Describe your position at WPV and what you do.
My position at WP Valet is a mix of duties. Mostly I spend my time coordinating development projects and getting custom development underway. I play “translator” between the clients, our support staff, and developers to ensure that we get the BEST service possible for our clients.
It’s a huge gap between the actual client request and final product in terms of communication and information, so I help to fill that as much as possible.
When I’m not doing that I’m participating in developing company culture in various ways. I’ll help to develop internal systems or consult with the CEO and CTO on possibilities for how to handle some of the issues that WP Valet faces day to day.
What did you do prior to working at WPV?
Prior to working at WP Valet I worked for WPMUDEV as Support Personnel. That’s where I gained most of my WordPress knowledge and experience. I was lucky enough to land a position there and work with some really GREAT folks, including Mason James, and do some Project Management while there helping to shape up their Documents and Plugin Development structure.
Prior to that I was a Survey Engineer. I worked for a Civil Engineering firm doing 3D Civil Survey work. We’d go out into the field with 3D scanning equipment and use the data we collected to produce maps and engineering drawings on everything from bridges, to dams, to chemical plant production systems.
I actually hold a BA in Industrial Technology and an AS in Industrial Supervision, a far cry from WordPress!
When and how did you first get involved with WordPress?
I was staying at home with my first child and needed something to do to keep me feeling engaged in the “work world”. So I started a local childrens events newsletter and local group for women who make and sell crafts from their homes.
Both were internet based so I had to find a solution for sharing info and getting information out. I searched various platforms and found WordPress, then fell in love.
My technical background along with my natural affinity for learning new software had me addicted to self-hosted WordPress in no-time. After a few months of playing around with my own sites, I applied for a support position with WPMUDEV, handed off the newsletter and group to others, and was off on a new adventure.
What is the most important reason for regular WordPress maintenance?
I believe there are actually two major reasons to keep your WordPress site up-to-date.
I have blogging friends who have suffered much at the hands of malware and injected code. Anyone that relies on the internet in ANY way to further their business or field must protect themselves from those who indiscriminately seek to destroy or ruin others work. Hackers don’t care what they mess up, they just love the chaos they create.
Even if you don’t deal with sensitive information on a daily basis you could be risking your own personal information by leaving a loophole open to your site. Each time a new WordPress Plugin, Theme, or Core update is released it’s a map for anyone looking for weaknesses in the software.
A perfect example of how I imagine it can be seen is in images like these right after healthcare.gov launched…
Making sure your website is usable/intuitive/functional is imperative to success in any industry.
If you let your site lapse then you lose the effectiveness of interfacing with your visitors in the best and and most relevant ways. You can’t take advantage of new links between media platforms, you can’t make your graphics as catchy and appealing as other sites that use the latest coding techniques, you can’t use the latest ecommerce integrations, you can’t be on top of what makes any website successful.
What has been your most challenging moment while working at WPV?
Honestly? Making myself STOP! Ha! At one point I had to remove my work email from my cellphone.
We have grown so fast in the last year and EVERYONE is so passionate about what we do that it’s hard to turn it off at the end of the day or week. I still have dreams a couple times a week about support tickets or ongoing development projects, but it’s better now.
Learning how to manage my time has made me a better Project Manager and Support Personnel. I’m less grouchy from ALWAYS being on task.
What’s your favorite WordPress-powered site or project and why?
Who can pick one?! Honestly I’m in love with the whole culture of the WP Community! When anyone does anything to contribute it makes me happy!
The types of people you meet that are involved heavily in growing the software are some of the best I’ve had the privilege to know. But if I had to pick one, I am super excited about the new Cystic Fibrosis Community started by Bowe Frankema at CFCommunity.net
I’ve had the honor of meeting him and LOVE that he is using WordPress in a way to build people up and give them opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise. He’s made a video about himself and project, you can view it here:
You can also read the written text with more details here.
What’s your favorite YouTube video as of today and why?
I hate YouTube! Honestly I use it for storing “help” videos I make for WP Valet staffers and the occasional Kids Yoga video. My husband and mother can spend HOURS watching the useless stuff on there, but I think it’s a waste of time unless I’m looking for something specific.