Name: Nadia Hussain
Job Title and Description: Director of Community at Polyvore
College Name/Major: BA in Mass Communications from UC Berkeley
Twitter Handle: @nadia_hussain
Instagram Handle: @nadia7h
What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Nadia Hussain: I help develop programs to build, engage and nurture our passionate user community—and no day is the same! I work really closely with everyone on our marketing team to create cool opportunities for our members. Right now, we’re getting ready to send some of our awesome members to Coachella, so there’s lots of coordination and planning happening! I also collaborate with our product and engineering teams to relay user feedback to create an even better product experience. I help lead the charge on inviting power-users to join in early beta and backdoor testing. A couple of the cool, top community-requested updates we launched recently were adding menswear fashion and a camera feature to our app! And I love spending time during my day to reach out to users to learn more about their dreams. Many of our community members have aspirations to become designers, stylists, editors and bloggers, and we try to help members along their journey.
How do you help Polyvore users with their career aspirations?
NH: We try to go the extra mile to maintain personal relationships with Polyvore’s community. In doing so, we’re able to hear directly from our members about their hopes and dreams, whether it’s becoming a celebrity stylist or landing a fashion internship. Not too long ago, Polyvore held a contest for a user to win an internship with Florence-based fashion retailer Luisa Via Roma. The winner was a Polyvore user from the Southeast, who was flown to Florence and has since been collaborating with the company to enhance their social media presence. Many members have personal career aspirations to work in fashion, and we work hard to make their dreams a reality.
What is the best part of your job?
NH: I love hearing the stories that come out of our global community on how Polyvore has inspired them to take risks in order to achieve the things that they want. Many of our members have decided to go back to school, start fashion blogs and open their own businesses due to the support and encouragement they’ve received from our Polyvore community. It is so inspiring to watch them grow and follow their dreams—they’re my heroes.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
NH: When I first stepped into the role of being a community manager, I don’t think I realized how hard it would be for me to turn my brain off at the end of the work day or even on vacation. Being invested and passionate about the Polyvore community, I wanted to keep on top of everything that was happening 24/7. I now realize that balance is key, and it’s okay to enlist help when you need it. If you work with your product team, there are often simple solutions and tools that can be developed to help you do your job more effectively. The community will not fall apart while you’re sleeping—I promise!
What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
NH: Polyvore was a very small team when I joined. I was the sixth employee and the only one in my role. At times my community programs and initiatives yielded little to no response, but I learned so much through trial and error. With a little bit of creativity (and proactively reaching out to the community for feedback), you eventually figure out what works and what doesn’t, and you build from there. And it’s great to have a supportive team working along with you who acknowledges your achievements and really backs you up when you’re testing things out, even when those experiments aren’t successful.
What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
NH: My biggest advice is to be authentic, follow your passions and try to learn as many new things as quickly as you can. Take on internships outside of your major or join new clubs outside your comfort zone. Many times, early in my career, I was faced with a task or project I had never experienced before. As I matured, I’m grateful that I took the time to surround myself with different experiences that empowered me to think outside the box.