Creating a radically safe, welcoming space online 🏳️‍🌈 Shana Sumers, HER

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By People & Company, Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh, Kai Elmer Sotto, Maggie Zhang, and Mia Quagliarello. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

“Ask your community: What they want to see out of the company to make them feel supported? I don't do anything until I talk to the community or reach out to them or say, ‘What do you want to see next? And then I make that a part of my plan.’” - Shana Sumers

HER Social App is the largest social community and dating app for LGBTQ+ womxn and queer people. Unlike other dating apps that tend to end the user journey when people find a partner, HER is also a place for users to return to for queer friendship and conversation.

Shana Sumers is the master behind the community at HER. She started as an ambassador of the app and now serves as the Head of Community, helping launch and grow it to over five million users worldwide.

She also co-hosts her own podcast, Bad Queers. And she worked as a music therapist for 5 years before joining the tech world, which influences her approach as a moderator.

On the podcast Shana shares how she doesn’t do anything without consulting her community first and how she has gone about making difficult decisions on the HER social app forums, where people would list their dating preferences that were sometimes phobic.

Highlights, inspiration, & key learnings:

[0:45] Intro to Shana and why the Get Together team is excited to interview her

[3:23] About HER and how Shana got involved on accident

[4:50] Creating space for LGBTQ+ womxn and queer people

[6:44] “This pride is different” - highlighting intersectionality of community

[9:26] “There is always more you can do” - taking ownership of inclusivity

[11:40] Serving as an outwardly facing leader and creating accountability internally for leadership

[14:50] Company's Shana admires for taking accountability in 2020 - Ben & Jerrys and Rihanna’s Fenty

[17:37] Separating your platform from your work identity and managing personal life as public facing figure of your company

[19:45] Transformative moment with members

[21:15] Decision making *with* the community and sourcing ideas

[22:39] Supercharging superusers and revamping moderators program

[24:40] Moderating difficult conversations

[28:45] Writing and updating community guidelines

[30:38] Why language matters and other learnings from background in music therapy

[32:40] Behind the scenes of Bad Queer podcast, "a show for people who feel like they came out of the closet and got placed in a box"

[36:00] Creating talking points for community forums

[38:06] Shana’s wish for the world ✨

👋🏻Say hi to Shana and learn more about HER social app + Bad Queers

✨Learn more about our correspondent Maggie Zhang on her blog, Commonplays.

📄See the full transcript

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71 episodes