February 1, 2022
The Cloud9 Training Grounds Community Spotlight Series showcases a member of the C9TG community each month who embodies the values of Cloud9 Training Grounds; Learning, Passion, Excellence, and Trust. This spotlight is Luke Lentini, Cloud9’s Community Manager for Training Grounds!
A: Luke Lentini
A: I’m a violinist and Fellowship member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, which is the training orchestra for the Chicago Symphony. It has definitely been a bit of a wild ride, especially trying to balance full-time work at C9 with music for the past year or so, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My parents are both musicians, and at a really really high level, and I have a bachelors and masters degree in violin performance. Outside of music and C9, I really enjoy reading, going on road trips, watching sports, and hanging out with my cat and a good cup of coffee.
A: I actually had very little experience in the actual industry of esports, beyond being a fan, before I started working with TG. That being said, it is definitely worth mentioning that I have been a huge C9 fan for years! When I was in high school I was really into Starcraft2, I hit master a few years in a row, even hit grandmaster once, and was convinced that it was just the best game ever and this new “League of Legends” thing was a lousy, no-good, maybe even easy, game. Well fast forward a few years, I am in my undergrad, my roommate plays League, and I get hooked right away. That just happens to be the same year C9 is at Worlds (2014) and I started watching Sneaky’s stream. It is surreal every day that I am actually working at Cloud9, and I couldn’t be happier to be here. Oh, and I can confirm that League is in fact NOT an easy game.
A: I started working part time as a counselor with TG in August of 2020! Back then it was 10 coaches, 3 counselors, and 50 kids. It was a lot of fun, and many late nights playing all sorts of games with the campers and my coworkers. I learned a ton about teaching, playing, and learning from the staff at the time and I am really grateful for their leadership.
A: Sure. Since I didn’t really have experience in a job like this before, and because the Community Manager is somewhat of an amorphous role at various companies, I don’t have much to compare it to, but this job is awesome, crazy, and frankly unpredictable. One of the best parts about being a community manager is the sheer number of different, and unique, projects that I get to work on. Day to day, I manage the TG social media accounts, and work with all of our different teams to make sure they feel supported. I also work on our website, emails, marketing, help out with graphics and project management… it is sort of a jack-of-all-trades role. The best part by far is how many people I get to work with. We have an absolutely stellar lineup of coaches across all of our game titles, and just being around them, their passion for playing and teaching these games rubs off so easily. We are also really blessed with our staff – everyone here believes really strongly in the vision of the program, and that makes going in to work really easy. Even outside of our staff, though, I get to talk to other folks in the industry all the time. I also really enjoy that my role at TG overlaps a lot with the other departments at Cloud9.
A: Well I mentioned before that I love how many people I get to work with, but I want to also shout out all the people that I get a chance to work with on the Cloud9 side, and not just within Training Grounds. Like I said before, I was a huge fan of C9 for years before I worked here, and it was really obvious really quickly that C9 is an industry leader for a reason. The sheer passion, work ethic, kindness, and creativity that is around me is overwhelming. It might sound cheesy but I really am in awe, most of the time I sit in zoom calls, with these folks. I feel so fortunate to be able to learn and grow alongside my coworkers every day!
A: Oh that is pretty hard. Back in the spring of 2021 I had started to take more of an operations role, and was doing things like leading weekly meetings with our newly-acquired coaching staff. Those meetings were awesome – we would hear all of the stories of campers, and their experiences at the camp, and hear all of the ways our camps were fun, and all of the ways we can improve them. This might sound kinda like a PR answer, but I really love getting feedback; as much as it feels good to make a great program, it feels almost better somehow to have concrete feedback that you can build off of. I could (don’t worry, I won’t) list off all of the statistics showing that people overwhelmingly have a great time participating in our programs, but getting constructive criticism, and being able to act on it, always was a big highlight for me, and is also an area where I feel I personally excel at.
A: I would be remiss if I didn’t say the best part about training grounds has to be the community. There is always something going on, and these campers… man, they really just rock. They are always starting pick-up games, or organizing events together, or just hanging out and having a good time. It is a really inclusive, fun, and interactive group! There’s also just so much high-level gaming, and it is a little bit addicting. As a platinum-ranked league player (there’s a certain amount of debate as to whether that is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and somehow there is never an in between..) it is awesome to be around so many top-rated players. Even outside of high ranks, though, there’s a theme of love for these games that unites everybody, regardless of rank or game or even anything else – we just love these games, and that’s all we need to have a good time!
A: That’s such a scary question. I’m 26, and if you asked me when I was 21 where I would hope to be I kinda doubt that this is where I would have predicted, or even necessarily been aspiring towards. But I am so happy in this space right now. I hope, wherever my career is taking me, that I am still believing in what I am doing as strongly as I do right now.
Thanks so much, Luke!