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How to Build a Thriving Community: Insights from Axtria's Neha Garg

In the past few years, I had the privilege of being part of communities in different capacities. Some, I joined as a member and benefitted immensely from the collective wisdom while others, I observed them grow from the sidelines as a well-wisher and an occasional contributor.

Very recently, I joined a volunteer-led community of corporate communications and marketing professionals, passionately contributing to knowledge expansion and benefitting its members from collective wisdom. My fondness for the group is increasing with each passing day and a natural desire to contribute is visible within me.

Why do I feel the zeal to participate? This question led me to think about what it takes to build a community and why some communities succeed while others don’t!

In my experience, it is a dynamic process with an interplay of Purpose, People, Perseverance, Participation, and Pride. These five elements, when woven together, create a resilient, inclusive, and impactful community that attracts and retains value.

1. The Foundation: Purpose

At the heart of any thriving community lies a clear and compelling Purpose. This guiding light illuminates the "why" behind our collective existence, defining our mission and uniting us in a common cause. 

Travel enthusiasts might be aware of the community Backpackers & Travelers India (BATI). As the description goes, a community created by the travellers for the travellers. With 2.6 lakhs plus followers, the collective wisdom helps travellers make informed decisions about their trips, ensuring a more enjoyable and successful experience. For me, it has become my second nature to research a travel destination and run a check on BATI for my specific questions and learn from the experiences of others.

2. The Heartbeat: People

People are the lifeblood of a community, drawing individuals together with shared values and aspirations. It is the diversity and unity of People that contributes to the overall strength and richness of the community. 

For instance, the Gurgaon Moms community, a vibrant online space by Neela Kaushik, was founded to empower women entrepreneurs and foster a sense of community among mothers. I can’t thank the community enough for how the community helped me settle into a new city and gave me guidance on multiple unrelated topics! 

Browse through some posts and you will bump into one which becomes a natural uplifter to any ‘not-so-good day’. This is a perfect example of how people become the heart (and the beat) of a community. There is so much to learn from one another! Trust me, nothing alleviates you better than cribbing on common pain points! 

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3. The Driving Force: Passion

Passion is a driving force that can ignite a community, spreading like wildfire across boundaries and inspiring others to join the cause. 

Take the example of Utkarsh Amitabh, the founder of Network Capital, one of the world’s largest career intelligence communities. Network Capital was initially set up as a passion project by Utkarsh Amitabh while he was working at Microsoft. 

The platform has been recognized for its innovative approach to career development, with a focus on peer learning and mentorship. The community is comprised of distinguished experts from various fields, including startup founders, investors, professors, researchers, product leaders, data scientists, authors, scholars, management consultants, traders, CXOs, board members, operators, and technologists. Today from helping someone find a relevant job to guiding on an elevator pitch, this community serves and supports all with regional chapters.

4. The Backbone: Perseverance

Perseverance is the backbone that sustains a community through challenges, urging us to persist, evolve, and grow. It intertwines with Purpose and People, fuelling our resolve to overcome obstacles and drive towards our shared goals. 

5. The Pinnacle: Pride

As we journey through the 5 Ps, we reach the pinnacle of community building: Pride. It is the culmination of our efforts, reflecting the shared achievements, growth, and impact we have collectively realized. 

Pride encapsulates the essence of a thriving community, where each member finds fulfilment, connection, and a sense of accomplishment. 

It is 'Pride', that can make several members repost about a knowledge-sharing session expressing in over 50 words about their experience attending the event.

Come to think of it, what can you do? You, the readers are the ones who breathe life into a community with participation.

The other P, Participation, is the dynamic force that breathes life into a community. It empowers individuals to engage, contribute, and shape the collective narrative, fostering a sense of ownership and belonging.

What else can you do, the last P for today, Promote!

Yes, do the noble deed. If you see good work, don’t just stay silent, act and promote by talking about it, joining it, sharing new ideas, or more.

I applaud those who think of creating and nurturing a community!

Neha Garg, is director- of marketing communications, at Axtria Inc. Currently based in Gurgaon, she lends her expertise to Axtria, a leading data analytics and cloud computing company for life sciences.

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