December Community Call Recap – Reflecting, connecting, and looking ahead at our annual community potluck!

On Friday, 15 December 2023 we convened our last community call of 2023 – a community potluck for members of our community of practice to take a moment to look back on the highs and lows of 2023, and think a little about what’s coming up next year. 

This was our fourth annual community potluck, and this year’s gathering was as kind and generative as always. A big thank you to everyone who came and shared a dish (which took the form of a reflection or a learning)! In this blog post, you’ll find a taste of what we talked about – including some suggestions for your own end-of-year reflection. 

A screenshot of the gallery view in Zoom, where everyone is smiling and some people have added visual effects to their video so they have festive hats or accessories.
A screenshot of some of the potluckiest STEM community managers around! Image credit: CSCCE


For this year’s appetizer course, we asked individuals to reflect on their interactions in the CSCCE community of practice in 2023 – picking a thread that they’d started in the CoP and filling us in on what happened next with the advice that they received or how the conversation perhaps continued offline. If you’re not familiar, CSCCE’s community of practice is hosted in Slack, and convenes almost 700 STEM community managers from around the world (you can request an invite here). 

We shared ideas for online tools that solve common challenges, talked about how 2023 has been a year of returning to in-person meetups and events, and reflected on the kind of advice and solidarity that only exists in this community of community managers. We also continued to iterate ideas, and enjoyed a brief tour of an art / open science exhibit and connected events. This potluck course was almost like a live-action version of the CoP – with folks sharing their ideas and questions in the open so that the discussion could benefit and inspire everyone in the “room.”

Main course

Main course this year was an opportunity to collectively brainstorm ideas for community programming in 2024. CSCCE’s Maya Sanghvi created a potluck table in Mural, and everyone took a plate from the pile and added an idea, placing it on the table as they did so.  We then reviewed each other’s plates and upvoted with forks:

A screenshot of the CSCCE virtual potluck table in Mural. In the middle is a big brown circle for the table, there's a stack of white circles to the left representing plates, and on the right is a collection of cartoon forks. The top of the Mural includes instructions for how to add text to a plate, move it onto the table, and add forks to upvote suggestions.
The CSCCE community potluck table. Image credit: CSCCE. [Email us if you would like a copy of the Mural template:]

We’re always interested to hear what our members would like to do in the CSCCE community of practice, especially activities that we could implement together. Themes that came up at the call included opportunities for mutual mentoring connections, additional curation of the community by interests, disciplines, or organization types, and more co-creation of materials like our Community Manager Case Studies and Community Profiles. And as you might expect at a gathering of community managers, everyone naturally clustered their ideas together, collectively facilitating the activity! 

If you’re interested in getting more involved in the community and have an idea you’d like to develop with us, please let us know by emailing


Whether you prefer something sweet or something savory to finish your meal, we always like to round out a community potluck meal with dessert. This year, we took some time to write together in the shared notes doc. Sweet aspirations focused on things we’re looking forward to in 2024, savory reflections were an opportunity to identify the things we do well as individual community managers, and, in recognition of the fact that even when some things are going well other things are still hard, we asked about the saltier sides of 2023. 

A vector illustration of party desserts including a large cake, cupcakes, and lollipops.
Image credit: Freepik

Through these reflections were common threads. Some noted excitement for in-person gatherings and travel to new places to meet with friends and colleagues. Others commented on the challenges of balancing life and work, especially around (new) family commitments. 

If you’d like to take some time for your own reflection, here are our sweet, savory, and salty prompts: 

Sweet: What are you particularly looking forward to in 2024? Is there something coming up that you’re excited about? 

Savory: Reflecting on where you are today, what is one thing you are proud of about your work as a community manager? Be specific – what’s something that YOU specifically do to bring people together or help them feel like they belong?

Salty: Did you face a challenge in 2023? Was it something you overcame, or are you still working through it? 

What’s next?

A break! CSCCE will be closed from 21 December 2023 – 2 January 2024. Community calls will resume in late January (more information will be posted here). In the meantime, make sure to check out our professional development training offerings, free resources, and consultancy services. 

Thank you for reading, thank you for being part of the CSCCE community of practice, and we wish you all the best for the New Year. See you at a CSCCE community call soon!