The story.

A few months ago, Nikole Gessler, owner of CrossFit Recursive in Madison, WI got a notification in her Facebook feed inviting her to apply to the 2019 Facebook Communities Summit. She filled out the questionnaire and promptly forgot about it. Then one month later Gessler got an email requesting a phone interview with several of Facebook’s staff.

That’s pretty legit.

In the interview, Gessler told Facebook about CrossFit, it’s unbelievable community of support and fitness, and the CrossFit Recursive was playing in it. By the end of the call, Gessler had been invited to the Summit.

Full disclosure: our Editor-in-Chief is a proud alumni of CrossFit Recursive from his days living in Mad Town. 

Thousands had been interviewed but in the end only about 300 community leaders were selected to represent themselves at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, CA.

And Nikole Gessler and CrossFit Recursive were one of them.

So what happened at the event?

Throughout the two day Summit, Gessler heard from speakers like Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, who made a point to reassure everyone that they’ been chosen for a reason. Gessler told us, “She said ‘We deserved to be there. We had proven to be leaders in our communities. Many of us still didn’t believe it yet though.”

She also got to hear from Mark Zuckerberg himself, who made an appearance to welcome everyone to Facebook and thank them for the important work of leading communities.

“It’s awe-inspiring to see what the power of community can do. My gym may be small in the grand scheme of 200 members, but to those 200 people, our community is significant and important. Each person has a story to tell, and it’s an important one.”

But for Gessler, the main take-away over the next couple of days is how to build stronger communities and ways Facebook can do that through their platform.

“We can now format posts, enhance and enforce group rules (you know how that Affiliate Owners Group can get!), connecting people with mentors, simplifying messages with one spot for both Facebook and Instagram messages, and other ways for small businesses to use Facebook to grow their communities,” wrote Gessler. “There is also now a feature on Facebook where people can book appointments, which is great as a CrossFit gym!”

Why is Facebok interested in CrossFit?

“Facebook has a greater mission to connect people through communities. In this massive world where the Internet connects everyone instantaneously, we are simultaneously more and less connected than ever before,” said Gessler. “Facebook wants to connect like-minded people into these smaller groups, which in my humble opinion, is also my goal as a CrossFit Affiliate owner.”

It was an eye-opening experience for Gessler and she’s excited to take it back to CrossFit Recursive and the CrossFit community at large.

“It’s awe-inspiring to see what the power of community can do. My gym may be small in the grand scheme of 200 members, but to those 200 people, our community is significant and important. Each person has a story to tell, and it’s an important one.”


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