2018 Reflection: The Humanity of it All!

Community Team
Community Team

As I begin my fourth year on the Community Team, I like to reflect on the awesome experiences I’ve had at Instructure (and in my personal life) to surface inspiration to carry into the new year. (Thanks @kristin for this reminder). So as I ruminate (as a cattle farmer I love the word ruminate) on 2018 there are three themes that I wish to bring with me into 2019, and I hope they inspire you as well:


“Relationships transcend community.”

I can’t downplay it at all: I have an awesome job and an awesome team! We get to log in every morning and spend our days with you. Each day presents a different set of challenges, but that’s just part of doing ‘life’ with other humans. We grow together in the good times and in the difficult times. The key is to do it together.


You won’t have to spend long in the Community before you find someone sharing their needs or desires and then seeing a group of individuals come alongside them to brainstorm and offer solutions. It is the foundation of why we are here! It is our greatest success! But it’s not just our day-to-day work challenges that unite us; sometimes it’s our personal challenges. 2018 gave us one of our greatest examples of just how powerful this Community—and the relationships and friendships we build—are. It needs no introduction: just read:

Stepping up the #stepsforbeth
#StepsForBeth, A Community Destination


“Openness requires a level of vulnerability and grace.”

I had originally planned to break openness and grace into separate themes, but I just couldn’t address one without the other. Openness and transparency require a level of vulnerability and oftentimes humility. Openness is simple when you’re sharing good news, but it can’t always be good news.

As part of Instructure’s mission to be open, we frequently announce new product priorities and releases in the community. For some, last year’s ‘truths’ may have been equally optimistic and discouraging.


I believe having this level of transparency in our community develops mutual trust amongst us. First, we recognize that we are all on the same team (we are blessed to have a community where employees, partners and Canvas users interact!) No matter your role within Canvas, we share an interest in seeking balance towards optimizing positive results.


Secondly, with trust comes grace. I am often overwhelmed to watch conversations (comments) around various topics or features evolve passionately, but respectfully (especially when opinions and perspectives differ). Let’s continue to be kind, while still speaking our ‘truths’!


“Adventure is worthwhile.”

If you spend a bit of time with me personally, I’ll probably shamelessly move the conversation towards discussions of hiking, hunting, ranching, or my fur babies! 2018 did not disappoint in any of those areas. I took some amazing hikes, I harvested a few animals, we raised some stellar steaks and bacon, and our two fur children are fat and happy! We already have some exciting adventures on the calendar for 2019 and can’t wait to experience the memories they bring.


My hope for you in 2019 is that you are able to do the same. Our professional Community would not be the same without you, but it is because of the unique “you” that you bring to the experience. I am a strong believer that it is our play, or adventures in life outside of our work, that rejuvenate and restore us, and make us better citizens in our professional lives.


"Bring on 2019"

Let’s continue to build relationships, remain vulnerable and kind, and enjoy many new adventures. There are more features to come, challenges to overcome, and InstructureCon memories to make. It is because of the uniqueness you bring to all of those that makes participating in the Canvas Community an invaluable experience.


Thanks for a great year! And here’s to being the best humans we can be in 2019!