Michelle “Mish” Mannering is a Developer Community Manager for GitHub enabling developer community groups and organizations to reach their greatest potential. Also known as Australia’s “Hackathon Queen”, Mish runs hackathon events focused on solving tough problems. You’ll often find her on stage MC’ing or speaking on a range of topics from artificial intelligence, to business, community engagement, the future of work, and esports. An avid startup entrepreneur Michelle understands the in and out’s of successful tech companies; her latest business venture is Raine Scooters, a stylish and high-powered electric scooter company.
- Hi @mishmanners, what is the most rewarding part of your day-to-day work?
I am very excited about my job, working in developer relations, I have the opportunity to attend conferences, give talks and lead workshops, I’d say is very rewarding when people approach me at the end of events, and you can see they’ve had their “aha” moment, the moment when everything you are teaching sort of comes together for them. For example, last year at GitHub Universe, I was leading one-on-one GitHub Actions workshops, the workshops took users through building and understanding GitHub Actions, to see the attendees have moments where they totally understand it, and are so happy and proud to of what they’ve built, is very rewarding. I love enabling and supporting our users.
- What was the path that led you to your current work?
I’ve always been very involved in tech communities, doing things like running hackathons (this is where the nickname “Hackathon Queen” comes from), organizing events and participating in the startup ecosystem.
- GitHub is a very unique place to work. What surprised you the most as a new Hubber?
I’ve known we were a growing company and when I first officially joined, nonetheless I was surprised as to how much we get done with the size team we had.
We are involved in the lives of developers all around the world and help them solve some of the worlds the biggest problems. It was incredible to see how much responsibility our team has and the way we collaborate to support innovation.
- What do you consider your most important skill in your role as Community Manager?
Listening and being ready to listen, being open and available. A Community Manager’s role is not about telling the community what they need to do; a Community Manager should listen to their community members, understand what they need and only then see how they can help them achieve their goals.
A big part of my role is helping people connect to one another, so they can support each other.
- What’s the best and worst advice you’ve ever received?
My granddad was a fairly successful self-made businessman, he came out from the depression era and had to provide for his family at a really young age.
And so, he had all these little sayings in business that I love, one of the things he would say is “lose contact, you lose a contract”. Just keeping communication lines always open has been such an important skill, keeping the conversation going, contacting the right people to ask the right questions. This is a skill I’ve used not only in my startup career but my work as a Community Manager. Another one of his great sayings is: “it is not what you know but who you know” the concept of networking, you need to show both sides of this. The who you know will help you make a connection but what you know will actually cement your reputation.
As far as bad advice, I’ve probably blocked out any “bad” advice I’ve received! I think maybe more a remark about how to apply advice. I get loads of advice from diverse mentors. When working with a mentor, don’t take everything 100% to the word, our jobs as mentors is not to expect your mentee to use your advice as the law. Mentors can provide you advice and talk about their experiences but it is up to you to internalize it and apply to your situation.
And again, that’s why diversity is so important, getting advice from many types of people will help you make a better decision because you can see more boldly the bigger picture.
- What are you most excited about GitHub and the future of Developer Relations so far?
I’m most excited about our expansion into new regions, and extending our presence in India, China, and the rest of APAC.
Silicon Valley has been a hub of innovation and invention, and I think a lot of the new things coming over the next decade or so will include people and technologies from many more places such as countries in APAC. Having recently traveled to India for the GitHub India launch, it was very exciting to be there and feel the energy and excitement of their developer community.
I look forward to taking some things I’ve learned about developing communities and sharing resources and applying them to these new growing partnerships.