HUG MVP Spotlight - April 2022

By Katie Raeburn posted Apr 01, 2022 06:00 AM


We are thrilled to announce that we have welcomed new HUG MVPs this year! In the next several months, we'll be using this space to introduce you to these new MVPs so you can learn more about them and what they bring to our community.

This month, we're excited to introduce @Emily Cowan! Let's learn a little more about her in the Q&A below.

What first brought you into HUG?

I joined HUG in 2018 when the community I was managing at the time migrated from another platform to Higher Logic. I was the one who advocated for the migration – it was a much better fit for the organization’s goals – and I had a ton of fun working with Martha and the team at eConverse Media on redesigning our community from top to bottom. At the same time, I had to educate myself about my new platform and HUG was a tremendous help.

Tell us about your most memorable HUG (or HUG-related) interaction.

This is kind of a funny story, but I went to my very first Super Forum in 2019 – the last live conference before COVID hit – and I was all alone (hello, “community team” of one). I happened to sit next to a gal at lunch and it turned out to be @Tirza Austin (She/Her)! Out of everyone in the ballroom, that was one of the few names I would have recognized at the time, and I knew her from HUG. Tirza is great.

Is there one person you’ve been able to develop a relationship with through HUG (or a HUG-related event)?

In 2020 I took on the role of Community Manager at the American Society of Anesthesiologists, where I was tasked with standing up an entirely new community. That was a first for me professionally and I was a bit nervous about getting started! I took the initiative to reach out to some HUG MVPs for advice, and they were kind enough to take time out of their busy schedules to Zoom with me one-on-one. I especially enjoyed my conversation with Katie Baumer, who was working at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists at the time. AAPS has a really robust “Ask Me Anything” program, which I was sure to ask about, but once we started talking, we literally couldn’t stop! Katie and I actually met up virtually a couple times after that just to chat.

What have you taken from HUG that has helped you drive initiatives within your own organization?

This is sort of a macro perspective, but I really appreciate how @Simon Helton likes to answer your question with a bunch of other questions. As community managers, we can often fall into a kind of reactive mode, running from one fire to the next. I appreciate how he breaks down the problem in terms of what your end goal is rather than simply providing the specific tactical solution you think you’re looking for.

What’s your first memory of community in general?

I actually got involved with community without realizing it. In 2017 I started a local Facebook group and to my surprise I really enjoyed welcoming new members, helping people find what they needed, matchmaking people with similar interests etc. Who knew that you could do that as a career?

What’s the biggest goal you’d like to accomplish in 2022?

Oh boy. I think for Year 2 my biggest personal goal is to improve the user experience on my site. Now that we’ve built up such a strong and growing library of content, it makes me crazy to hear that a member is having trouble finding this or that! I’m working with our Member Product Experience team on a complete UX review and hopefully we’ll be able to improve the homepage and streamline our navigation in a way that serves up content to the individual member in the most intuitive way possible.

Note from Emily: I love connecting with other community managers! Please feel free to reach out to me via HUG or LinkedIn at