WordCamp Detroit 2018

Once again, the universe works in mysterious ways and as such, I applied and found myself lucky enough to be chosen to speak at WordCamp Detroit 2018 in April. After a six year sabbatical, WordCamp Detroit came back on strong footing. The volunteer organizers were motivated, organized and oh-so-friendly.

The Talks

WordCamp Detroit purple scarf, name badge, and stickersWhat an amazing lineup of subject matter! Most time slots I had difficulty choosing what I wanted to attend. I appeased by FOMO by crossing my fingers the recorded talks of the ones I wasn’t able to attend will appear on WordPress.tv eventually.

“How To Build Your First Gutenberg Block”: The belle of the ball seemed to be both Gutenberg and React, subjects that seemingly swirled into every conversation. At this point, my exposure to React is entirely through the lens of Gutenberg and it was great to be exposed to Kellen Mace‘s take on how to create your own custom component and see other devs’ processes.

“WordPress for Nonprofits – Your Work For The Greater Good”: I’ve worked for many non-profits over the years in different capacities so learning more about strategies and the statistics that correlate with fundraising was interesting. Birgit Pauli-Haack gave good recommendations from her own experience and interpretation of organization’s data.

“Programming While Dyslexic”: Accessibility (or a11y) within web development is a subject I always want to learn more about and improve upon. Attending Jeannette Washington‘s talk about dyslexia and code was eye-opening.

“Theming with Components!”: I’m always up for seeing how other people arrange their theme development and Adam Stogdill helped cement some strategies in how I’d like to continue to move forward with modular organization with Gutenberg’s integration.

“From Discovery to Design: A Collaborative Approach to a User-Centered Website”: Katy Hinz‘s example case study and approach to advocating for a site’s visitors provided lovely insight into the big picture view of the process of designing and developing a site.

My Own Talk

I have given different iterations of my mental health talk twice prior, which you would think would help me feel like an old pro. Nope, I still get pretty anxious about public speaking. However, like I’ve mentioned before, the importance of the subject matter motivates me to move beyond my fear and continue to speak publicly.

My latest focus in the mental health tech journey has been the subject of psychological safety and how to create those spaces. A psychologically safe environment is one where people feel safe amongst their team to take interpersonal risks. They don’t feel like they will be punished or humiliated for speaking up. It’s important to create these preventable systems from the start rather than solely focussing on reparative systems.

I’ve found since going rogue as an indie developer that being an advocate for mental health has come up more frequently. Employed individuals seem to feel more comfortable talking about their workplaces’ pros and cons and freelancers have their own set of boundaries that need to be addressed.

If you’d like to check out my slides, head on over to Speakerdeck or look them over below.

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