROW members are connected by digital learning experiences that will inspire, inform, and challenge them to achieve their unique professional goals. Includes an extensive CHRO Mentor group and Program Ambassadors that will help GROWers connect, collaborate, and learn skills necessary for success. Apply here.
- GROWx is dedicated to the next generation of VPs/Directors of HR. As opposed to the GROW program, GROWx is shorter and more intensive. It covers the same topics, yet is a six month program that covers two topics each month. Students are connected in learning pods to learn from each other. Apply here.
VIRTUAL EVENT PLANNING
Commsor believes that a thriving community is a company’s most valuable asset, unlocking the power of your customer network, enabling you to scale your business, your resources, and your presence in ways that traditional marketing or advertising channels can’t. Community Chat is a private network for community builders and leaders who believe the best way to impact the world is through the community. Together, members help each other navigate the world of community building by sharing resources, strategies, and best practices.
Join the Community Chat Slack group here!
Formerly known as EventGeek, Circa helps you turn b2b event engagement data into signals of buyer intent that sales teams can use right now. The platform is useful for anyone interesting managing virtual events successfully.
Check it out at their site here
As in all-in-one workspace, Notion has many use cases. You’re pretty much limited only by your imagination. But one of the best parts of Notion is their community. Whether you’re using Notion to organize planning your next virtual event or interesting in getting involved with their community, there’s a lot to check out.
Get started here
Want to find the best and brightest? Stop by On Deck. The On Deck team runs an invite-only 10-week fellowship program designed to bring the very best talent from across the On Deck network together to connect over a series of digital gatherings, expert workshops, 1:1 introductions, and more.
If ten weeks feels too short, consider this: the ODF is less of a “10-week finite program” and more of an introduction to a lifetime community of the top tech talent.
Submit an application here
The Female Founders Fund is an organization founded on the belief that women will build the companies of tomorrow. Since their inception in 2014, they’ve become the leading source of institutional capital with over $3 billion in enterprise value.
Check out their website and subscribe to stay up to date on news - including their upcoming podcast series, The 2%
Operator Collective brings together as limited partners 100+ of tech’s most sought-after operators, investors, and founders from diverse backgrounds to invest in and accelerate the next generation of b2b tech.
They’ve created a new access point for operators from diverse backgrounds; they may not be household names, but they’ve spent their entire careers building and scaling companies, and now they’re ready to actively support founders and their teams as they bring new visions to life.
Learn more here
Leadership isn’t only a learnable skill - it’s also an essential skill. But too often leadership is learned on the job, where mistakes can be fatal. The Rands Leadership Slack exists to help longtime, new, and aspiring leaders to learn through conversation and sharing of ideas.
Request an invite here
Think we missed something? Reach out! We’ll update this list on the regular so you can share this resource with your team. Let’s go #tothemoon! 🚀🚀🚀
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