Sajid Islam interviewed Michele KirkPatrick, the Community Manager of Brickyard on June 6, 2018.
Transition to Community Manager
With a husband in the military, Michele was working 65 hours a week with the constant conflict of having to choose between family or career. Her husband got an amazing opportunity in Alabama and went for a year. During that time, Michele was on the search for a job that could provide her with a balance between a job and her family life.
The Facebook ad for the Community Manager position at Brickyard was up for a mere five minutes when she decided to apply. It was a part-time job with a shift with the same hours as her children’s school schedule. This allowed her to accommodate both sides of her life.
Her transition to Community Manager was a natural integration. It required skills and tasks that were things she was doing in previous jobs. She had just come from a small business that needed to form community to thrive. So, she was doing a lot of the same work for Brickyard as she was for them. She did a lot of reaching out and events to form intentional partnerships to expand the amenities past the physical space of Brickyard.
Day to Day
The partnerships with the property manager, maintenance team, Mary, the operations manager, and Anne, the founder, are all required to make Brickyard the space it is known for now. Due to her management background, she is able to communicate with people in a way that ensures they know they have to be mindful of others. Michele is able to facilitate these kinds of conversations effectively. She really cares that members have a productive and collaborative space.
Her day to day tasks include coming in, making sure the kitchen is clean, trash is out, supplies are stocked, maintaining the conference spaces and making sure everyone has the chance to use it, etc. Brickyard is one of the only spaces that are inclusive to the conference space usage and printing. Additionally, since Brickyard is umbrellaed under a corporate real estate company, many maintenance services are in-house for Brickyard whereas other spaces would need to call for help.
Marketing and Member Maintenance
Most members find out about Brickyard through word of mouth and referrals. In fact, they are not putting a lot of money into marketing right now because it has not been needed. When looking up coworking space on Google, Brickyard comes up in at least the top three. This speaks for the experience itself. People themselves are recommending the space to others.
Michele believes their success comes from their focus on inclusivity, openness, and experience. It leaves people a good feeling which makes them want to talk about it. Brickyard has built a brand that members value while keeping the price competitive.
Their ability to maintain members over a long period of time comes from the fact that they are mindful of the space. Michele also makes sure to interact with members by asking a lot of engaging questions. She always wants to know how Brickyard can support its members and help their businesses grow.
It is important to focus on members and make sure their space is not a distraction. The space also need to be a connector. Be intentional about connecting members to either resources or other people that could help them grow.
Culture, consistency, ability to uphold standards and keep employees accountable for measurable goals is what keeps customers happy. There needs to be a way to measure responses from members. This puts responsibility back on the employee. They need to be able to say what they could do to increase satisfaction based on feedback and address concerns as they come. This has a lot to do with the partnership between the employee and management.
Michele recommends having a playbook. She thinks you should have one even before you open. It is going to change. However, as long as you know what your vision and mission is for your space you will know how to meet needs. Playbooks are important in case there is a lack of consistency in your system. It provides a way to go back and reference the playbook which helps keep the culture consistent by specifying ways to do certain things. As long as it is written down for people to see and measure there will be no confusion as to what is expected.
Watch the full interview below.