Community Strategist


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I build communities around products, ideas, and experiences.


Hello! I'm Cindy.  

I have over 10 years of experience working with online communities, building teams, and advising tech companies. I was employee #9 at Kickstarter, and as their VP of Community oversaw the evolution of the community as it grew from 50,000 users to 10 million.

My expertise lies at the intersection of community and product, where I innovate on ways to create user-informed experiences that are beautiful, scalable, and capable of working equally as well for an individual as they will for millions of people. I specialize in translating user insights to diverse stakeholders, and working across teams to get the job done. 

I've worked on projects ranging from onboarding and marketing campaigns to payments products and trust and safety tools. Wherever customers interact with a product, I'm there to make sure their needs are met. 

I'm a proven leader and manager, built and led Kickstarter's original community organization, and since then have advised and helped other startups build their teams and businesses. In 2012, Fast Company named me one of the Most Creative People in Business.  Currently, I work on Community Growth at Zagat

I'm a veteran public speaker, and have spoken on community, creativity, and entrepreneurship, at SXSW, GDC, CMX, Indiecade, MIT Game Lab, PAX, and San Diego Comic Con, to name a few. I also run academic workshops connecting students with real-world engagement strategies. See some of my past talks listed here.   

I have a PhD in English from UW-Madison, and taught hundreds of undergrads literature and writing.  If you're curious about Dr. Au, you can find my dissertation here. I continue pursuing my passion for teaching through advising, mentoring, and public speaking, and am always looking for areas where I can support my peers and community. 


Wanna chat?


Drop a line at about collaborations, projects, advising, and speaking opportunities. (I’m also generally available to grab coffee if there are also pastries involved.)

You can also find me here: