In the summer of 2020, I led intern.club, the largest community for interns, by interns. Although regularly, Intern Club consisted of bonfires, pool parties, and professional events in-person, with the abrupt transition to remote everything, we completely had to adapt on the fly. What this meant for me was a lot of work engaging people across an international range of times and an ungodly amount of summer screen time.
Intern Club was an experience for me to really bring the internship experience to the desks of remote students across the world. Over the summer, we really got familiar with Zoom and online event platforms like Luma & Hopin and ignited the space for similar online spaces — communities like Design Buddies, Augment, and Product Buds stemmed from Intern Club!
To build the Intern Club community from day 1 and run it at scale, I held constant a set of community-centric hacks and values that helped us get there. Below are some of them:
Templated and wrote engaging Slack announcements that were adorned by Loom videos and other interesting integrations
Always made sure that new users were personally greeted and welcomed + joined into something exciting in their first minute so it was hard to not want to stay
Identified power users and turned them into community champions very early on
"Punished" low engagement rates and made sure that our events optimized against serendipity — designed events invites around being not just things you could go to but things you'd genuinely miss out on if you didn't attend
These internal rules helped us net a consistent 3,000+ WAU among an intern club of ~5,000. Additionally, I spread our roots across Twitter + LinkedIn, writing and designing posts for each platform. I also cemented partnerships between Intern Club and other organizations like Figma, Nate, and Public.
Whole lotta conferencing
I put on mixers and social nights for interns across the world to meet each other, powered by .io games and Zoom. All summer, Intern Club helped folks make new friends and connect them with other interns who, in-person, would be sharing desk space with them. Additionally, I moderated close to 100 events that summer. I ensured that these events would boast high turnout rates (none of them were advertised to be recorded — always averaged at least ~150 attendees and peaked at a ~400-person event) and always pushed for questions that weren't ones that you'd forget about. We hosted everything on the Luma beta and snagged some pretty sweet slugs! Some highlights:
Some events that I put on really doubled down on the mantra of enabling folks to "leave summer much stronger" than they came into it. These were framed as recurring come-as-you-are sessions that helped folks find better approaches to Leetcode questions, think about framing their design portfolio in different ways, or begin the journey of flexing their product muscles, for example, and were a really big crowd favorite!
Alongside a handful of other moderators, I ran everything behind the scenes at Interncon, the largest conference of its kind that summer. We weaved through the metaphorical hallways of Hopin, multi-moderating stages about product, design, student startups, and everything in between, all while combing through chat, knocking out spontaneous audience questions, ensuring that every speaker was backstage when they needed to be, and ensuring that audience engagement was at an all-time high. Interncon (sponsored by Public, Nate and Figma) peaked at ~2,500 live viewers and had folks waking up in the middle of the night in their time zones to attend. You can see the speaker lineup that we brought on for InternCon here
Over the summer, I ran virtually everything design. This meant creating the original Intern Club design system, putting together the website, and holding internal workshops to teach community champions how to navigate + use our Figma page to quickly set up events. Throughout the summer — and especially in creatives I designed to advertise events — I always tried to sneak in fun Easter Eggs. Below are some event cards that help illustrate this: